We’re still getting the tail end (hopefully) of the last big snowstorm (knock on all of the wood) of 2018. Not quite sure how much has fallen, but it’s more than 18 inches, maybe two feet, in just a couple of days. So we’re as antsy as ever to be done with winter and get on with the growing season, but we’re rolling with it. Supposedly it’s going to be in the 50s later this week and sunny, so that’s a plus.
We peeked in our tunnel about a week and a half ago to see if it was thawed and dry, which it was, and discovered lots of little quack grass sprouts all over the place. The horror! For those of you who don’t know, quack grass is like the Hydra of the weed world. Its rhizomes, or underground stems, are strong enough to grow through potatoes or even asphalt. Each rhizome has nodes every inch and each node can grow its own roots and stems. So if you break a rhizome into pieces, each of those pieces will become its own plant. This makes eradicating it very difficult. The Latin name, Agropyron repens, means “sudden field of fire,” so you can see why we were worried.
With our field still covered with a thick layer of snow, we had some time to devote to the tunnel. We spent five days digging out every bit of the rhizomes we could get our hands on in the top four or five inches of the soil, doing our best not to break them, and removed more rhizomes than either of us had ever seen before. We’re guessing over two hundred pounds. It was a lot of work, and we know that we couldn’t have possibly gotten it all, but we should have much less of an issue with it than we might have otherwise. We will faithfully keep the tunnel weeded and mulch it when we put our summer crops in to prevent the quack grass from getting reestablished.
We’re now starting to fill the tunnel with our spring crops, which will be ready for our first Farmer’s Market at the end of May. We transplanted beets and cilantro and direct seeded salad turnips. In the next couple week we will also direct seed baby salad mix, mesclun mix, and radishes. Now we have our fingers crossed the beets and cilantro will make it through these snowy, cloudy days.