Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
I get so busy that I hardly look around me, just keep my head down, sticking transplants in the ground as fast as humanly possible.
Then one evening (we sometimes work in the evenings) as the sun is setting, it casts a golden light across the rows of colored lettuce, and I almost want to cry it's so beautiful.
And then at a certain point I realize, I'm sitting in the middle of a field, surrounded by FOOD! What a truly nourishing experience.
June has come.
So we cover much of what we plant with giant sheets of fabric called "row cover" until the plants are large enough they can defend themselves from their insect attackers. This is our primary pest control technique, and many farms choose to obliterate the bugs with sprays. We choose to just prevent them from making our vegetables into their all-you-can-eat salad bar.
This bok choi was a victim of flea beetles, because it didn't get covered properly by the row cover.
The weeds are loving the heat too, and now with this rain they are going to GO CRAZY. We have a multiple attack strategy for combating weeds. It starts with preparing the fields years in advance of planting the crops. In the above photo, apprentice Mike is learning to use the spring-tooth harrow. Every few weeks we drag this old rusty comb across the fallow fields to wipe out weeds trying to reclaim the open ground. It's easier to do this than to take the weeds out once the broccoli is there.
The 1948 Farmall Cub tractor is our tool for cultivating, which is basically a fancy word for weeding, with larger tools and horsepower. We steer (very carefully) shovel points mounted under the tractor down the rows, obliterating the weeds, and hopefully not plowing under the broccoli.
Then there is always hand hoeing and hand weeding, which does happen quite a bit, but this is always the last resort, as it takes so much time!
Here we are thinning beets with a few smiling volunteers. A 200 foot row is quite long, but with good conversation, and a zen mind for a very focused, meditative task, it goes by agreeably.
I'm back into the swing of making about 3 lists a day, prioritizing and re-prioritizing, as the weather changes. We have so much to do. There is no way it will all get done-- my task is to figure out what has to get done NOW, and what could wait until later.
And we might have a new mascot... his name is Chief and he's really friendly! Belongs to apprentice Deanna. Maybe you'll see him at distribution in a few weeks.