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. Oh well.
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 ‘farm.’
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.