Even Keel


After a pretty tough slog, it looks like we’re really getting on top of things! Today, Lindsay brought her sisters with her to the farm to help weed and plant, and I continued trimming and tilling up.

The spring really did set us back, but we’re motoring now. Unfortunately the cooler weather—which I absolutely love, being British and hence apt to malfunction at temperatures greater than 25 degrees C!—means the aubergines/eggplants and peppers just aren’t progressing as quickly as we’d like. In a larger organization, you would almost certainly put in a plastic tunnel or greenhouse which raises temperatures by a good few degrees on average. Still—the shareholders are each getting one hot pepper this week! Yum! And the tomatoes… well, there are hundreds, and they are beginning to change colour. You can really tell the difference between the different varieties, and the different stages of ripeness. Soon, my pretties, soon…

The garlic is all now hanging in one of the barns, where it will dry over the next few weeks. We’ve been giving it out fresh and it’s been lovely and tasty! So it’ll be nice to have a store for the winter.

We also have cabbage looking beautiful. The crying shame is that we would’ve had cabbage already had the turkeys not eaten them all way back at the start of the season! Oh well.

This is a great picture as it shows all the good stuff—healthy plants, the house. No sign of turkeys, groundhogs, cucumber beetles here!

Speaking of cucumber beetles… it looks like they have transmitted disease to our (winter) squash plants, which are dying. Lindsay started more plants a few weeks ago which have been transplanted out, and while they look good at the moment, the beetles are on them. It’s not looking hugely hopeful, honestly. The zucchini plants are doing fairly well (considering the swarms of squash bugs and cuke beetles!), but the winter squash… not so much.

So this is where we’re at. We’re finding that many different plants are having issues here, but as of now there are lots of plants doing well! It really does make me appreciate exactly why it is that commercial agriculture is as it is—it just makes life so much simpler! Farming is filled with adversity, and I don’t blame farmers for trying to head off some of those challenges, even if the methods have proven unpalatable (nasty bugs? Here’s a spray that will kill all bugs! Umm…). As with many things in life, it’s not black or white.

The other thing I am finding is that growing at home is much less work! The potato plants (which are for the CSA members, they were just planted at home due to time and wetness constraints!) are beginning to flower and there just aren’t weeds infringing on them. My squash plants had a few squash bugs and cuke beetles on them, but nothing like the numbers we’ve had at the farm. Obviously, at home I’m surrounded by other houses with gardens—well kept grass lawns and so on, not acres and acres of forest, farmland and so on where pests and diseases of all varieties can grow. I can pop out for half an hour a day and just observe what is what.

The tomatoes at home are just as unripe as the ones on the farm, though—argh!

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