I spent the morning working in the greenhouse on this rainy and grey day. I worked on weeding the beds, pruning & trellising and feeding the plants some alfalfa tea. Adam hacked away at an invasive rose shrub that is trying to make a home in the greenhouse. He also relocated volunteer plants in the field. It’s hard for us to let go.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been wanting to take time to sit down and write out what the 2023 season has been like for us so far. It is feeling like another turn of the tides here on the farm. Every season is so different and comes with its own set of challenges but this year has felt different for us. It’s shaking things loose within us…
In the beginning of the year we lost several pallets worth of squash, then I fell down some stairs and tore the ligaments in my ankles (the most excruciating pain I have felt thus far in life) which lead us to cancelling our winter CSA early due to less crops and being injured. Adam made up the difference by working off farm for a longer period then he had originally planned. I handled wfm2go orders, crop plans, seed orders and growing plants for spring.
I decided to order seeds from all small and local seed companies this year knowing that I would have to be more strategic since local seeds can get more pricey since they grow in small quantities so their price reflects that. In these plans I forgot to account for extreme rain wash outs so now I am reordering seeds from larger seed houses to ensure I can reseed when unexpected weather happens without spending more than I am making. It was all just a sad alignment of events and I will still whole-heartedly buy local seeds but with a new insight.
Our first spring discovery was that the cherries weren’t going to fruit this year due to the cold snap in the winter. Then the spring started hot and DRY back in May. Adam & I instantly got flashbacks of the growing weather from the previous season and looked at how dry our fields were already and reacted. Adam began preparing fields that usually were wet in May instead of our sandier soil because he could and because we thought it was the smart thing to do. Fast forward to June’s never ending torrential downpours that brought droves of slugs to our squash field, turn the fields to wetlands slowly drowning plants and slightly sloped fields washing away our newly planted seeds. Boom, just like that, a good decision turns to a bad decision.
Now we find ourselves cover-cropping these fields where crops didn’t make it and restarting in the sandy field, the only place we can get to. Basically farming spring twice - woohoo! Transplants that were meant for sale to create spring income turned into back-up transplants that went into the fields. Which meant starting more transplants to try and keep some income coming in while our crops struggled or died out. Boy it felt like way too much all because a series of seemingly harmless choices we made. That is why people say farming is a gamble because it really is. When things go wrong, you pay the price. Sounds harsh, I know.
Spring CSA time rolled around and I thought there was no way we could pull this off but we pushed through and did it and only had to purchase strawberries for the shares everything else was from the farm. I still am in disbelief. Haha. There wasn’t a ton of variety so we focused on communication and quality to keep members happy. Now in about a week our main season CSA starts with more people and I again find myself thinking what are we going to do for all of July until our re-seeded and re-planted crops come on. Another miracle, please!
Okay I know what you are all thinking. My gosh Courtney this doesn’t sound like you at all. That is the thing, my limits were pushed to a place where I started to question it all. But this is a good shadowy place to be even though it doesn’t feel like it. This is where you can distill things with more clarity, make choices you’ve been afraid to make, go for things you waited to go for because you feel like you have nothing to lose. I have been in this place a couple times before, one of those times being right before I met my soulmate - Adam. Would I have left my country and traveled with him to Canada if I wasn’t in that place? Maybe not.
So here we are in the trials and tribulations, slowly chipping away at the stone and looking for a new form. Bet you can’t wait for the next blog post on what that will be….
Growing Wine Cap Mushrooms in the Greenhouse Under some Mountain Spinach
Our beloved Honeynut Squash
Kale slowing drowning after surviving pest and hot, dry weather :( We Lost 75% of the Bed.
Adam Cover-cropping with some sunflower seeds in field we are unable to work