I have been doing some comparing this week, some is positive and some really isn’t.
I looked back at last year’s log where I keep what I am giving out for the CSA each week to compare what I was giving out at this time last year, and there were more “summer” crops ready earlier last year, like cucumbers and beans. And, my first reaction was one of blame on myself for not getting these plants going fast enough. But, the reality of farming, which is both really good for me and really hard for me, is that I am not in full control of what happens or how exactly it happens. There are an infinite number of factors that could have impacted the pace of one vegetable maturing, and what I am doing is only a small part of that. And, what is more valuable to spend my energy on is noticing how much growth there is, and how much food is being produced.
Which leads me to comparison number 2. Looking at the forest that the farm is today (and mostly not from weeds) in comparison to how the farm looked in March or April or May as things were just getting going. Every year in the early part of the season I can hardly imagine the farm full of green growth, and thank goodness, every year it seems to happen. That is the joy of this farming thing.
A friend of mine recently came to visit the farm and brought tremendous enthusiasm about all of the growth that is happening here. As someone who had not had the opportunity to see vegetables in their creation phases she was keenly interested in what parts of the plant are what we generally eat and how they grow. There was excitement from flowering potatoe plants, especially when noting that the potatoe of course doesn’t come from the flower but grows under ground, seeing cabbages as they were just beginning to curl up, and the idea that what we eat when we eat broccoli is actually the flower. She was tempted to describe the farm as the plants or vegetables in the wild, but I clarified that what was happening on the farm was not wild. And, that most of my job as the farmer was to combat the wild. So, she settled on the idea of the farm as a plant zoo.
So, here is your look into my ¨plant zoo”.
The corn was knee-high by the 4th of July
tomatillos aka “tomatoes in coats”
Blooming scarlet runner beans
This was the first week of the 2018 Two Hands Farm CSA season. Members got a smattering of early crops including rhubarb, radish, lettuce, mustard greens, and, a hold over from the end of last season, parsnips.
While a few things are already ready to be harvested, most plants are just settling in, starting to grow, or just flowering.
Here is a visual tour of how things are looking.
After the grass is out, but before the green growth totally takes over
It feels like the momentum is building on the farm. Each weekend brings more plants germinating and more work to be done. This weekend I transplanted onions out on to the farm. I weeded the baby plants, getting to see how many of what has come up and get rid of the bad guys around them. I laid out drip tape for all of the areas planted so far and started the process of re-setting up the irrigation system. This is a bit of a headache every year as I try to figure out the balance between accepting leaks and buying new parts.
This time of year the farm looks a little sad, but all the areas with white row cover have things growing underneath them!
This is what it looks like up close outside:
And, in the greenhouse:
Little green things are coming up! It feels like hundreds of little miracles. Just their first leaves, full of so much potential. First the kale and cabbage in the green house, then the peppers and tomatoes. Now, outside, the peas, mustard greens, and beets are fighting their ways through the weeds to set down roots and claim their space. These photos are over a week old, so imagine these plants over an inch tall by now with their true leaves ever seeking the sunlight. More up to date pictures to come soon. (the curse of not having my own smart phone)
The CSA has filled up, and I am working hard to get the land and plants ready for the season to begin. My hands are covered in dirt as I type this from loosening rows and removing weeds, especially the long tendrils of grass roots.
This week I seeded tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, cauliflower (a new experiment) and cabbage in the green house. And, the onions that were seeded in late February are growing well.
Once again this year Two Hands Farm is offering farm shares. Farm shares give you a share of the farm’s produce each week for 20 weeks from June through October.
You can expect a huge variety of vegetables from lettuce and kale, to tomatoes and peppers, to broccoli and cabbage, to a variety of herbs.
Seeds have been ordered and arrived, and the onions are starting to sprout in the greenhouse, with lots more seeding to come in the next few weeks.
It is hard to imagine the bounty with snow falling outside, but here is a reminder of what is to come.