We have several thousand transplants that have been growing for the last four to six weeks for the 2012 Central Michigan CSA members and we’ve got a home for
them outside starting Monday April 29th. The overnight temps have been in the mid twenties several nights in the last week which helped me to hold of on setting out transplants until Monday. With 10 days of overnights forecasted to be in the mid 40′s and above I think it’s a smart time to get planting.
I’ve learned it doesn’t do much good to plant when overnights are below 40 and it’s just plain risky when we are waking up to 26 degrees. The transplants have been growing in an overnight low of around 55 degrees and this week we’ll have about the same outside so we are getting started in the morning. We’ve been preparing the fields over the last couple weeks and installed a bunch of raised beds this last week. We use a green mulch with helps to warm up the ground yet still offering zero weed growth underneath, which is our most important step to eliminating the need for herbicides. The raised beds also have a gravity feed irrigation tube installed that allows optimal watering.
The beds are around 18″ for most of the transplants and we place them about four feet from center to center. This creates about an 18″ to 2′ area between which is easily cultivated with rototiller or cultivator. The mulch, though plastic, is bio-degradable as well. Another side benefit is that the vegetables stay a lot cleaner as the rain doesn’t splash dirt all over things like tomatoes, peppers, squash and other vegetables. The cucumbers and vining plants do end up growing all over like crazy but we have to deal with that.
Not everything is optimally grown on raised beds. Onions, potatoes, green beans, carrots, beets and other plant that need hill-ed, have close spacing, or are planted by seed work better the old fashion way and then need to be cultivated by hand to eliminate weeds.
It seems to take a transplant about a week to realize it’s in the ground and it’s free to spread its roots
I’ll write another article in a week or so and show some progress pictures. Until then happy planting. It looks like the threat of frost will be minimal for the next two weeks but you never know. The Market will be opening this week and we’ll have fresh asparagus along with some nice flowers and hanging baskets. Also some homade