Planning the farm usually begins in November. Well, I start talking about it in June, but the real action happens after we’ve cleaned out the garden beds and stacked wood for the furnace. We have to consider space, planting times, relationships to previous years’ crops and next year’s crops, favorite plant varieties, new ones, and materials to purchase.
But our success relies on something we can’t control: the weather.
Today, it feels like a crisp October morning with the promise of rain. The air is chilled, the breeze is moist, and bed didn’t want to give me back to the world. It’s a stark contrast to the last few months. In June and July, we suffered through a string of 95-103F temperatures, and some nights, the thermometer didn’t dip below 80. I say “suffered” because we don’t have central air conditioning on the farm… and we’re still feeling the effects in the garden.
Our tomatoes didn’t flower because of the hot temperature. Spinach bolted before it even developed baby leaves. We couldn’t sow new seeds because the soil temperature was too high for germination. The ground has cracked from the lack of rain. Today will be 10 weeks since our last measurable precipitation on the farm.
This week, we took advantage of the cooler temps and sowed some leafy greens seeds. When I tilled the rows, I noticed that our irrigation tape had left a trail of mineral deposits along the rows.
The weather has left us struggling to meet our CSA commitment. Our friends’ farms post photos of their tomato harvest on their Facebook pages, leading us to wonder what happened on our place and if we could have done something differently.
If you’ve read to this point, I should tell you that my life is not all doom and gloom. We took a short vacation to a state park this week, and enjoyed the break. The boys went fishing, we tooled around in a paddle boat, and enjoyed a dinner at Main Street Cafe in Louisville. (We recommend the chicken and noodles and the onion rings, both house made.) It was great to get away for a couple of days.
Every year brings challenges. We have to face facts and adapt. But nothing has scared us off yet.