It's the second week of May and the thermometer reads 42 degrees. And it's raining! It's a really good day to work in the office, getting caught up on things and perhaps even get a little ahead before the next wave of crazy outdoors (yes, I'm probably dreaming). Fortunately, rainy weather has keep us from working outside in the market gardens planting because two nights of freezing temperatures this week wouldn't have done new plantings much good.
The "tomato house", as we call it, actually the hydroponic greenhouse where 1,660 tomato plants are warm and cozy, is looking good. The bumbles (bumblebees) are busy pollinating. Now these aren't the big, fat bumbles one might find in their backyard, but rather a very docile, smaller variety. They very rarely sting, unless they get pinched under someone's arm or something, and are very efficient at pollination since they know exactly when the blossom is ready. We use bumbles rather than honeybees because unlike honeybees the bumbles orient to their surroundings when they come out of the hive, then fly "low and slow" staying within the canopy of the tomato plants. Honeybees on the other hand would just fly out the roof vents. Hives are replaced about every 6-8 weeks.
The "lettuce house" where we grow salad greens hydroponically is in transition from old crop to new. A good cleaning and it's ready for the summer months.
Both high tunnels (unheated hoop houses) are full. The oldest tunnel is full of salad greens, Swiss chard, collard greens, radishes, salad turnips, broccoli, basil, cilantro, kale, and parsley. Since our Saturday farmers market started the first Saturday in May, we can move some of this product. The second high tunnel, which was built just before the ground froze last year, is full of all the plants we have started for the market gardens. The high tunnels take lots of watering on sunny days, when they warm up very quickly.
Our Friday Farmers Market starts next week Friday. It's a new market in Vicksburg and we are looking forward to it. There is a great core group of vendors and volunteer management from the community. At the beginning of June, all the other farmers markets start so we will be loading trucks on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday until the end of October. Now you know what I meant about the next wave of crazy!