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Cycling Your Crops for More Yield

Bob Gregory

Description

In this class, I will be sharing lessons and insights that the Lord has taught (or is still teaching me) over the last 20 years as we have walked and worked together in the garden.

Presenter

Bob Gregory

Owner/Director of Berea Gardens Agriculture Center in Minnora, WV

Recorded

  • January 17, 2020
    9:00 AM
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Father in heaven we come together today with a desire to learn more about the potentials that you provide to us to fulfill your will and in our gardens and I pray today that you will be both with me and with the hearers that we might glean some understanding of things that you would have us know please abide with us now I ask in Jesus' name amen. I'm going to talk a little bit about season expansion as I told you we cycle crops both indoors and outdoors and we can do some things that are that are pretty interesting even in the middle of West Virginia and the 1st thing that I want to point out as far as ways to increase your productivity is to throw away your planting calendars you know I and our state in West Virginia the extension service puts out a beautiful annual calendar every year and on the days that you're supposed to you know turn your soil in the days that you're supposed to plant beets and the days that you can plant broccoli all those things are laid out on the calendar to help encourage home gardeners and on many of the seed catalogues you also have a list of planting dates for different parts of the country sometimes and if you try to follow those guidelines you can indeed produce a good crop but the likelihood of you being successful is a market farmer is pretty slim because the reality is that our calendar dates for planting crops are far broader and far wider than what those calendar dates give you. An important really important aspect of the cycling I'm going to talk about talk about is that you always start and use transplants wherever possible we'd priest start all of our plants except those things that are not practical to transplant if you're seeding carrots or if you're seeding a corn field or a bean field then you're going to want to direct seed but anything that can be transplanted successfully should be and this is important because while one crop is finishing off I have another crop ready to put back in its place immediately after I remove the 1st crop I have plants that are 5 to 7 weeks old already going into the ground when I make my my my crop cycle and that's really important and what that does is it allows us to get at least 3 crop cycles outdoors in West Virginia and that's like you know if I have an acre of crop that's turning that one acre into 3 acres worth of production with a lot less infrastructure than 3 acres of production requires inside of our high tunnels we can get as many as 5 cycles per year. And one of the considerations is you want to make your your selections understanding the length of your season and also using the days to maturity of the particular crops that you select to help you in that process obviously if we want to get 3 crop cycles I look dominantly for varieties that have a shorter period of maturation and I'm talking again here about looking for varieties for market farming more so perhaps on home gardeners we all have our preferences for crops that we grow in our home gardens and some of them may you know be a longer season crop I do that too but in terms of generating income I want to get as much productivity out of that ground as possible. I'm going to talk a little bit about using sees an extension in the way of low tunnels and high tunnels for those of you that question whether it's worth the investment for a high tunnel or not my unequivocal answer is absolutely yes and there are I'll talk a little bit at the end of the program this morning about ways that you can actually get one of those and maybe even get paid to build your own high tunnel I'll talk to you about the n r c s program I'm going to talk about laying out our beds in an efficient manner that also has some influence on our crops cycling and how to be efficient with our management of space in the garden and that includes talking about the spacing of our plants and using what I call a block planting design. My plants all started here in fact I have one high tunnel that I have a small heater in and this is where we start all of our transplants and that facility looks just like this right now I've got brassicas started in there that will be planting into the high tunnels probably in early March I have quite a few onions that I'm germinating right now for spring planting and what I want to emphasize about this in terms of transplanting is you can grow a lot of plants and a very small space this bench here is about 8 feet long and as you can see it's 2 trays wide when that bench is completely full with those those plug trays those are 288 cell plug trays I've got over almost 6000 plants on that bench they stay in these plug trays this time of year for about 2 to 3 weeks and then they get shifted to 6 packs. And. You know we go they get shifted to 6 packs and I grow them on for an another few weeks and a bear in mind the only heat I have in here just keeps this greenhouse above freezing I'm not trying to heat this because frankly it's expensive to heat a greenhouse so we do have to have hot water heater that