August is one of the hardest months on the farm for me. Early in the spring there is so much optimism and hope. Nothing has been planted, but you’re ready for the fresh start! You start watching for those windows of dry enough weather to get out and put your farm plan into action.
Of course, this year has been anything but normal, in more ways than one! The weather didn’t really break until mid-July, but the last few weeks have been glorious with lots of sunshine and just enough rain. It is unusual to not have had to irrigate much at all this year. On the farm, irrigation is referred to as IRRITATION! Seems like you are always chasing a leak here and fitting there, and water pressure, but when it all comes together, there are few things as beautiful as a working sprinkler system. Although, nature is the most efficient irrigator of all, and as much as we try to imitate a rain event, our efforts are a mere distant second to a good rain event.
August can present as a tough month because the farm is in so much transition. As I walk the fields, there are big gaping spaces where a crop used to be but has been harvested. I walk by places where lettuce, beets, peas, beans, and garlic have been planted, cultivated and harvested. Months of work finally ready for your Box of Good. Interspersed among these newly created spaces where vegetables once inhabited are newer plantings of lettuce, cabbages, kales intermixed with more beans and a very healthy winter squash crop.
Literally a few weeks ago the farm was feeling near capacity with not much open ground and now as if one flipped a switch, it starts heading back to more open and less planted. It is what is supposed to happen, it happens every year, but the most rewarding time for me on the farm is when most things are just about ready to harvest and the farm looks full.
Much of the spring plantings are finished and we are busy planting our fall crops. The season has been good and even with bare spots where veggies once inhabited there lingers the memories of rows and rows of crops. . .
As we march forward, I am simultaneously, looking back and looking forward. We have made the decision to change our farming methods and to streamline our beds. We are placing stakes where beds will begin and end reconfiguring our “blocks” for next year’s vegetables. The biggest change will be the complete work up of all our beds making them all 200 feet long with ample headlands to turn a tractor. This will make everything more uniform from our plantings, to irrigation and yes, even weeding. It is so much easier on your mind when you only must hoe 200 feet instead 260 or 240 or 300-foot-long beds. Making all the beds uniform is long overdue and the process has already begun, because all the fall plantings and garlic are being planted at the new 200-foot length.
That’s all for now,