Most of the field is still covered in rye. This is the winter cover crop – it helps protect soil, hold nutrients and moisture, and comes up green early. Some of the field has been tilled. Of the parts that are tilled, some has been seeded already with peas, carrots, spinach, and beets. And the onion sets are in! Some extra space is tilled already for two reasons: first, in case the field is too wet to work for a while, to kill off some of the cover crop so that it would be ready to plant. Second, one of the weed control methods is to allow the weeds to germinate before planting vegetables. By tilling, it brings the weed seeds to the surface, and allows them to start growing. A couple of days after the weeds start growing, we’ll lightly till or harrow to kill the weeds, and that way when the vegetable seeds are planted there will not be so many weeds to compete with them.
Here’s the field: much still covered in winter rye, with some strips tilled. There are multiple strips – each strip is for 1-2 different crop families. One of the pest control methods is good crop rotation. That means the onions will not be planted in the same place again for at least 3 years.
Here are the onions! Nearly all of the onions were ordered as “sets”. We ordered 120 bunches, and each bunch contains at least 60 plants. It turns out they average more than 80 plants in each bunch, because with 3,000 row-feet with onions spaced every 3-4 inches… we have about 10,000 onions in the ground!
Getting a little help from nephew Ty to put onions in the ground!
It’s exciting to talk about what’s going on in the field, but much of the work right now is going on in the germination house. This is where we start many of the plants that are not direct seeded in the field. It’s also a nice place to work on rainy days!
So far, things are going well in our first year! Plants are growing, irrigation lines have arrived (just in case!), and equipment is working often enough to get jobs done. Lots of hands have been helping out! We would appreciate you passing on information about New Family Farm to anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA. You can also arrange for a time for me to come talk to a group that would be interested in learning more about us and what we do!
Please be in touch if you have questions or ideas, and I’ll do the same.