circulates hot water under the bench on the left the plug tray bench and that runs overnight that's on a timer that runs during the hours when the sunlight is not on the greenhouse it goes off in the morning and the intention here isn't to keep ideal growing temperatures if you can afford to do that that's fine I haven't found that to be cost effective in our climate because we have lots of of periods of time when the temperatures are in the low teens or single digits and for every degree of temperature rise in a greenhouse the energy input goes up exponentially so to go from I try to hold mine at 40 degrees or so and if I wanted to move that to 50 degrees it would cost me $3.00 times as much energy to do that to go from 50 degrees to 60 degrees costs almost $10.00 times as much energy so the curve as far as your energy input goes up very dramatically with each degree of temperature rise and at those lower temperatures things germinate more slowly but in terms of of you know my scheduling my plants I just start terminating earlier. Typically and in the spring with my brassica crop it can take 2 weeks to 17 days to germinate broccoli for example in the fall I'm doing my fall crop it takes about 2 and a half or 3 days to germinate that same seed if I were applying heat I could still do that in that short period of time but this allows me to to save the energy costs just by using using a longer period of time. After they are well rooted in the plug tray we transfer them to the 6 packs that you see here there's a number of different methods for doing this what I've found to be more efficient for me since I'm a one man operation growing on almost 2 acres I use reusable 6 packs and I simply transfer from the plug trays to the 6 packs using a commercial potting mix I use. Fafnir number 2 mix that works both well for the plugs and for the seedling trays at this stage when they're in the seedling trays I'll start irrigating them with the compost tea as well as water and allow these to grow on for a few weeks before planting the nice thing about the spring planting season as temperatures are cool these things grow slowly and that means that I have quite a window of opportunity to be able to hold them in the greenhouse before they get too big and setting them outside and in the other cycles later in the spring and often in the fall cycle you've got to have your timing between when you plant the seed and when it grows in the ground pretty close because the plants will outgrow the 6 packs quite quickly at that time of year but in the early spring in and late winter. You have a lot more leniency in time I can I can make these plants strong and viable and give them a period of about 5 to 6 weeks between when I could put them in the ground when I have to put them in the ground so I can pay attention to what the weather does in allowing that advantages of starting and flood trays and going to $6.00 packs rather than planting him directly in the 6 packs is obviously space. And it also gives you an opportunity to do a plant selection at that point because anything in the plug tray that doesn't really develop Well I can cast aside when I put it into the plug tray that just goes back into compost and I don't have to try to struggle with dealing with a weak plant and the same is true when I go from the 6 packs into the ground I can do a selection process there also so that by the time I'm actually placing these plants in the ground I've got a good strong viable plant on every growing space that I have on my farm and that's important that is dramatically important in terms of our potential to get a return per square foot on the farm during the course of the year. When I plant. The plants I plant them in a block style this is some cauliflower that we have planted and anticipating cold temperatures this was just a little less than a year ago this was February of last year that I took this photograph and at that time a year things can still be pretty cold where we are so I use actually 2 to tunnel system here where I plant the plants in the high tunnel and then when cold weather is is imminent I'll put Frost cloth over those hoops to put a tunnel in the tunnel to give me a little additional protection now our block system is such that I have beds in the field that are 5 feet wide and I also have some beds that are 42 to 48 inches wide within the configurations of the blocks that I use and all of my my all of the smaller tubes that you see there are bent as a 5 foot. Hoop and when I need to use them on narrower rows I just turn them sideways a little bit so that I have one consistent. Hoop size for everything that I do and it fits all the beds that way in terms of block planting what I do is I select varieties and this is an important point. You know I think there's another seminar today on succession planting but what I've found to be more efficient for me in the markets that I have and since I only have these 2 hands to run the whole farm is that when I select varieties I select them for their days to maturity both of these beds are cauliflower but there are 2 different varieties of cauliflower one will mature in about 72 days the other one takes about 85 days so there's you know a number of days difference between their there maturation and I use that maturation rate to help prolong the season that I have cauliflower available without having to plant those tuber plant the same variety you know the 10 days or 2 weeks apart to follow me