You have a project that you think will take the weekend. A month later and you find yourself still working on it and think, how did this suck up 4 weeks?
We’re finding ourselves in this predicament, well, for most farm projects. But with our Farm Share now officially full the nervous nellies are kicking in and we just gotta keep moving.
The thing with farming is, as much as you want, will, wish or try to make deals with the higher powers for something to work out, there are so many unknowns. Here’s what we’ve been up to in these past Spring weeks that have made us literally “stop” in our tracks and hit the pause button.
1) Garlic. We planted 2,200 cloves of organic garlic seed in the fall. We are SO beyond pumped to see if coming up. Jumping for joy as we walk past, knowing that we’ll at least have 1 thing ready to go by June (huzzah garlic scapes). Looking at the yellow leaves on a rainy day, I pulled up a bulb to check on the progress. UG what is this— it’s decomposing and looks to be eaten alive by… something? What is that something? All the plans were stopped for the day to get to the bottom of it. After reaching out to the garlic supplier (the wonderful Keene Garlic out of Sun Prairie, WI) and frantic research, we realized it was just the original seed dying back to make way for the new, healthy garlic stalk. Whew, crisis averted.
2) The new plastic mulch/bed layer. It was a week-long pause to: figure out why the shipment was delayed, learn how to hook it up, learn how to use the machine, understand even more reasons why our soil needs TLC, and figure out to fix an overheated/overworked tractor. But GUYS, we got 7 rows laid. Just in time for strawberry planting tomorrow.
3) The wind. Last year’s wet conditions is this year’s wind. 2 days of wind called for a pause to make hundreds of sand bags to keep the cover cloth from blowing all throughout Germantown. Those radishes, carrots and green onions did keep warm though! Plus, on the schedule was to put up the 2 hoop houses. And oh they went up, with a little help from dozens of family members that helped to wrangle the plastic covering (with a few cuts and scrapes to prove it!).
4) The heat. I don’t remember temps this high and sunny in April/early May in quite some time here in Zone 5a. While weeding was calling my name, so were the transplants in the greenhouse who were baking in the heat. Five to six trips a day to keep those buggers feeling good means the rest of the world is on hold for the time being.
5) Covid. Everyone has been affected by it in one way or the other. For us, it meant that the seed suppliers were on hold or delayed meaning lots of the summer transplants are off to a late start. The supplier that’s providing us with our new egg-layers let us know this week that the chickens are also backordered due to the current situation. Top it off, farmers markets are looking a lot different this year. As a result we made the last minute switch to hit pause on markets for this year and move to 100% Farm Shares. It’s been so cool to hear from so many people who were curious about the program or wanted to participate, so it felt right to simply make the move to growing just for family and friends this year.
All in all, stopping and taking a minute is a reminder for Bryan and I about how much we have to learn. Farmers have PHD-like skills in so many disciplines, and it’s these moments that hopefully pay off in the future.