Salad mix is an important crop for Loma Farm. Last week we harvested 100 pounds for area restaurants, including 7 Monks Taproom and Northern Naturals Cider House in downtown Traverse City, The Boathouse in Bowers Harbor & Blu in Glen Arbor.
We plant salad mix nearly every week from April to September. This is our 13th planting of the season. Next week is the final planting and is made of a Loma Farm customized salad mix including very hardy lettuce varieties, bulls blood beet greens, mizuna, frisee and escarole. Each of these leafy greens can survive temperatures well-below freezing. This mix will be harvested in November and early December for our winter CSA shares and for the winter farmers market.
The video shows the process of planting salad mix using a Planet Jr. push seed-drill from the mid-twentieth century. This is the most appreciated tool on the farm for its beauty, solid construction, and nearly perfect functioning.
To use the Panet Jr: First select the seed plate with the appropriate size hole to allow the seed to fall from the hopper to the soil. Add the seed to the hopper and adjust the furrowing shoe to the depth that you want the seed to be planted. The front wheel drives an agitator in the hopper that encourages the seed to drop through the hole and into the planting furrow. The rear wheel then lightly tamps the soil behind the seed leaving it snugly set and ready to germinate.
Planting seed using the Planet Jr. is pleasant work. The well-worn American oak handles feel good in the hands and the hefty construction and well-greased wheels help the machine to slice the soil with little effort. Standing tall while seeding allows me to observe the fields while appreciating the efficiency of a time-tested tool.