there's great advantage in doing that number one is I found it's always worthwhile the plant more than one variety of a single crop because each year you have different influences on how that crop is going to perform one year for example one variety may produce very well the next year you may have disease or are insects pressure different weather conditions and another variety and will outperform that one this gives me the the the genetic diversity in the garden so that if something is going to reduce the capacity of one crop to produce the other want to make up for it so that's as food security issue there but it's also very beneficial to use this method so that when this 1st bed is harvested the one on the on the left here is a shorter variety than the one on the right I can harvest that entire bed and work that bed get it replanted while the rest of the cauliflower crop is finishing and work in blocks now the blocks that I use are 50 feet long I have relatively short high tunnels and there is a reason for that to. The exe shorter high tunnels allow me to ventilate the high tunnel simply by opening up the end walls I don't have roll up sides on my high tunnel and the reason that I prefer that is number one it gives me different environments for growing different crops that I can control a little bit differently but if I should have a pasture a disease outbreak I've got it contained in a smaller area so instead of having 2 or 3 large high tunnels I have 7 smaller high tunnels in terms of length and by opening the end walls I get enough ventilation in those high tunnels so that I don't need the roll up sides every time you roll up that side any time you're moving the plastic on. Tunnel you shorten its life the abrasion on the bows and other things if it's if it's appropriately applied if you get your plastic on tight enough then I've had plastic that has lasted as long as 9 years I use 6 mil plastic plastics getting more expensive it used to be not a big deal to change it but I've had plastic that I haven't had to change for 9 years because once that goes on the structure it stays there and it's not being moved we put it on pretty tight so that doesn't chafe on the bows and we get much more longevity out of the plastic to. Yes. I have 2 different sizes I have a 16 foot wide houses 54 feet long and I have 20 foot houses that are 52 feet long and that was the next thing that I was going to get to is the length of the house you I don't want to exceed 54 feet as been my discovery in the way this becomes important as I orient the high tunnels to the direction of the prevailing breeze in the summer and by doing that I have the prevailing breeze entering one end of the high tunnel and moving through the high tunnel for natural ventilation I want to keep my systems as simple as possible I don't want to have to power you know fans or or use any additional energy input during the summer months and by Orient I'm orienting them into the direction of the prevailing breeze the air movement through the high tunnel is not overheating very much in the center of the high tunnel of the air comes in it gets into that high tunnel environment the infrared rays are warming that air and if that tunnel is 100 feet long by the time you get 50 feet into the middle of that tunnel. Got temperatures an ink can increase 10 or 20 degrees above what the outside air is coming in by keeping it at about 50 feet that increases only for 4 to maybe 6 degrees so that I'm taking 80 or 85 degree outdoor temperature and in the middle of the tunnels it is a little bit warmer and as you go through the rest of the tunnel before that or moves out the other side you've still got reasonable temperatures for growing things and 100 foot tunnel at that same temperature you might you might peek inside the high tunnel in the 2nd half of the high tunnel with temperatures that are 12130 degrees and that's obviously not great growing conditions for most cry. Obs Some crops do like that kind of heat if you're growing you know buying seed things like melons and squash okra in your high tunnel then those high temperatures are not so much an issue but if you're growing heirloom tomatoes there and you know these shut down and actually stop growing when it gets up to about 95 degrees so the short tunnels are for that purpose and since my tunnels are at 50 feet I size all of the other blocks in my field at 50 feet to. And this is just what works out practically for me because that means that irrigation tubes that I use I use drip irrigation all of my drip irrigation tube is cut it 50 feet and I can move it around the farm in any location and in any place and use that same piece of drip tube if I'm needing Frost cloth for protection on something either outside or inside the tunnel everything's a nice 50 foot increment which makes it very efficient for me to to cover anything at any anywhere on the farm inside or outside now I do have a field that is 400 feet in length from one end to the other but when I plant that field I still plant and and blocks that are 50 foot segments and when I need to irrigate a longer stretch I just connect 2 of those drip tubes together with a with a joint connector if I've got you know a long row down the field but I still plant my varieties based on that 50 foot increment the other thing this does for me is I'm as a market grower is it makes my amatory control a whole lot easier if I get a phone call from a customer saying Bob I'd like to get 600 