Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sorting It All Out

Sometimes it seems as if we are working a gigantic puzzle and we just have to keep shifting things around until it looks right. The difficulty is that the picture on the box keeps changing - which means we have to reshuffle everything again to match it!

Case in point: Our heirloom tomato, eggplant, pepper, lettuce and other plants that are started in trays and pots. It would be one thing if we only grew plants for ourselves. However, we also grow extra for sale (primarily tomatoes, peppers and eggplant).

We do not have a green house - or even a high tunnel. We have several smaller, portable cold frames, a few carts, some portable tables and various other items. However, the net result is that we have to do a lot of shifting in order to cycle plants through their early growing cycles so that they are hardened off by the time they get planted into the ground.

Yes, we realize that we eat alot of our time resources up doing things this way - so we will be looking for ways to make the process more efficient next year. But, there is no avoiding it - there is a lot of reorganization to do.

In fact, we go through a process that we call the 'Sort Hat' (see Harry Potter) with our plants. This consists of setting aside plants intended for our farm production, setting aside pre-ordered plants and combining like variety plants for ease of display at markets. It seems that there are always plants that get shuffled around to the wrong spot and need to be relocated.

We are MUCH better at this than we were last year. There has been much less sorting this year. But, there is still a good deal of shuffling that occurs between the various stages of hardening off.

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