We weeded, we got all our garlic out of the field (small this year, but pungent), we hilled the ginger, and we kept up with harvesting. We are finally starting to see an abundance of crops like tomatoes and cantaloupe, meanwhile, the peppers and eggplant are just coming onto the menu.
And while we keep up with this, we are always looking to the future. This is the time of year that fall plans need to be firmed up and goals for winter production need to be decided. Although it feels like summer only just hit shore, the days are already getting shorter, meaning less daylight hours for our vegetables. By the time November hits, plant growth slows to a crawl so we rely on careful planning. Our goal is to get those fall crops seeded and planted before October rounds the bend. So we scheme.
We are also solidifying our garlic plans. This year, sadly, we will not be using our own saved seed, so we have to source and purchase it. Fortunately for us, there are a lot of awesome garlic farms to choose from! We are planning to plant a quarter acre, and that ground needs to start being prepared now. Once the sparrows and blackbirds were done nesting, we mowed down the scraggly grasses and plowed them under. Next step, we will disc the site and plant a cover crop of Sudan grass to hold the soil and nutrients in place until we plant in November.
Along with the ground prep for the fall, we are prepping the land to be planted next year. This will decrease the weed pressure next year (although it will be far from snuffed) and, among other benefits, increase the workability of the soil in early spring. This prep follows the same sequence as the fall prep: mow, plow, disc, cover crop (yet to be selected), but at a much larger scale. Between the farm roads, buffer zones, and the fields, the acreage edges towards 10. We won't be planting all of that, but it is wild to think that we went from working with 4 tillable acres last year, to all this land now. Which brings me to more whimsical farm thoughts.
What a great responsibility and honor it is to work with this land and to know that in my lifetime, I will get to know the plant and creature community that lives here. And how the water moves through it. And where the wind comes from. And where the big rocks are. I have been thinking about how this farm, left for only a few years, has returned to wild so enthusiastically, and how that is something I really want to maintain. Timing mowing for the birds is great, but how can we make wild spaces within our activities so it won't be a matter of habitual eviction. And how can we make spaces for the wild things that I don't even know are there.
One thing I know will help are perennial areas that are not planted every year. That has got me thinking about fruit trees, asparagus, berries, herbs, and flowers. I am so looking forward to designing a land where we can all work together and eat as much fruit as we want. No plans yet, but we certainly have some hills that I don't want to work every year, for the safety of both the soil and myself. And there are some wet spots that would definitely best be left to themselves. For now, I will just watch and listen. Oh yeah, and grow vegetables in the other spots.
It also got me thinking, and this is a short and sweet 5 am drive to market revelation, that all the organisms in our ecosystem are important. The revelation comes not in the acknowledgement of their importance but in thinking about explaining why. I believe that they have intrinsic value and that they don't have to offer something to humankind to earn the title of importance. But slathered on top of that, our ecosystem is in dynamic and elaborate balance, and all the parts are important. I would not take apart a machine that I didn't fully understand and upon putting it back together, decide which parts could be eliminated. And so, assuming none of us fully understand the complexity of our ecosystem, none of us should casually decide the importance of one piece or another in our gigantic, organic machine.
And to close it out, all the baby birds aren't gone! I came across some adorable barn swallow babies still in the nest. Good thing I don't have to mow the ceiling!
Hope to see you all at market!
Fresh from the field
Beets by the pound
Personal Cabbage (pint sized and delicious)
New Fingerling Potatoes (new lower price)
Swiss Chard (limited)
Kohlrabi- Like a juicy vegetable apple. Try it raw with a little salt
*We send this email out before harvest, and although we do our very best to make accurate predictions, crops and quantities found at market may vary.