We could be discouraged by the recent extended period of rain and flooding, but we’re not. We think we are in control, but we’re clearly not. Rail against Mother Nature, as you will, she”ll have her way, and we can only stand back and let her do her thing. I predict in a month or two, we’ll barely remember the rains of March. By July, we probably will be complaining about lack of rain. That’s farming.
A period of unusually warm days followed the storm that dropped 9.5 inches of rain on us, then a few days later, we got a couple more. Last Sunday, we donned our muck boots and ventured into the garden to survey the damage where rivers flowed between the raised beds, and a great deal of erosion occurred. Thank God for those raised beds! Despite water up to our ankles between the rows, it was not as bad as we had feared. Surely it’s a setback but it all can be fixed in an afternoon or two with hoes and rakes and shovels.
Perched safely above the high water mark, intrepid garlic shoots poked through the hay. The daffodils and other spring bulbs are up and it’s time to remove the protective layer of mulch, a small project for this weekend. Here we grow hard-neck garlic, the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. We saved the biggest of the bulbs from last year’s harvest, planted them in the fall, and covered them with a nice, thick layer of mulch. They need a period of cold to grow properly. They’ll grow from now until mid-July when we harvest. I can’t wait for fresh garlic again! I used the last of it in January.
We were amazed to find real food growing in our garden. We dug up the last of the parsnips yesterday, along with a few leeks that survived the winter. Squishing around in the mud, we also found a whole bed of kale that survived the winter, along with several tiny heads of red lettuce. We can’t wait to be growing hearty greens like these in our new greenhouse to enjoy throughout the cold months.
Last Friday, we planted the first seeds of spring in Dave’s greenhouse. Flats of celery and leeks and lemongrass need to start at least 10 weeks before the end of May, when it’s usually safe here to put them in the ground. Over the course of the next month I’ll be planting: peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, brussells sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, melons, herbs, bok choy, and flats and flats of flowers.
This year, we’ve tripled our garden space, and shares are still available, but they’re going fast. Soon enough, Dave’s greenhouse will be vibrating with our green shoots. It’s truly an amazing sight to see, and it always humbles me. I feel privileged to be growing food for a living. The unquenchable life force that comes forth from a seed requires a small amount of my input, and renews my faith in the rebirth of spring. Every single time, it teaches me something about the essence of good living. It’s hard to explain. It makes me happy to buy vegetables from a bin in the grocery store to cook and serve good food to my family, but it just doesn’t give me the same kick as pulling them alive from the garden, right into a meal. Even the tomato sauce I froze, and the few remaining packages of kale and spinach seem still to contain this life force. Maybe it has something to do with living the life we were meant to live. It feels authentic.