Well, hello there, nice to see you!
It feels surreal to be writing in these annals again! It seems like just yesterday Kayta and I were sitting by the woodstove, sippin' tea, listening to the rain, and dreaming of the season ahead, far off in the distance...
Then Old Sun came back around and BAM! Time to sharpen those harvest knives again.
Well, I guess there were a few months of prep, perspiration, and planting in between; a plot twist or two; new protagonists, new antagonists. Aye, it's been an entertaining (and educational!) second Act, this second Spring for us here at Green Valley Community Farm.
Farming is a strange game. Steph Curry probably attempts 100 three-pointers every day at practice (and makes 101). Farmers only get one chance per year to try many things. The most experienced potato farmer may have planted potatoes only 40 times in his or her lifetime.
Last year was a blur of firsts for us here at Green Valley. Our first time working this soil. Our first time planting potatoes and well, everything else here! And doing something just the one time, you don't really know if the results are from something you did, from nature, from nurture, or from just plain old beginners luck. Now, nearing the end of our second Spring and seeing the results of some second attempts, we feel we've officially begun the learning curve of this place... the long arcing road of asking, learning, and, if we're lucky, understanding what the heck is going on in the flora, soil, and ecological systems we tend here.
For example, we now know that as CSA farmers aiming for a June 1st start date, one of the hardest shots for us to make will be our first big Spring transplanting. The soils here are clay-heavy and water sheathes down from the surrounding hillsides long after the last heavy rains (April 6th Atmospheric River, anyone?). Cold and wet soils tend to have less active aerobic biology and the negative charge of clay particles tends to cling greedily to whatever native nutrients a soil contains, making them unavailable to plants. In a nutshell: Cold + wet + clay soils = SAD PLANTS!
Our last two attempts at these early transplantings have bounced around the rim, and given us heart attacks, before finally falling in. The plants go into the soil looking vigorous and vibrant, and then a week or two later they go limp, shrink (if that were possible), and turn every color possible besides the one you want... green!
Last year, we watched this drama play out rather helplessly before the warmth of June helped our first brassicas rebound and mature into upstanding vegetable citizens in spite of their rough upbringing. This year, we were going to do it right from the get-go. And thanks to our amazing new farmer Anna Dozor (who we can't wait for you to meet), we were able to plant even healthier looking starts into more deftly prepared soil. But lo and behold... the same withering symptoms began to occur. Heart attacks commenced.
Enter: August York.
August (a CSA member and soil biologist and consultant who has been graciously helping us get to know our soil) swooped in with his knowledge, a compost tea brewer, and rich organic concoctions. With the compost tea breathing a breath of microbiological life into the sleeping soil and spoonfuls of concoction, we nursed our babes through their time of need.
Yup, then that Old Sun came back around, the soil warmed up, the native soil life woke up, and the plants exploded. The harvest knives will be singing on Friday.
We hope this story of the year's first crops prevailing over a wet, wet April adds a touch of sweetness to your first bites from the farm.
And can’t wait to share many more stories and sweet bites with you in the months ahead.
Thanks for joining us on the journey!
See you in the fields,
Your 2018 farm crew, Kayta, Anna, and David