We’re hoping to get garlic planted this week, and we’ve been sowing cover crop like mad. As harvest has gone along we’ve been breaking down cages and pulling the stumps from the beds. Replanting of cover crop and brassica ensures both soil building and food harvests during the winter.
Harvest is a time of adjusting priorities because there is more work to be done than can be accomplished in any given day. All the work will get done, but defining the order and maximizing efficiency can be difficult with the shifting landscape of weather, labor, ripeness, drying space and farm needs.
The last couple of weeks have been long hours every day, working from before first light until well after dark most nights; such is the journey of harvest time. As a friend and fellow farmers says, “things all seem to get ripe at the same time”.
Farming is a juxtaposition of life-cycles, always some beginning and some ending. As we move through fall, the leaves begin to yellow and fall from the oaks and the garden and landscape take on amber, yellow and brown hues. The lush green of new growth provides vibrant contrast to the mellowing of harvest colors, accenting the dichotomy of life and death in continuous embrace.
After the few days of rain we had at the beginning of the month, the weather has turned hot and dry again. Our efforts towards pasture irrigation are paying off with a thick carpet of green, pulsing with life. By bookending the rain with irrigation before and after, we have jump-started the fall growth, far exceeding that which is happening on surrounding areas.
Being able to increase the rate of pasture growth means that we are increasing soil organic matter, carbon sequestration and water-holding capacity while sopping up leftover nutrients from our pastured poultry operation. The rapidly growing grass will prevent erosion and will become more lush each season as we work through the choreography of animal husbandry and land management.
It is a deep joy to walk out in the morning and see the green of the small pastures; the culmination of many hours and many dollars of effort to create the opportunity to re-engage the natural carbon-sequestration system. It will take decentralized, human-scale landscape management to reverse impending climate change. Developing systems and working models is an important step in that direction.
The hot weather has things growing well; there is a late flush of tomatoes that may have time yet to finish out, and we’ve brought in our winter squash. We are very much in the lull as some summer crops begin to languish while fall crops are not yet ready to harvest. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with stellar local farmers to gather quality local produce to share with you!