Thursday, August 30, 2012

29 August 2012. 
Today was planting day for much of the 4 Seasons Research Farm.  We transplanted 9000 bell peppers two weeks ago, but the main plantings are today. 

Planting lettuce with a Jang Clean Seeder
We had already had the field disked, laser leveled to zero flat and pre-watered 45 days ago, then came back in and ripped it to 3 feet, plowed it, disked it again and then put rows in (all with a local growers large John Deere GPS guided tractors so everything is straight).  Last week we laid some drip tape about 5 inches under the middle of each bed with the bed shaper. 

Late morning we started with the direct seeded Head Lettuce section, just over an acres worth.  Jose Luis and Gerry had that done by early afternoon.

At 3:30 Cecilia came back in (after already working from 5:30 to noon earlier in the day) and got everything ready so we could meet the 30 man crew from Ortiz Brothers at 4.  Greenheart Farms had already loaded our trailer with a bin of plants, so all was set.

Cabbage Mania
At 4, we got rolling… it was 105 degrees and 30% humidity, not a particularly nice evening.  The beds we were transplanting in to were wet from pre-irrigation the past couple days.  First in were about 1000 peppers, then 28 rows by 120 feet of tomatoes (about 2000 plants).

From there we rolled into 6 carriers of Celery—each carrier has 12 trays of 231 plants…or they would if they were full.  Each of these was about 180 plants as raising celery in the greenhouse during the summer is very difficult. This gave us about 13,000 plants, which went in to rows with two lines of plants on them.  We planted 9 beds by 330 feet. 

Last up for the evening was Cabbage.  We had 4 carriers worth of Head Start Cabbage, a green variety for the early slot.  The “pull” on these was much better, with about 220 plants net per tray, and the 10,000 plants we had, planted in single rows on the beds planted 30 rows by 330 feet.

Sprinklers running in the Celery while
we finish in the cabbage (on the right)
We fired up the sprinklers in each block right after the tomatoes were done, shutting off the line in the area we were working, and then firing it back up again as soon as we finished that row.
We wrapped up close to 8, planting the last beds in the dark.  The crew was out after 4 hrs, so we had 120 man hours in planting about 26,000 plants, or about a nickel a plant to get them in the ground. 

The sprinklers ran all night; we will see how things look in a few days!

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