Spring into farming

April 8, 2009 at 7:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring on the farm means we’re itching to get into the soil: spread compost and nutrients, till in the cover crop, create a level, weed-free seed bed for early transplants. As we get into April, though, I’m remembering one of the things I love about farming and find most challenging: you’re in control and you’re absolutely out of control at the same time. I’m caught between my spreadsheets–which outline the schedule I am to follow if we are to deliver 60 shares of vegetables to the CSA, and cucumbers and cabbage galore for the Picklarium–and the weather, which is neither predictable nor obliging….

Nevertheless, we proceed as best we can.

Spring on the farm means greasing up the tractor, finding all the little pins, remembering how the grease gun works, lubing it up for another season, holding our breath that our ancient Celli spader still works, turning it on. It still works.

Spring means our hearts soar at a 60F day, when we remember what green looks like when it’s lit up by the sun.

Spring means a greenhouse full of hopeful young plants, 3″ high, already hinting at what they will look like when they’re older, lose their baby teeth, become full-fledged kales and beets and leeks.

Spring means selling CSA shares, exciting customers about vegetables, praying that they will grow as I have told people they will, salivating at the distant memories of fresh tomatoes, new lettuce, a perfect red pepper warmed from the sun. Really, we’ll have this again?

Down in the Sadeh, spring means it’s still cold and wet. The earth is so saturated I had to work to push my fingers in it, even a few inches. Poor condition for tilling — I would simply make bricks of clay, and clog the spader, and make a mess. So I wait.

On Beebe Hill, a south facing slope, it’s a little warmer and better drained. I started tilling there, and direct seeded a bed of carrots and beets on April 1st — the earliest we’ve ever planted anything. How far can we “push” the season? We shall see….

Spring on the farm…we’re waking up, warming up, gearing up, getting our hopes up, and looking up at the sky upon which so much depends — and feeling incredibly grateful.

Chag sameach all,


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