This is the time of year where I want to be done, but all the energy of May, June and July are coming to fruition now. During this season we are mostly harvesting and getting ready for flood season. Flood season???? Yes, I am getting ready for flood season. I realize that we haven’t had any significant precipitation for over a month, but now is the time to start preparing for it. We haven’t had a flood of any consequence for two years, which means this year can be benign or devastating, so we plan for the worst and pray for the best.
We plan for flooding by planting cover crops on our farm. The cover crops are multi-purposed. If/when it does flood, a good stand of wheat, rye or vetch will help keep unnecessary soil from escaping to the river and also scouring our fields. While that is important, cover crops also hold our soil nutrients from leaching away with the incessant rains we have. Leaching of nutrients from farm fields has huge environmental impacts, from dead zones in bodies of water to contaminated aquifers. Another, advantage to cover crop planting is that the soil stays uncompacted, which makes it easier to prepare for spring crops. If you haven’t noticed, I am a huge proponent of cover crops.
So this week on the farm we will be putting part of the cover crop in the ground and continuing to harvest other crops. Harvesting…what are we harvesting? This week we finished digging the potatoes—I am sorry they are dirty, but they do last longer if they are not washed. We are also bunching beets, picking carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and a splash of fall strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. This should also be the last week of our green beans—my farm crew is pretty happy about that! They have hand-picked over 3,500 lbs. this season and have bent over those bush beans for what seems like forever.
There is still corn, winter squash, cilantro, spinach, beets, chard, some apples, Italian prunes and Bosc pears to come. I better stop writing and get busy!
Enjoy the bounty of your local farms, we are in full swing.