3/17/05 Vol. 2 #2

OK so it’s now three days from the official beginning of spring and it’s snowing!   We have consulted with lots of our fellow farmers and no one can quite remember a spring this late in getting started.  We are moving forward with the planting plan, as usual, and I think we have caught back up to where we need to be but things just look sad out there in the cold!  There are now over 6000 heads of lettuce in the field and I managed to get the first spinach, turnips, carrots, radish, beets, broccoli raab and the first two plantings of sugar snap peas in the ground but we are still waiting to see them come up.  Most of the flowers look good except they are not as far along as they should be.  Now most of this will quickly correct itself with some consistent warm days, we do wonder though.

In the greenhouse I have gotten a little out of control.  Last week was the big tomato and pepper seeding and as hard as I try to not look at the seed catalogs the siren call of new varieties is seductive.  20 varieties of tomatoes this year including two new purples, several new reds including three we brought back from Italy.  On the pepper side the story is even worse.  36 varieties, partly due to our Italian travels again as well as our continued search for disease resistant varieties.  We have been devastated the last two wet seasons with bacterial leaf spot, which defoliates the plants.  This is a huge problem for large commercial growers and so the breeders are now releasing resistant varieties, at least in the sweet bells.  Our yellow bell has the resistance and it really works, we found one red bell last season that we liked and we are now going to trial four newer ones also.  There are also three new varieties in each of the Poblano and Anaheim/New Mexican green chile types.  The logistical nightmare of keeping track of all these varieties is huge;  from soaking seeds, to seeding in small-cell-size flats (almost 5000 seeds), to moving up the best seedlings into larger containers and then finally moving them to the field and remembering where they are!  All this talk of tomatoes and peppers makes it seem warmer outside already.

Picture of the Week

Snow falling outside while the collards, anemones and lettuce are staying warm inside.

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