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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!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Notes from the Field - Careful What You Wish For

Last Monday when I walked out into the field, the tomatilloes, husk cherries, and chiles were hanging from their stems, wilted virtually to the point of death. In the irrigation frenzy of the week before, we had overlooked this field at the front of the farm, and even though it wasn't on my to-do list for the afternoon, I hurried to get a line of pipe into the field while the rest of the crew finished the garlic harvest. As the water arced over the rows of crops, I murmured the mantra we had been chanting for the past month: "a little rain, please, just a little rain."

Apparently the "little" part got lost in translation to the language used by the weather gods, because the rain that fell on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday was not a little. It was a lot. All of a sudden, everything that had been on hold during the past week was in high gear again. There was no more need for irrigation as we hurried to plant all the crops that had been waiting outside the greenhouse while it was too dry and hot to put them in the ground. Beans, broccoli, beets, carrots, bok choy, kohlrabi, lettuce, and the last of the summer squash went in the ground as fast as Erinn could make beds for them. The field crew planted in the rain. The weed crew weeded in the rain. We dug potatoes in the rain. Dan took advantage of the dry day on Wednesday to cultivate, now that he was not afraid to drive the tractor near the fragile, dry crops. The lettuce already in the ground doubled in size between Monday and Friday. Sutton started to build a fence around the ripening tomatoes to protect them from the horde of rabbits who had started to nibble on them.

On Friday the combination of hot weather and a little rain caught up with us, and we had to pick all day long to bring in the harvest. Eggplant and peppers, pushed along by the heat, were like enormous jewels in the harvest buckets. Zucchini, cucumbers, white onions and tender lettuces poured out of the fields. Everything that had been so hard to find a week before was suddenly abundant and delicious. The cool, rainy weather gave us tons of energy but also had us obsessively checking the late blight map.

Who knows what the next week will bring in this roller coaster of a season? It could be fire or flood, feast or famine, dust bowl or rain forest. This growing season has definitely become an exercise in rolling with the punches, cutting our losses, and looking for the silver linings, and last week's was the beautiful harvests that filled our harvest crates and our cooler. Just for this moment, we forgot about all the carrots and parsnips that didn't come up and the fennel that didn't make it through transplant, and enjoyed the peppers and eggplant and the first tomatoes. Just for this moment, we enjoyed the chance to plant anything without watering it immediately. We watched the fall kale grow and enjoyed the harvest.

Hope you do too, Amanda, for the farm staff

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...and now we get to enjoy the harvest! and look forward to more weeks of inspiring blog posts. :-)