I did it! I harvested a Target bag full of Spinach and Mache before April!!
This is the crop that was direct seeded on 10/22/07 and had its first (of MANY!) sub zero frosts within 4 weeks. This is the crop that survived the 2nd hardest winter on record for these parts. This is the crop that I had all but given up for dead at least twice when temps bottomed below zero for a week. This is the crop that has filled me to brimming with enthusiasm for 2008. I have never harvested so early!
The plants are barely 3″ tall -they are hugging the warm earth in the hoop house-but they had enough leaves that I was able to take several from 2 out of 3 plants. I have less than 36 sq ft of Spinach planted, and only about 12 of the mache, but I am very impressed with the yeild! Best yet I shared 2/3 of the first harvest -first share went to the farmer whose land I am using, second share to a super sweet 86 year old woman who still garden/farms her 40 acres (she refused to take it as a gift and gave us a half pint of raspberry jam). Thank to Eliot Coleman and the guts to ask a neighbor to use their land at least 3 families are enjoying fresh spinach salad in the last week of March. Be the Change!
Other aspects of this very successful day:
- Sprout and I mixed and sifted up a double wheel barrow of potting mix (compost:sand:soil:peat)
- Started 800 lettuce plants in flats: 700 for me 100 for the farmer
- The farmer has a massive heating mat greenhouse apparatus setup for my use -this is unreal
- Started 160 tomato transplants
- Turned 4 of my 7 beds (1 in garlic, 1 under rye/vetch, one left fallow for now) to get the straw under
- This barely feels like tilling- the soil is so friable that I can sink the fork in completely without stepping on it
- Started hardening off the next crop of mache: two flats
- Planted 80 row feet of peas (40 snap, 40 edible pods)
- Talked with Kevin from Edible Forest Nursery about my previously purchased heirloom pear tree when he came into the greenhouse/shed to get his pruning supplies. I will harvest it next weekend. It is 10′ tall and bore fruit last year.
- The entire Forest Nursery is on the farm as well -a super happy Hmong family also grows there too along with one or two other folks… it is a veritable sustainable mecca.
Put it all together… today was damn near perfect.