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Welcome to our blog! Learn about our farm operation, public programs, and the people behind our work through the Notes from the Field and Education sections. Peruse the Recipes section for some staff favorites.

Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Notes from the Field: Too Much of a Good Thing

Plants need water. This is one of those basic lessons you learn in elementary school (or, in the case of my personal houseplants, you keep on learning -- sorry, plants). When it's raining, we don't have to irrigate. When it's raining, we can get other work done.

These are the things we kept telling ourselves last week when it just kept raining. We got six inches of rain between Friday the 7th and Thursday the 13th -- more than in the entire month of May. It rained while we were doing our first harvests, re-learning all the things we knew last season about picking and packing and washing and storing. We got a few beds of okra and lettuce planted in between the showers. We seeded lots of fall broccoli and cauliflower in the greenhouse. All of the other tasks that farmers need to do in June -- cultivating, turning in cover crop, seeding, making beds for crops that need to go in, fertilizing plants that need a little extra after the rain washes it all out, scouting for all the pests and diseases that can pop up in cool, wet weather -- had to wait. Even the weed crew, who just started June 4, had two days when they helped harvest instead of weeding last week as the rain made it too wet to pull weeds in the field.

The trick with the wet weather is the mind games it plays. We know we shouldn't be in the fields when they're that wet. Even the pigs know; they stayed inside their Pig Palace for most of last week. But farmers sitting on their hands in June, when we should be our busiest, makes for some cranky farmers. We should be out killing weeds. We should be out seeding carrots. We should be out plowing in rye and vetch to make room for fall crops. But we can't. And so we wait. And worry. We pace, and complain, and put on the rain gear again, and get used to the ache in the feet from the rain boots that -- let's face it -- just aren't that comfortable, and try to remember all the things that we had on our rainy-day list back when it was sunny and warm.

The wise farmer Dan Kaplan, of Brookfield Farm in Amherst, said of last week "at times like these we try to remember that what is required is a spiritual practice. We can only change what we can change. And for all else, we have to learn acceptance."

By Friday, acceptance came a little easier. We remembered how to deal with wet weather. You put all your plans on the shelf and seed in the greenhouse. You eat a little rhubarb snacking cake (thank you, Lizzie!) and catch up on your paperwork. You settle in to the sound of the drops on the barn roof and greet all the shareholders who don't mind picking herbs in the rain, and enjoy the sight of all the brightly colored rain gear in the fields. You wait for the rain to stop and the sun to come out so that you can check out all the crops, see how things fared, and catch up on everything else.

Enjoy the harvest,

Amanda, for the farm crew

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