heads of lettuce this week I don't have to go out and you know count down the row how many lettuce plants have got I can just go look into that block and know that I've got 200 you know 200 heads of lettuce and every 50 foot block that's there and count the blocks and and it makes you know the him and Tory management a lot easier to do it in that block strategy. And this is again is that Cauliflower that I showed you in the earlier picture. We've got 2 different varieties here this these particular varieties are about 2 weeks apart and maturity so that when I harvest that 1st block I've got 2 weeks to get it marketed and then I've got another flush of crop coming 2 weeks later in the 2 week period between. Those 2 blocks I've got the opportunity to get another crop in the 1st one that I've planted get it up and mature and growing and keeping the cycles going she understand what I'm trying to convey here and saying that it's really valuable for us to you know to make use of all this space we've got a lot of investment in those green houses or in those high tunnels and we've got you know a relatively short outdoor growing season and West Virginia so the only way and I can make a living is by extending the season on both ends and then cycling even during the crop cycle most of my neighbors that plant gardens up there wait until the middle of May until Frost is past to plant their gardens and by the time September comes along they're done their planning their their potatoes and their green beans and their tomatoes and their squash and by the by the middle of September they're finished and put their gardens to bed I start in the high tunnels planting in March I start planting outside in April and I continue until some period between the holidays between November and December with most of my outdoor production right now I still have Brussels sprouts outside because they'll continue all the way through January now the key to knowing when to stop planting things in the winter is that day way becomes important. In our neck of the woods so the speak we enter with is called a perception a period about the middle of December and that lasts and tell about the middle of February and that's a period of time when the sun is is both low enough on the horizon and the day length this short enough that things just don't grow it doesn't matter what the temperature is it doesn't matter how hot it is things just really kind of stop growing and that means that for all of the crop that I want to sell through the winter I have to have it at a stage of maturity before that percept period begin and so my planting dates are based so that the crop matures shortly after Thanksgiving because if it isn't mature at that point it's not going to mature until it undergoes the winter stress and starts growing again around the middle of February. What I do though is loud nature itself to provide cold storage for those crops because things like beets and carrots lettuce even will hold up just fine in kind of a dormant quiescent state during that period of time and I just harvest it on an as needed basis to to fill the orders that I have this is broccoli similar situation I've got 3 different varieties of broccoli in this high tunnel all. Timed to come out at different times. This is probably a fall shot here the fall crop of broccoli I've still got the end walls on the end there and you can see I've just got one big opening in the end of green at the greenhouse that has a window on it for controlling the temperatures in the summer I remove the plastic on the ends and just let air move through there and I put the panels back in in in October usually and remove them in April and in the meantime I can control the temperature with that window that you see there on the door that's on the other end. But I'm just pointing this out again you can see my drip tubes there all of those are 50 feet long will those or are. Designed to be used anywhere on the farm that's the broccoli when it's getting ready to harvest again different varieties you can see this is a picture of one right it's all maturing nice and evenly and oh I'm sorry I knew I was going to do that. That's the broccoli a little bit farther along and then this is just to show you that the same varieties going to mature are nice nice and evenly and that's nice because I get a large harvest and I can hold broccoli in my cold storage for about 7 days before I really try to sell it so depending on when my marketing periods are I can kind of harvest according to what the demand of the market is and then this is the final product there. We're able to grow some really interesting quality in West Virginia you know a lot of folks think that while Bob lives in West Virginia we're looking for a country property if he's the growing expert at maybe we had a look at West Virginia too because the soils must be really good there nothing could be further from the truth we actually have some of the worst soils and the country right now and when we were considering where to locate. We been there for 10 years now but when we decided that we wanted to buy a farm of our own and get started with our own training program we really had the liberty to go anywhere in the country. And we prayed about it and said Lord we want you to put us where we can be most useful and since West Virginia is. The number one or number 2 state on an annual basis and obesity and diabetes and lifestyle issues we. You know we cannot perceive that