Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Farmer Scott's Five Easy Steps for Planting

Luscious spinach, ready for harvest
How many spring crops can you name? Chances are, we planted it at the Seattle Community Farm this spring. In March and April our volunteers planted peas, lettuce, mustard greens, turnips, chard, collards, kale, beets, carrots, green onions, and more!

We've already seen the results of their labor, harvesting bins of spinach and other salad greens for the Rainier Valley Food Bank.

Now that the spring crops are in the ground, we've started the next round of planting - yummy summer crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans.

Since creating healthy soil is an integral part of growing food, we spend a lot of time in the dirt. Here’s how we prepare a bed for planting while building the soil:

  1. We top off the compost with organic fertilizer and mix it all into the soil. If the bed still has cover crop leftover from the winter, we turn the soil, burying the cover crop. The buried cover crop then decomposes for a couple weeks, putting nutrients back into the soil. (If we’re in a hurry to plant the bed, we’ll just pull out the cover crop rather than wait for it to decompose.)

  2. Next we add compost to improve the soil structure and add nutrients for the plants.

  3. We then smooth everything out and use a hoe to make rows.

  4. After planting, we frequently cover the bed with a row cover. This fine-mesh fabric keeps the birds out, raises the soil temperature, and retains moisture in the soil.

  5. Then we keep the seeds moist while waiting them to pop their leaves out of the soil.
Spring radishes

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