Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chard and Beet Thinnings

I was back in the lawn chair in the big greenhouse at New Roots Farm this morning. Conditions were entirely different from a week ago Thursday, when the wind was whipping the roof plastic and the outside temperature was chilly. Today was warm outside -- and the sun finally emerged -- and even warmer inside the greenhouse. Warm enough that we had to open both ends of the greenhouse to let air circulate through, for us and the plants.

Today I thinned Swiss chard and red beets. The Swiss chard showed good germination of several seedlings per cell, but Farmer Renee wanted only one per cell. So the extras were pinched off at the base. Likewise, the beets were thinned, but with these we left three seedlings per cell. Here are the results.....

.... lots and lots of fresh, tender greens. I went home with my own handiwork: a salad spinner full of mini chard and beet greens.

While I sat and plucked off the extra stems in a dozen or more trays, I listened to the red-shouldered hawk scream its territorial call --- keeyuur, keeyuur, keeyuur -- from the wooded wetland below the pastures. Then a barred owl called from higher up in the woods -- Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?

The cow still bellowed from the barn, as the pastures are still too wet to turn out the animals. The animals and the farmers are frustrated with the excess rain and lack of sun. I'm hoping we've turned the page on April showers. I'm thankful for the big bag of fresh greens in our fridge, thanks to our farmer friends who have to carry all the stress of too much rain, too little sun, unknown predators eating chickens, and frustrated cows and sheep and pigs anxious for green pastures.

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