the Lord wants As for we can be the most benefit to a community and where better than where lifestyle diseases are are such a great problem also the resources in Virginia and terms of water isolation from contamination from g.m.o. crops and other things like that meant that we were in an area that wasn't you know surrounded with commercial agriculture endeavors were I have to worry about pesticide draft and that type of thing I was talking with Alan Seiler earlier this week and he was lamenting with me that because his neighbor treated pasture next door with 240 had a real disaster and those types of things are easy to avoid in West Virginia because they don't have neighbors they grow anything it's all woods mountains and forests. One of the other things that's really valuable on this is a point that home gardeners really struggle with as that as soon as you've reached the peak of your harvest you want to you want to. Remove your crops as soon as you've reached that that top of the curve and start coming down the other side in terms of the peak of your harvest and I'm talking here about things like green beans or tomatoes even. And roading is the term basically for point he's plants out when they've done the job that you want them to do and most grow worse in fact I'd say the vast majority of growers are guilty of leaving their crops on the ground too long and this has some really deleterious effect on your garden and once you start losing that productivity in no plant plants have some interesting characteristics they all have hormone systems that help with their defenses against insects and diseases and once the plant flowers and fruits the the hormone systems shift in such a way that the plant becomes much more susceptible to disease and past you probably observed this in your guards your older plants are the ones that really struggle you know with us as we get older we become immune to various different strains of flu through our life so that by the time we're we're older if we have a strong constitution resistant to a lot more things and maybe an infant would be with plants it's kind of the opposite the older they get the more susceptible they are to these influences from phone guy virus and other things too so. If we leave our plants in too long we're not only delaying the period of time that we can put something more productive back in that place but we're also inviting more problems in the garden and of course all of us battle with weeds and the longer the crop is there without some form of tillage especially if it's got a large canopy like a bean bed the more weed pressure we're going to see too and the more of those more of those weeds will have opportunity to go to seed 2 for not diligent and cultivating them so it helps keep the garden disease past and we free and more importantly especially for market gardeners is it maintains our quality. All of us have observed I'm sure that as the crop ages and we're getting to that last picking of green beans for example I like he's in green beans for example I don't know why but as we get to that last picking of green beans we get a lot more Miss shape and beings means that are not fully developed less uniform they usually get a little bit tougher and you know if we're introducing nose to our customers after they've gotten the good stuff from us sometimes it's a little discouraging for them too so we want to maintain a high quality of crop those are the ones that the those latter ones I was describing are the ones that we know ones that go on our cans but you know for presenting our crop to our customers we want to have really good excellent consistent quality and roading is also really valuable for doing that an example of what I'm talking about here this is just one of the garden beds we have again it's this one's both 50 feet wide and 50 feet long. Holding this like it's a microphone. But the beans that you see on the edge of the on the edge of the bed there and stead of waiting until they've been you know fully developed and past their prime and we've got weeds growing in there and the Mexican bean beetle is starting to infest things and stead of trying to. Nurse every last little bean I can get off of those plants we pick those twice we pick them when they're fully loaded with means we'll wait about 10 days to 2 weeks and do a 2nd picking on those which gets the vast majority of the crop and then we'll plow those into the ground and plant something behind it this is how we can get those 3 crop cycles outdoors in West Virginia and that's really advantageously to us as commercial growers to get that additional production to maintain quality and to keep things relatively disease and and pest free within our gardens one of the things that I'm really excited about is that for the past 7 years. I have not sprayed any form of pesticides on my farm I haven't treated it with anything organic or otherwise and part of the reason for that is the way that we manage our crops there's other strategies that I employ to I use trap cropping I pay very close attention to the timing of the crops so that I'm not simultaneously planting my crop when the when the past is emerging from the soil to feed it were one of the few folks in our area that successfully grows lots of eggplant outdoors most people have their eggplant destroyed by a flea beetle shortly after they transplant it instead of pointing in the ground early I wait after I see the flea beetles emerge from the soil for