At times of the year we could use a thousand hands to get all of the work done. We are in the midst of our spring planting after the long winter that continues to grace the farm. When the cold nights stop there is a good deal of catching up that is needed... we are getting closer to catching up, but the season brings new tasks that pile on. So many of the tasks are simply keeping up with the weeding and keeping up on our planting and transition from greenhouse to outside transplanting. We are a one man show until school lets out at the end of the month.
Weeds are finding this a delightful spring as they are greening up every corner and niche of the farm trying to hide from the blades of our flail mower or the sweep of the hoe. Fields have been awash in the winter wheat, hairy vetch, crimson clover and Austrian field peas. Those fields have been a feast of pollen, nectar and habitat for a wide mix of beneficial insects, bees, and other pollinators. We just finished tilling down our last rows to incorporate these crops as food for hungry soil microbes that they will then turn into fertility to support our crops.
Everywhere on the farm it is easy to feel the benefits of all of the rain and snow this past winter. Rain has no substitute in its ability to nourish life above ground and the world associated with plant roots. All of the trees on the farm sport heavy sets of leaves that are waxy green and lush. Along with the rich colors come the waves of birds migrating through using the farm as a stopping point Western Bluebirds, Barn Swallows, Red Tailed Hawks, Great Gray Owls and others make their annual appearance as part of the spring rituals.
Harvesting vegetables from the garden is one of the most rewarding and tasty experiences for any gardener. Knowing when to harvest is just as important as knowing how to grow them! Every vegetable has its own window of opportunity for harvesting. Our June baskets should be full of lots of greens Beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cilantro, spinach, radish, green onions, kale, chard, snap & snow peas, radish, and turnips.
As stewards of this rich and diverse planet, we organic farmers and eaters link the complexity and vitality of the soil beneath our feet to healthy plant life and ultimately to all life above that soil. These dynamic connections of farmer to farm soil are the essential time seasoned patterns of systems thinking-all parts of a living system connected to a whole are greater than the sum of the parts. Mindful soil stewardship understands local conditions and is sensitive to place, its potentials, and limitations. Soil stewardship operates with compassion and restraint, understanding the intimate relationship of farmer to place, care and love for that place, respectful and right action thereon, and humility for the complexity and beauty of a legacy of evolving fertility that we have been gifted.
The principles of Organic Agriculture are rooted in the soil and cannot be re-interpreted to cleave that relationship. They are rooted in the principles of HEALTH –of farm, farmer, farm worker, farming communities, healthy plant life, live stock, and ultimately, the health of those who share the bounty resulting from that labor; of FAIRNESS-creating a system of fair return to all parts so that the energy and community of production is sustained and renewed; of CARE –stewarding resources and life to be enhanced, made beautiful and productive, respected, and enjoyed by all present and future generations; of BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY –honoring and being humbled by the complexity and richness of the planet with which we are entrusted to steward and love. These principles form a necessary ethical foundation of Organic Agriculture upon which the structure of standards and rules are built.
Thank you for being our partner in our summer rituals. Good eating!
Kats Family Farm