Friday, April 9, 2010

weird weather & other exciting events

First it was the abrupt change from muck boots & flannels, to crocs & tank tops-- now it's snowing again! Just yesterday, Beth & I were sweating as we hauled buckets of gravel, the humidity at that just-before-a-storm point, sweltering August-like heat. For the past week or so, I had been watering the greenhouse several times a day just to keep the temperature down for the germinating seedlings. Lettuce seeds don't germinate over 75 degrees. Today, the wind blew at 15-20 miles an hour, and we took refuge in the greenhouse to eat our lunch. The poor pepper plants that we just potted up (over 1,000 of them!) are looking forward to those 80 degree days again!
Beth & I have been working a lot on our washing station-- digging trenches & filling them in with gravel to help drain off the excess spray water when we clean vegetables. Kind of boring farmwork if you ask me, but important for our operation, if we want nice clean beautiful produce!
Sunflower stalks from last year still surviving... a reminder in the field of the magnificent potential of summer.
We tilled the first acre, before the last rains came.
And plowed up a second acre...
Luke & I plowed on Easter Sunday, running off mid-day to put on dress clothes for our family dinner.
The rye & triticale that I planted last fall as a cover crop for fields we're not using this spring are greening up really fast! Makes me think about mowing soon...
One of the challenges we face on this land is the really tough grasses that exist here, in this field that hasn't been cultivated for over 10 years. Canary Reed Grass, Quackgrass, and a few other vicious rhizome-forming creatures are what we're battling. Just plowing doesn't kill them. Many old farmers told me that the only way to kill the grass is to spray herbicide.
Because that's not an option for us, we have to be creative-- using the tools available to us-- tiller, disc-harrow, spring-tooth harrow, etc. And timing things right.

We have put off planting for a week or two to see if we could try to get rid of the grass a bit more. Planting into a field you know will grow right back into grass is a pretty foolish thing-- we'll be hand weeding that grass out for hours! Because of this cold, wet weather, we may not have much of a chance of killing the grass before planting. So we'll be faced with the challenges spring throws us-- and make do with it. All this said, we'll be planting soon!

Peas, carrots, spinach, onions, cabbages, and more.

These brave plants, leaving the protected greenhouse environment, will throw down their roots into uninsured territory. I put my faith (& my entire livelihood) into their resilience against the whims of climate change... helping them along with my hands, my back, my brain, & my heart.

1 comment:

KneeGuy said...

wow, what a moving post! thanks so much for doing all that you do:)