Planting Tomatoes & Hardening off Transplants
Village Farm Team,
Last week we were able to use our BCS tractor to install plastic mulch on a few of our beds on the North Farm. The plastic mulch will help reduce weed growth similar to the permanent ground cloth we have installed. It will also prevent our clay soils from losing vital nutrients like nitrogen that have the potential to evaporate when bare soil is exposed to the hot summer sun. The main difference between the plastic mulch and woven ground cloth is their length of use: the permanent ground cloth can be used for several years while the plastic mulch must be replaced every season.
We planted several rows of tomatoes this past week! So far we have New Girl and Sun Gold varieties planted with several other soon to follow suit. In order to provide support as our tomatoes grow, we installed a trellis system composed of T-posts and twine. As they grow, we’ll add more twine as needed to keep them growing vertically rather than sprawling over the beds. The trellis system not only allows the tomato plants the support they need but it makes harvesting easier and reduces their susceptibility to potential fungal diseases and soil-borne pathogens.
Did you know the last step we take before transitioning a plant from the greenhouse into our beds is called hardening off? This process involves gradual increased exposure to the elements before a plant is finally transplanted outdoors. Hardening off allows plants to build up their tolerance to the elements, from full sun exposure to high winds to rain and cold. In order to harden off our transplants, we transfer them to a couple of our greenhouse tables that are equipped with wheels. This allows us to efficiently wheel our transplants out into the elements for a couple of hours before bringing them back in.
Chef Fest is a little less than two weeks away! Now that we’ve been privy to the unique dishes being offered up by each of our 10 chefs, we’re happy to report that both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will have plenty of options to choose from. We’ve been sharing the delicious dishes they’ve dreamt up over on the Chef Fest Instagram if you’re curious. To read more about the event and secure your tickets, head over to the Chef Fest website.
The Agmenity Farm Team
Words & Photos by Courtney West