As I planted tomatoes in the fading light this evening, the clouds in the Western sky turned a brilliant purple deep and ripe. lt was a perfect moment of peace; work and spirit combining in harmony. To work outside with my hands, and to coax bounty from the earth fulfills my soul. The satisfaction that comes with participating in the growth of plants and animals is unique and powerful.
To live in the rhythms of the seasons and the productions patterns they engender is to live a life in service to an elegant choreography in which we are gifted to participate. Growth and death, change and repetition; the dialectic of life.
We’ve been through the annual cycle enough times on the farm that there is a pleasant familiarity to the tasks that arrive with the changing of the calendar. We are learning our systems and making them more routine and replicable. The first time you do something, it is a learning process that may require extra time or effort, but the more times you accomplish the task, the easier it becomes. Refinements appear as you study your process and evaluate ways to make it more efficient.
Our farm is on a slope, and it is important to us not to lose soil and nutrients during winter storms. Our goal is to help as much water as possible soak into the landscape and recharge groundwater, rather than running off during heavy rain events. Growing extra rotations of cover crops sequesters carbon out of the atmosphere while preventing leaching of nutrients by accumulating them in plant tissues. Cover crops provide habitat and forage, build soil tilth and microbiology. It is a joy to return to spring and the rapid growth all around me.
As I write, lightning flashes and thunder claps; showers are rolling through on this evening in late May. It has been cool and cloudy pretty often this month, which has been amazing for the cool weather crops and important for the ecosystem. Even with the cool days and foggy nights, the landscape is already showing brown spots, and dry summer is coming.
It is a thrill to see lightning and hear thunder, but there is the undertone of nervousness as we move towards fire season. It is probably early enough still that the lightning won’t cause fire, but there is a different feeling about it after the firestorms last fall. I can hear rain pattering on the roof, reassuring the fire thought pattern. It’s the dry lightening that really brings danger.
The farm is flowing through late spring, headed for the transition to summer. We are finishing out irrigation work after a series of revamps and refinements. Lots of effort on the water system is paying dividends in efficiency and precision.
Onions are growing well, as are beets, kale, collards and salad mix. Mustards are starting to blow out and go to seed, as are bok choi and tokyo bekana. Cannabis plants are acclimated to their homes and thriving; we are folding up the frost blankets that protected them through the early part of the month.
We’re full swing planting out hot crops. The first two rounds of tomatoes have gone out, summer squash are all planted, winter squash and melons still to go. Cukes are in, peppers and eggplants are almost all in, with the first set of beans to be sowed this week, and the last of the lettuce and brassica planted out. Later successions of tomatoes, are coming, along with basil, zinnias and other flowers.
As always, much love and appreciation to you for reading 🙂