about 18 days and then I plant my egg plant it means that it comes you know into productivity later in the season but my plan is virtually past free because there hasn't been a host there for that past on the past emerge from the soil so between planting timing trap cropping selection of the right varieties we've been very fortunate that we haven't had any insect issues you know for 7 years now we do occasionally have a hot spot of insect damage but it's very rare and nothing that's economically. Been problematic for us. The. Thing I want to emphasize is that you've got to pay attention to what you can do on the early end of the season and what you can do in the late into the season and. Block planting helps in developing the strategies. And one of the things that I like about block planting is that it maintains an orderly environment I have seen evidence that our God is a God of order. I don't know that just from reading it but I've seen evidence of it and if God is a God of order then I want to orderly environment in my garden you know some of the the more recent developments and in gardening methods and techniques and especially applying this to perma culture is really kind of a haphazard inner planets makes everything make it look more like like nature. Kind of attitude towards gardening and I've not seen a single permit culture system that set up that way that has worked for more than about 3 years things just fall out of balance you end up with either. An imbalance of disease so will disease pressure and balance of insect pressure it's just you know it's as not an orderly environment and the angels can attend to it and help us the way they can when we're in an orderly environment and I see I see the Lord's help with every step I take in the garden. Block planting also simplifies our our crop inputs and makes As I said Are you old assessments simpler and it simplifies our crop rotations because I'm not working with simple bans in the garden I'm working with large blocks and the garden. Gives me the opportunity for uniformity of infrastructure no matter what type of irrigation you have and the other advantage to that is very important to me is that it helps me budget my time in the. I don't want to go to that when the but in the pictures that you saw the garden that was outdoors everything is a 5 foot by 50 foot bed and if I've got brassicas planted in that I know how long it takes me to cultivate that and if I've got 5 beds to cultivate I know before I even start cultivating. How much time I'm going to spend on that activity and that's very very helpful to me because most of us when we're faced with a job like that we just figure well I've got to go out there and stick with it till it's done but we don't really have a concept of how much time to allocate that day for that task so it helps me budget my time also and the other thing that I should have pointed out and didn't earlier is that my plant spacing is also a very important element of my weed control and this is a real advantage with block planting when I'm planting transplants I put a plant out there that's very strong it's very vigorous and I. You know it's off to a good start the bed has just been tilled So it's got a huge head start on all of the weeds but not only that by the time that plant reaches about a 3rd of its growing cycle the plant canopy itself becomes a living mulch over the bed and shades out further weeding So most of the time I can cultivate only once after I planted those plants and I'm done with my weed control. Typically transplant and about 10 days to 2 weeks later depending on the crops are bigger and what the weather is doing I'll go through with the stirrup hoe and I'll clean up whatever seeds are germinating and after that the plant canopy will start to close over I get shading and I have far far fewer weeds that way if you're planting in a row configuration you've got open sides on both of that plant row where weeds are germinating faster and growing faster typically in the crops do it's a real nightmare to keep up with so beds and blocks are very helpful that way yeah I have one question I'm supposed to hold this to the end can we do that I'll give you time Ok make a note of it though so you don't forget. All right and other aspects of of crop cycling is the season extension methods that we use these are pictures of low tunnels you folks if you're in the market gardening track are probably familiar with this my tunnels as I said are made out of a very simple materials and I have. Hoops there that are made from half inch e.m.t. that's electrical. Conduit basically you can buy that for about $2.25 a stick at home Lowes or Home Depot we bend those uniformly so that it's 5 feet across the bed all those all the hoops that we have are uniform 5 foot hoops and then we simply cover um in our instance we use Frost cloth that is about an ounce and a half per per per square yard Frost cloth comes in different thicknesses and. You can get it from as little as half an ounce per square yard up to about 2 ounces per square yard using a frost cloth we sacrifice a little bit of the sunlight that we get in the winter which is important but the advantage of the frost cloth is that this particular product gives us about it 8 or 9 degree protection on these crops which is important when it gets down into the teens especially. The ounce and a half Frost cloth is heavy enough so that there's no center supports or anything I simply tie it to