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Apr192018

Market News

From the Farm: Spring Garden Prep and Planning

It’s an enjoyable time of year working in our spring garden. We have a wide variety of spring and summer plantings at the farm in various stages of their respective growth cycles.

The pest pressure has been minimal on our spring garden crops up to this point and this is in large part due to the cooler temperatures and lower humidity we have experienced so far this year. Cabbage loopers are often prevalent through April and May in Georgia, but we have not sprayed any of our crops with the handful of organic pesticides that we utilize.

Before we get into all the tasty veggies that are being grown and harvested in our spring garden right now, I would like to briefly go over the fertilization schedule we used on our spring plantings.

Spring Garden Fertilization Schedule 

We typically grow the majority of our spring garden crops on raised beds that are covered with plastic mulch, as can be seen in this picture. A few years ago, we realized that it was often impossible to cultivate and lay these beds in the early part of the year due to high rainfall and soils that were too wet to work. We started fertilizing the fields where our spring plantings would take place in early to mid-winter and laying our plastic beds at that time as well.

The initial fertilizer we put out was an organic granular blend with a 10-2-8 nutrient analysis. We also added bone meal to this granular blend to give us added calcium and phosphorus. After planting, we pumped a liquid fertilizer blend through our drip irrigation system. This liquid blend consisted of fish emulsion and another biological product that is rich in humic and fulvic acids. This gave the heavy feeders like broccoli, cauliflower, and collards a great boost early on.

We will fertigate with the biological product once more before the main harvest of these cruciferous crops begins. This particular fertilizer schedule has worked very well for us the last two years and I just wanted to share it with any of you that might be interested in growing organically.

Weird Weather Gardening

Our timing this year has been above average in regards to when we set out our main plantings. We had a couple of scares early on as we received really heavy rainfall a couple of days after we planted our seed potatoes. This can often cause your seed potatoes to rot in the ground; however since we planted them on raised rows, we experienced almost no loss and the rain really helped the potatoes to sprout and saved us the time of irrigating the crop.

We also had heavy winds and rainfall shortly after we set out the majority of our collards, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Heavy winds can be detrimental to tender transplants by causing their stems to break and drying out the leaves and making them more susceptible to overnight frosts. Again we dodged a bullet and have a beautiful crop of leafy green spring vegetables.

Our strawberry harvest began 3-4 weeks ago and we have been steadily harvesting those and will continue to do so for the next 3-4 weeks. We are chomping at the bit to get our tomatoes and peppers in the ground, but we had to hold back last week due to a few more sub 35 degree nights. It looks like we will begin planting our tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings later this week after the remaining frost danger has passed.

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable spring season. Warmer weather is upon us so if you haven’t started planning out your summer plantings, time is of the essence. Here in the south, the next couple weeks are ideal for setting out your first rounds of tomatoes, peppers, and squash. Happy growing!

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