First Spring Transplanting

Students fill a prepared bed with turnip seedlings

The growing season has officially begun! Eric and the students started seeds in the seed house in the last two weeks of January, and now, about four weeks later, we are ready to transplant out the new seedlings into the field.

Once the seedlings have between two and four “true” or adult leaves, they are ready to be either transplanted or moved to larger containers so that they don’t get root-bound. Even though the last frost has not happened yet, students are able to start planting out cold-hardy seedlings: turnips, beets, lettuce, collard greens, lettuce, mustard greens, kale, and broccoli. Other crops, like carrots, that are not suited to transplanting will be direct-sowed into the field.

Some of the beds still had residue from winter cover crops, and students worked to add soil amendments and fertilizer before using the tilther to gently work the amendments and residues into the soil. The tilther also fluffed up and prepared the surface for transplanting. Cover crops add a huge amount of organic matter to the soil, especially the root mass, as well as opening up the soil and promoting a healthy soil biome.