Early winter, while the air was nippy and the soil chilly for all but the cold hardy plants, the Advanced Organic Crop Production class began planning what to plant. Every spring this class meets for eight hours a week, six of which are hands-on lab time working on the Student Farm. This semester we especially focused on all aspects of working with a CSA: what to plant, how much yield was needed, when to plant, what to transplant versus direct seed. We dug into the farm map, planting history and crop rotation laid out by Hillary, the farm manager. We discussed a lot of variables, crunched a lot of numbers and we all had a good joust with the complexities of a mere season’s crop planning. In the end, we followed Hillary’s leadership and got busy starting transplants in the green house and seeding the new hoop house with an assortment of early spring lettuces and root crops.
We began with a variety head lettuces, broccoli, kale and collards. We started pea shoots, herbs and flowers. Meanwhile, the hoop house was popping and baby salad mix abundant.
April made its way through all the rain, which frequently fell upon our Tuesday lab day, and we harvested the first CSA shares of the season!
We thinned the veritable forest of beets for tasty baby beet greens, giving space for their neighbors to expand and grow. Lush kale and rainbow chard was bunched, brilliant radishes washed and bundled and young greens gathered into a salad mix.
As the weather warms, flowers coloring the lush landscape, our bounty explodes into tender rapini, those tasty yellow buds that burst forth from all the brassicas, posed to make seed in the heat. Like kids in a candy shop, we watch asparagus shoots magically emerge each day through the mulch and rinse dirt from the beets to reveal beautiful bulbous bouquets.