The calendar doesn’t lie. Six more weeks until our first CSA delivery for 2014. Looking out the window all I see is grey skies and pouring rain. It’s hard to imagine that in less than two months we’ll be on the cusp of summer and jumping back into the frenzy of early morning harvesting, crate filling, delivering, early evening picking, weeding…but the calendar doesn’t lie. It’s waiting just around the corner.
And this farmer is ready to embrace it with open arms. On days like this one, where you just can’t get warm or stay dry I’m even more thankful for my seed room. It’s a little oasis waiting just for me. As soon as I step in the door the warm air wraps around me like a friendly hug. It smells like dark dirt and green life. It smells like hope and promises of good things to come.
By now all the benches are groaning under the weight of seed trays and pots. Some are freshly planted, not a sprout in site. The tiny seeds tucked under a blanket of soil. I pull back the covers and take a peak, looking carefully and longing to see a tip of green. Other trays are bursting with green fingers raised towards the light. I check the soil, and give just enough water so they don’t dry out. Rotating the trays so the plants grow strong and straight. And then there are the red solo cups. Hundreds and hundreds of red solo cups. Filled with tomato and pepper starts, each labeled carefully with the plant variety. It’s Tuesday, and that means each plant gets a drink of half strength fish fertilizer.
I check the board on the wall. Today more carrots will get seeded outside, another flat of kholrabi needs to be started, two more trays of romaine lettuce, I’d better get more snow peas in the ground…I look out the window to see if the rain has stopped. The sun is trying to shine and the rain is just a fine mist. I throw on a jacket, grab a bucket of peas and head out.
This will be my third planting of peas. The first planting was slow to start, even in the raised beds. Raised beds tend to warm up quicker and allow for an earlier planting. But the first planting was spotty so I went back through and planted again, just in case. Now the peas are making a dense green row and I’m thankful that I filled in the blanks. I plant what’s left in my pea bucket, taking time to pull any weeds that are sprouting along with the peas. I can work at a leisurely pace right now, but soon it will be more frenzied and it’s always best to get the weeds when they first rear their heads.
As I pass by the rabbit hutches I take a minute to give the rabbits the contents of my weed bucket. They gobble the weeds down, turning the weeds into fertilizer that will eventually go back into our soil. We’ve staged rabbit hutches within all of our garden areas. The rabbits help clean up weeds and vegetables that don’t make it to the table. Their fertilizer provides a rich planting humus that encourages earth worms and provides us with a beautiful tilth for growing our fruits and vegetables. Eventually the rabbits provide meat for our farm and our patrons. Life on the farm is a circle of sorts. Nothing is wasted and everything has its place.
But now the sun is out and the rain has stopped. I quicken my pace- there is so much still left to do with six weeks to go and counting down. The calendar doesn’t lie and the clock doesn’t stop.