Thursday, May 27, 2010
Crazy times in vegetable land!
As the first harvest approaches here at the end of May, most of the spring veggies I've planned for our menu are a bit confused. Peas, spinach, radishes, arugula, and bok choi are all looking at eachother perplexed, saying "why is it so HOT?" Some of them are starting to "bolt"-- this means they want to flower instead of make leaves. We've already lost 600 bok choi. The spinach is getting pointy leaves, and the peas are tall & lanky. Flowering is what summer crops do best-- like peppers, squash, eggplants, tomatoes-- these fruits all come from flowers, we don't eat those leaves. But the timing is all off this year. These plants are just barely coming out of the greenhouse at this time. ( They're growing great though!) But I'm afraid we won't have as many greens this spring. And the mustard greens will be spicier!
Also, it hasn't rained for several weeks.
Beth & I have been irrigating around the clock. Many a "day off" has been spent pulling drip lines down rows, patching leaks, and turning on & off valves.
We've decided to try irrigating from the creek as an emergency measure. We bought a gas pump & over 1000 feet of 2" tubing, enough to take us upstream of the wastewater treatment plant to a clean tributary. We hope that it won't dry up on us soon. Luke & I dragged the line through shoulder-tall thickets of burdock, stinging nettle, wild raspberry vines, and across the creek to the fields, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes the whole way. I bought a good filter & pressure regulators to hook everything up right. Tomorrow we'll see if the old antique pump we got from a fellow farmer in Bristol will actually stay running enough to deliver much-needed moisture to our vegetables.
Well, it has been a pretty eventful spring, with cold snaps & this long hot spell-- and I hope to have plenty to distribute in the first few weeks of the CSA. Climate change sure makes things interesting. I haven't had more than 2 days off in the last month. If I wasn't absolutely passionate about what I'm doing, I'd say this job wasn't worth all the work it takes. But people need to eat. And vegetables need to be taken care of. And we need to learn & adapt as quickly as we can to these new challenges.
See you at distribution! Thanks to all the volunteers who've come out to help plant this month... we appreciate your help soooo much. Thank you thank you thank you.