I have been secretly harvesting a few greens here and there for a customer in need. But I’m trying not to pilfer too much as I want to be stocked up for opening day—which is, yikes, 10 days away! Next Friday is the start of Memorial Day weekend, and Green Island Farm Stand will be open for business. (At least during the weekend. We’ll probably close during the weekdays until late June.)
I am both giddy and nervous with excitement. There is such a huge learning curve with growing—and it begins to go up more rapidly as the years pass. So I can’t help but feel good about some things I’ve finally got figured out. (See the photo gallery below.) At the same time, I can already see that despite doubling the size of the garden this year (Roy finished enclosing the “back 40” this weekend while I transplanted tomato seedlings into pots), I still wish we had more of some things—especially our beautiful greens. The salad lettuces are simply stunning, and all of the Asian greens are flourishing under cover of Remay. Hopefully, there’s enough to keep up with demand in June, since greens are the main deal until the early carrots and peas come in. (I sort of never thinned the peas, all of which miraculously germinated, so I hope they don’t strangle each other. If not, there will be a lot of peas!)
The trick to growing and selling greens is to seed new flats every week and transplant when holes open up. Or to transplant some and direct-seed new beds at intervals. (Some greens, like the lettuces, the mustards, and the kale will provide multiple harvests—and we do love them for that—but once a head of baby bok choy goes, it goes. Arugula is good for a couple rounds, but then the new growth toughens.) But knowing these tricks (finally) doesn’t make them necessarily doable. When we get the hoop house built, that will help a lot. But there’s only so much space we can devote to greens, too, since we like having the farm stand—and that means we have to make room for a variety of vegetables and that will yield at different times during the season, filling in gaps when other things wane. It’s a big puzzle, but a very fun one.
Of course the other way to deal with all this is to just dig more beds! And now that we have the tractor, well…we just bought a bunch of asparagus crowns…and more rhubarb plants…and a few strawberry plants. And we turned the old chicken yard into a patch for Roy’s gladiolus. Yeah, we are not too good at saying ‘enough.’ (Witness the new flock of chicks. And yes, they are all doing fine!)
Here’s a photo gallery preview of the goodies to come (and a look at the “Back 40″ awaiting a gate, beds, plants, and a new irrigation system!):