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Get to Seeding!

For those of you south of MI you've probably started seeding for spring production, but for us in the North we're just getting long enough days and, in the past three or four days, plenty of sunshine.  While that means somewhere between damp and flooded basements for those of us in old farmhouses (Boo!), it also means seeding time in our hoophouses (Yeah!).  Last Thursday we seeded in the hoophouse at home (a 34ft X 96ft) and have been watering daily since then.  The sun is even shining right now and we're supposed to get 50F on Friday (soil temp was 51F on Sunday). 

So, just what did we seed and how far are we from putting in tomatoes tend to be the questions we get right now.  Seeding first.  We just put in:


'Napoli' pelleted, 6-row seeder, every hopper, holes B and C, seeder shaft 1, 2 inch in-row (two beds each hole B and C to see what we like better)


'Snow Sweet' - Earthway seeder, pea plate, double row, trellis of 2 ft chicken wire

'Green Arrow' - Earthway seeder, pea plate, double row, trellis of 2 ft chicken wire (our two year old daughter eats all of these right off the vine)


'Red Ace' -Earthway seeder, beet plate, 4 rows/36 inch bed

Baby mixes

Lettuce Mix - 'Garrison' and 'Green Royal Oak' - 6-row seeder, every hopper, hole B, seeder shaft 1, 1 inch in-row spacing

Salad Mix - lettuce above plus 'Mizuna' and 'Red Russian Kale - same seeder settings as above

Spicy Salad Mix - lettuce and salad above plus 'Red Giant Mustard' and 'Astro' arugula - same seeder settings as above

Spinach - 'Space' - 6 row seeder, every other hopper, hole C, seeder shaft 1, 1 inch in-row spacing (every hopper in fall planting seemed to dense)


'Toscano' - 10 inch square spacing (seeded by hand, marked with rake and row markers)

Swiss Chard 

'Bright Lights' - Earthway seeder, swiss chard/beet plate, 3 rows/36 inch bed


'Crunchy Royale' - Earthway seeder, radish plate, 5 rows/36 inch bed


'Hakurei' - Earthway seeder, lite turnip plate, 4 rows/36 inch bed

There are also a few beds of spinach that were harvested most of the winter that have begun to regrow with a little tip burn.  In the field we have three 100 ft rows of spinach (seeded in September and not harvested at all) that were under quick hoops with 0.55oz row cover (no plastic) covering.  They looked good as of yesterday when we peaked through the covering.  We are hoping to harvest those in the next few weeeks when the snow melts.  This is the first year we've done that and are interested in how it works out because it could fill the space in March before things are ready to harvest in the hightunnel. 

Alright, so how far are we from planting tomatoes.  They are getting seeded tomorrow by a farmer in the area that is growing some of our transplants.  The scheduled plant date is April 15th in to a house with no heat (that is yet to be built!).  There are some things we could do to push that earlier that other farmers have done with jars of water, 4 inch non-slitted poly tubing filled with water, etc. that we are going to try next year.  But, this year at home we are getting ready to build a 26 X 48 movable the last week of March/first week of April that the tomatoes are going in to.  We are planning on:

112 'Big Beef' (8 rows the short distance across the house)

14 'Sungold' (1 row)

14 'Black Cherry' (1 row)

14 Red cherry (not sure on the cultivar yet) (1 row)

We will sell some red cherries alone and mix the three varieties for pints at $3 at the Bath (MI) Farmers Market.  Quarts of the 'Big Beef' went for $3 last year but we are thinking about selling by the lb this year if we get around to getting a scale and getting it certified.  With this planting date we will have tomatoes for sure (barring any major weather disasters) by the 4th of July, and more likely, the third week of June.  

As soon as the crops that were just seeded start to come up I'll start to post some pictures, and as soon as the movable tunnel goes up there will be pictures of that too. 

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