Field Update: March 15, 2021
Happy (Almost) Spring!
Here at Abma’s, we’re gearing up for the new season and you can feel the excitement in the air – not to mention a nice warm breeze! It’s the type of day that makes your troubles seem as not as big, and the sun warms your soul. We are LOVING it.
It’s a busy time for our growing greenhouses on both the produce side of things as well as the floral plants/flowers sector of the farm. In the last three to four weeks we’ve gone from barebones, empty greenhouses to full benches and ceiling hangers bursting with the first green pops of the season.
The start of the season is a little different this year with the advance of a new automatic seeder for our produce!
This machine is turning out to be huge labor saver this time of year.
We take a tray, or flat, with cells and fill with fine peat moss potting soil mix. (We use different size trays for different produce.) The tray is then inserted into the machine. The “dibbler” bar is activated, penetrating the surface of each cell to create a hole for the seed. The tray continues to travel down the belt to the needle bar. The needle bar uses suction to grab onto each individual seed, then retracts the suction to drop the seed into the cell. Then it’s onward to the vibrating vermiculite dispenser! This dispenser covers the seed with vermiculite, which is a mineral that aids the soil in aeration and drainage. Vermiculite also aids in anchoring root systems and helps the plant absorb calcium, magnesium, and potassium. We then take the trays out and lay them on tables in our warm greenhouse to water thoroughly. They bask in the light and grow!
Right now we’re seeding our cold weather crops like lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Swiss chard, and kale. These new plants grow in our greenhouse for about 6 weeks until they are transplanted by hand into our fields.
To give you an idea of how much we grow, take our late spring broccoli for example: 1 tray = 130 plants x 100 trays = 13,000 plants.
We’re also seeding long season crops, like peppers and eggplant, that will grow in our greenhouse for about 12 weeks until it’s time to transplant them into the fields after the risk of frost is over (May 15).
A few more photos of the seeding process… with Colton’s help!
2 days of our seeding log…
We’re looking forward to the upcoming season! Check back soon for updates.
With love and gratitude,
the Abma family