a stake at the end of the row as you see here stretch the frost cloth down the row and I've got a little plastic clips that go on the end both There's 4 clips on each hand so when it when I need to remove the cloth it's very quick and easy just to slide my weights aside there and pull the clips and remove the frost claw so that I can maximize growing conditions when they're best the high tunnels on the back there. This must have been a nice day because they and the doors are open. We had just been harvesting kale out of this bed which is where the front one is uncovered but they're also for being able to have things like this we're harvesting carrots right now and. The quality of the winter produce that we grow is absolutely fabulous those I will tell you those are the best tasting carrots I have ever tasted and one of the advantages of growing into the colder weather whether it's beets or carrots or spinach or Brussels sprouts or anything else is the cell division that takes place is so slow that the sugars in the carbohydrates accumulate in the crop and it's just marvelously better quality crop you know what I'm selling carrots in the summer I've got to compete with price with anyone else I've sold winter carrots for as as much as $6.00 a pound because people once they taste them just want more of that stuff it's good it's like a lollipop with a green top. And a lot of this you're going to have to learn through experiment experimental knowledge you know what works for you and what crops are going to be suited to the environment that you have one of the the hard lessons that I learned moving from Virginia to West Virginia we moved literally due west from one side of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains and discovered right away that not only is it colder but it's far cloudier. I was as in my youth I went to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington and up in the Pacific Northwest which is known for its dreary gray weather and it was I remember my freshman year of college I arrived there on August 31st on a beautiful bright sunny day on September 1st it got cloudy and started drizzling and it didn't stop until January 5th. And then on January 5th they cleared up for 2 days it dropped to about 5 degrees and then on January 6th they clouded up and drizzle that again didn't really rain it just drizzle they used to just pray please Lord let it just running but it was just drizzle until the day before I left to go back to Northern California at the end of the school year. While The same is true in West Virginia I've discovered that our winters are dark and very cloudy and that was not something that I expected or anticipated so I've had to adjust some of my growing schedules to the fact that we have far less sunlight there and even though the day length is almost identical to where it was in Virginia we got a lot less sunshine so the crop cycles take longer there than they do. This is some lettuce that we've got growing again here this is just to emphasize the block planting thing we've got some red Romaine on the end of a row there that's going to mature faster than the green Romania's this is getting towards the end of the cycle here but there might be a 8 or 10 day difference between where the red Romania is and where the green Romania is and when I harvest that red Romaine I've got plants to transplant into that spot that's going to you know again save me time and that and that cycle. Couple pictures here we'll go back to this whole and. We've got a few minutes left here for questions and I've kind of covered the important points that I want to make again transplant transplant transplant everything that you can do in transplants doing transplants and as I said I start mine out in those $128.00. 188 cell packs and transfer them to 6 packs but I've also experimented for the last couple of years and using a 72 cell plug tray that I found can be very effective in useful in the fall in the spring in order to get good strong plants I need them in the greenhouse in the 6 packs for a period of 5 to 6 weeks before they're really fully rooted and good strong plants because the temperatures are so low when the light levels are low and in the spring I want to really strong transplant to put in the ground because soil temperatures are still fairly cold and the fall though I can get away with a smaller transplant in the garden because the soils by then are very warm and with the warm soil the root systems take off and the plant plants take off while I'm talking now about crops that I plant in September and maybe into early October when our soil temperature is of accumulated all that energy through the summer so I plant transplant directly from a 72 cell plug tray into the ground I skip that step of taking him from the plug tray and putting him in the cell pack and I've found that to be pretty efficient it works pretty well the plants are a little bit smaller but because growing conditions are better at that time of year takes about the same amount of time to get the plant to maturity and it's worked really well for us and saved us both soil mix and the step of doing that shifting so that that is something to that I want to sit. Yes to overusing transports already has maybe workers who are going to be using a smaller transport and in the fall this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons leader visit w w w audio verse or.

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