Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Slow thaw

We took a walk through the fields on a very balmy afternoon a few days ago. There was a very distinct spring-y smell in the air-- the ground warming up, the earthworms wriggling around, the natural processes of decomposition beginning again, and all the life of the soil waking up. I dug into the field with a shovel, and felt the moisture level with my hands... getting drier. (How exciting to smell this soil and remember last summer!) The sun and the wind have been doing their best to prepare the fields for cultivation. Driving a tractor into a field before it's ready (dry enough) you can do serious permanent damage to the soil structure, compacting it and making it inhabitable for our tender, particular vegetables. So while every ounce of my anxious-for-spring intentions say "plow! plow!", again my schedule defaults to the whims of the weather and the dirt.

After my walk it rained almost two inches again, and the fields puddled up again with the great mud. Robins hop around pulling earthworms, my boots make squishing sounds walking around, and the grey clouds force us to burn more propane to keep our greenhouse warm. It will probably be another week or so before we can even think about entering the field with a plow. This pushes back my pre-planned schedule a ways. We are 2 or 3 weeks behind. Peas should be going in the ground... yesterday! Everything depends now on the sun and the rain and the temperatures-- but it looks like the first harvest might not be until June. If we push back the pick-up days a week or two we will extend the distributions into November, to make sure we give out 22 weeks of produce.

Meanwhile, I've been in the greenhouse a lot lately, planting thousands of seeds in trays, making room for more trays... we're close to maximum capacity! We've had some super helpful volunteers who've come out to help with all this seeding -- thank you so much. If you're interested in getting your hands dirty a bit, email me to get on the volunteer list. There's lots to do.

And hopefully it will stop precipitating soon so we can get this season started!

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