2005. Tropical storms are moving up the East
Coast, dropping their treasure trove on the parched earth
here at Stoney Lonesome. I’m loving the rain, a chance
to relax indoors and cool off. I would have been happy if
the rain had stopped at an inch, but it has no intentions
of doing so. Some of our beds will become mini ponds by morning.
We are nearing the end of week 6 of our CSA program, and
so far we’ve had full bags of veggies each week for
our members. Many things have not been perfect, like the holey
cabbage and Asian greens, but our snap peas and broccoli came
through great, and the lettuces have been going solid up to
this point. Early plantings of squash and cucumbers, which
I thought were goners because of the cool weather and cucumber
beetles, miraculously bounced back and are yielding nice fruits.
The red, white and blue potatoes came through for the Fourth
of July, and now we bring in the bouquets of sunflowers, marigolds,
and zinnias. The “lovely bouquet” gives us room
to breathe if our weekly share feels light.
Just in case you think I’m proclaiming the season a
total success so far, I’ve got a whole list of stuff
that ain’t so purty. Our beets remain the size of a
quarter and refuse to grow. The carrots are doing well, but
there’s only one bed of them, enough for a week or two
of distribution to be followed by a couple-month carrot gap.
Our garlic was basically a total failure; this is particularly
hard to stomach because everyone knows it’s hard to
kill garlic, and apparently I did this with resounding success.
How exactly does one manage to over-mulch garlic? Is such
a thing possible? Yes. Some things have been out of our control,
like the cool May and its effect on our tomato bounty, or
the particularly dry June, but I’m realizing that the
weather is too easy an excuse; after all, I’m responsible
for the fact that our irrigation system remains a lengthy
garden hose. Or that my bee hive boxes remain an unassembled
pile in the barn.
So I suppose that every season has its long lists of good
and bad, and we trudge through as best we can and hope that
at the end of it all we have a good portion of our CSA members
left, as well as a small reserve of sanity to prepare for
the following season. Perhaps the most important addition
we have made to the “good” list has been our three
amazing apprentice-intern-assistants who have provided an
incredible boost to the flow of farm work. We get more done
in a day than I would get done in a week last season. Last
year, we left all of our wash bins out, baskets everywhere,
and food scraps all over the ground in the rush to deliver
our stuff to Washington D.C. This year we have the whole place
cleaned up, the truck packed, and we even do a small garden
project before heading out! A garden project on harvest day
makes me feel temporarily atop the big rolling ball we call
That our farm crew will begin to leave us over the next few
weeks for school and other obligations will be tough to handle,
but the knowledge of working with a crew and what a difference
this makes will stay with us. As I write this article, the
crew seeds flats of cabbage, cauliflower and pumpkins in the
greenhouse. That’s what it’s all about this season;
just keep the big ball rolling.