Preparing for Spring Planting

We’re starting to make our preparations for the spring planting season out at the farm, and I know the guys are ready for warmer temperatures and longer sunlight hours.

Seed trays were planted a few weeks ago and we now have a variety of young seedlings including collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bunching onions and more.

Since our greenhouses aren’t heated it’s difficult to start seeds in January when nighttime temperatures are often well below freezing; therefore, we decided to start our first round of transplants in our enclosed pavilion down by the pond.

We positioned 8-foot fluorescent lights a few inches over the trays and were able to get a really high germination rate. A common mistake when starting seeds this way is putting the light source too far away from the seed trays which leads to thin, leggy seedlings.

Now that the transplants are reaching maturity, we can move them out to the greenhouse to start hardening them off before we plant them in the field.

Our head man out at the farm, Mike, recently mowed down the cover crop on our two spring plots to let it start breaking down before it is tilled under. A local man who has a composting operation is going to be delivering some compost at the beginning of next week that we will spread over our plots before tilling and bedding them.

The seed potatoes that we ordered at the beginning of the year should be here any day now and we will hopefully get those in the ground within the next two weeks. Once the soil temperature reaches around 45 degrees we will also start direct sowing English peas and snow peas.

The strawberry plugs that we planted back in the fall are coming along nicely and it will be time to fertilize those soon to give them a boost as blooms start to form. We are almost done pruning all of our fruit trees, blackberries and grape and muscadine vines.

Getting off of the subject of plants for a minute, I will say that our Berkshire hogs are growing nicely and they have rooted up their grazing paddock more than any other hogs we have had so far! It’s going to take a little tractor work to smooth back out the area before we plant more forage for the new pigs in the spring.

I hope you all have big plans for your spring gardens and I will talk to you next month!

Brad Kelly
Ag Development
Kelly Products, Inc.