Transplanting has begun. Yesterday we had a full crew on deck—Dan, Steve, Peter, Jen, and Amanda, our newest volunteer—to plant the kale, chard, and collards. These single-row crops are planted into our signature “compost cannolis,” which can be prepared weeks in advance. First, the tractor-drawn subsoiler cuts an 18” slit down the center of the bed; the goal here is to facilitate drainage and nutrient uptake without pulverizing or inverting the soil. Then, we apply a concentrated layer of compost, thanks to a sander perched atop the manure spreader. On its own, the spreader would lay a 4’ span of compost, but with the sander, we can dial the spread down to 2’, so that it stays within the plant’s root zone.
Finally, the tractor makes a third pass with a set of hilling disks, which covers the compost beneath a low mound of soil. And presto—compost cannolis! Steve and Dan spent much of the past month building cannolis around the farm. Then last week, in anticipation of this week’s transplanting, I seeded annual ryegrass and Dutch white clover in between the rows. Over the next few weeks, these pathways will mature into brilliant fairways of green. In June, when the plants are full-sized, our crew will apply a thick layer of leaf mulch beneath their canopy, so that the soil will be completely covered—exactly how we like it.
The upcoming Saturday farm stand will be our last with the 2020 storage crops, as we clear out the walk-in cooler in order to upgrade the insulation and A/C units. Part of me is relieved to turn the page on beets, carrots, and cabbage, but even as my mouth waters at the thou