August 31, 2015

Fall Transplants

From the Fields - Thaddeus

The days have been very warm, which have been allowing the last of our green tomatoes to make the push to being vine-ripened. The summer warmth hangs on into the evening until the breeze comes in and temperatures cool off. The last few mornings have left a thick layer of dew on my windshield – enough that turning the wipers on leaves rainbow stripes of mud – not very effective.

The greenhouses are delivering transplants as fast as we can tuck them into the ground. Kales, chards and little cauliflower plants arrive in bins that are lined with a racking system that is able to hold transplant trays over each other. The crew pulls one tray at time out and stacks them onto the mechanical transplanter that is coupled to the back of a tractor. Folks sit on the transplanter, and pluck plants out the their trays and place them into a rubber “hand” on the transplanting machine that tucks the plants into the ground at a uniform spacing and in a straight line.

In neighboring fields, the carrot and beet seeds have turned into little plants that have popped out of the ground. These tender, little leaves are ripe for eating by little worms. As I walk through the field,
I stop to get onto my knees to more closely inspect the baby plants. I see worm droppings and holes in the leaves. It doesn’t take long to find the tiny guys hiding on the shady side of the leaf. As I look more closely, I see another green little guy creeping across the dirt. They are small, green and very soft – I squash a few between my fingers.

Tomorrow, the guys will apply an organic worm killer BT. It only kills worms, not harming the other little critters that call the field their home. The application needs be followed by a period of time without water to ensure the mild product doesn’t get washed off the plants before the worms take a few more bites of it.