6am. Phoebes call outside my window as the sky lightens from blue to gray. Soon sunlight will pierce the eastern treeline and the day will begin. I sip black tea with cream and run through my list of tasks: call a neighbor about composted horse manure, finish planting broccoli, weed and mulch behind the house, till beds in the back strip and lake gardens in preparation for the week’s planting, water everything. I’m damp from adjusting the sprinkler on the garden patch behind my house and as soon as I finish typing this, I’ll head a few miles over to John’s place to water the greens and root crops we seeded there almost two weeks ago.
I’m anxious to be on the road, eager to see what seedlings may have poked their heads out of the soil overnight. I worry that the seeds aren’t germinating fast enough or in large enough numbers–both John and I agree that we’d have expected to see plants pushing through the soil before now. Perhaps last week’s cold snap slowed them down?
It’s been a spring full of weather-related speed bumps which have caused us to adjust and re-adjust our plans for this season. Initially, we hadn’t planned to use any of John’s property for CSA plantings this year, due to the difficulties of efficiently watering that ground and the complications of growing produce on two farms. But the heavy rains we received earlier this Spring flooded two of our primary growing areas, making them impossible to work, so we had to change our plans in order to get our earliest crops of carrots, beets, turnips, spinach, salad mix, and swiss chard in the ground. Even so, the cold temperatures of the past month have slowed germination and plant growth. We’ve pushed our initial CSA harvest back until the first week in June and I have to confess that I’m still a little uncertain about what crops we’ll have available for those first few weeks of the CSA season.
But these sorts of speed bumps, road blocks, and challenges are part of the business of working with living systems. The good news is that our transplants of summer crops such as tomatoes and peppers look great and the vine crops such as summer squash and cucumbers are off to a good start as well. Cabbages, kale, and kohlrabi are in the ground and are growing daily and the sugar snap peas are starting to climb their trellis. We’ve also really enjoyed having some extra folks around the farm this spring in the form of Kalamazoo College seniors who are studying sustainable and community supported agriculture as a part of a senior capstone course I’m teaching. (If you’re interested in finding out more about the course and the students’ activities on the farm, you can take a peek at the course blog: http://kzoocsa.blogspot.com/.)
And we have our first livestock in the form of five Khaki Campbell ducklings, who are bringing some much-needed cuteness into our lives. You can see photos of them in the slideshow below, which I’ve put together to show you some of what we’ve been up to during the past couple of months.
6:45. The birds have quieted and the sky turned a pale pinky-yellow. The sun’s about to come and there are seeds that need me. Enjoy the photos and enjoy your day!