Am I a FOOL, or part of something truly MAGICAL?!
Seeding, planting, covering, watering and repeat! That's what we've been doing every week since the beginning of May. The tunnels are brimming with tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and basil, while the fields are filling up with little seedlings of sweet potatoes, winter squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, romaine, spinach, cilantro, dill, garlic and colourful carrots and beets.
This time of year, plants are so tiny and delicate - they need a lot of care and attention to survive the temperature swings, wind and pest pressures. The tiniest of bugs such as flea beetles or baby slugs can easily wipe out a whole crop when the carrots are less than an inch high and the squash seedlings can fit in my hands!
On top of that, we might only have one shot at growing some of these plants. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and winter squash are only planted once, and if something happens such as a late frost, an early pest, a windy day, a too hot greenhouse, too wet or dry soil...they are toast. That's it for this year. All we have is next season to try again.
There's always a point in the spring when I look out at the fields and all I see is a lot of beautiful red soil and protective row cover. There's very little green. Things seem to be growing soooo veryyyy sloooooowly, and we're working soooo veryyy haaaard!! Everything seems to be struggling or dying or standing still. It's at that point that I'm truly puzzled and the self doubt creeps in.... 'How does this work again?' , 'Am I a fool for believing in the magical powers of seeds?'
And then it happens, all at once. It's usually after a good rain, right around the summer solstice. Every plant seems to be growing right before our eyes. And you realize that like us, these plants are truly resilient and want to thrive, all they need is the right conditions - water, sunlight, heat, healthy soil and a farmer's loving hand! :)