One of the things I like to do for the CSA members is to vary the contents of their shares from week to week. This is a ‘duh’ thing, but I feel it’s really important. We all have our favorites, but too much of a good thing, even spread out over weeks, can get to be, well, too much of a good thing.

Making for a nice variety in the shares requires some advance planning. Trays needed to be seeded now for crops that will be harvested in March and April. So I need to think, what do I want to harvest the first week, second week, third week, etc. What will do well in the ground during those months, what will like the cool weather in March and April, and what will like the conditions in the tunnels May and June? If I want to include large pea greens in the March shares and snow peas in April, how far in advance do I need to seed plug trays for those crops? How many plugs do I need for each week given a full CSA program? Which tunnels do those crops need to be transplanted into so that they and their co-crops will do well when the temperature and humidity, day length, etc. get to their expected nominal levels for those months and will make for happy and productive plants?

I grow a lot of different crops and varieties of crops here, and all of the plants that are co-planted have to play well with each other. Temps in March and especially in April will be considerably different than they are now, or will be in February when the seedlings go in the ground. Even before that the crops will be in The Cube.

The general schedule right now for seeding, seedling growth/hardening off and then planting goes something like this – In the house where it’s warm the trays are seeded. They sit in stacks untill the seeds have germinated, at which time they go to the racks in the garage where the temps are 40° – 50° to begin hardening off. From there, after a few days, they go to The Cube, my small greenhouse. They’ll stay out there for up to a week, where they get used to cooler temps and sunlight. Then it’s out to the tunnels, where they finish hardening off and the survivors will eventually, when temps are acceptable, go in the ground. Each tray will be planted where it’s innitially placed in the tunnel.

Given these conditions, I need to seed plug trays for crops that can take the rough conditions, temperature wise, in January and February, yet thrive and be productive in March and April.

Figuring out how much of each plant/variety to seed is the easy part. Just determine how many shares I expect to fill for a given month, multiplied by expected yield per plant or cell of plants, and I have a rough idea of how many cells of each plant I need to seed in any given week.

But here’s the catch – some plants will be whole harvested, others will be harvested as a ‘cut and come again’ crop. For those harvested whole, I’ll need to determine what crops can go in the ground in their locations and will work well with their neighbors. So the harvested plant and its neighbors will determine what crops I seed trays for in sucession, as well as what the succession crop’s nutrient and other environmental needs are.

Easy work eh? But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

😉

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Previously on the Daily Quick Update –

1/4/2011-

First seed shipment of the year arrived. Now if it would be so nice as to warm up, hint, hint…..

On a weather related note, The Weather Cafe over at
http://www.ovs.com
says there’s a chance that the (comparative) warmth that we’ll enjoy over the next few days may just be a tease. We could be in for some pretty frigid weather next week. It all depends on if the weather patterns and preassure ridges develop like the models predict.

Regardless, I’d rather be forewarned, and forearmed, prepare for another cold snap and have it turn warm, than assume that things’ll be warm and then get froze out.

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