Monday, July 29, 2013

Downs, Ups, and Grace

Farming is full of ups and downs, and we've been experiencing our share of hilltops and valleys this summer. Our cauliflower crop was almost entirely lost to a disease or pest or combination thereof. The fava beans never took. The peas didn't put out many pods. The beans didn't do much, and the cucs and summer squash had tons of blossoms but little fruit. We've heard a lot of statistics: "unprecedented" May snowfalls, record June rains, followed by several very hot spells. It was literally snowing when we wanted to be planting. The rain prevented us from obtaining the manure we needed because the paddocks were too muddy to drive in. We know Minnesota (along with the rest of the US) has experienced a dramatic loss of bees, which we depend on for pollination. All these factors take a toll on gardens, as much as we try to mitigate it. Talking to other seasoned gardeners, there seems to be a consensus: this is a uniquely challenging year. We are finding we are very much not alone. We're learning a lot as we handle the challenges that come our way, and are doing our best to prevent loss. However, it's been disappointing to anticipate vegetables that never grow, and it's disheartening when the cause is something beyond our control. Adding that to being tired from working 7 days a week for 6 months and having to put of for costly car repairs- we've been more cheerful. But thankfully, Grace comes when you really need it.

A CSA basket from a couple weeks ago 

Amazingly, we still have a good supply of produce. We now grocery shop in the yard. We made a great connection to get manure regularly, for which I could jump up and click my heels for joy. And we have fantastic neighbors who let us borrow their truck to pick it up.

The guys, side dressing the tomatoes

We've been thoroughly enjoying seeing friends and family when we connect to pass off CSA baskets. It's been so fun to have visitors at the garden. This past weekend, we were very blessed to have 6 extra pairs of hands to fellowship, eat, hoe, weed, plant, water, and unload manure with. It was such a boost. With their help, we slipped in a 2nd planting of green beans. We hope & pray for a bountiful harvest this time. 

Planting beans with our new friend, Emily

Another thing to be thankful for: we've been blessed with a well-cared-for tiller. This past spring was hectic as we dealt with a temperamental old machine that failed us when we needed it most. We are so thankful to have our own tiller now!

There seems to be a Seed Angel in our midst. At some point this past weekend,  an unseen visitor dropped off a huge quantity of seeds. To whoever did that: Thank you so very much. They will be put to good use, growing food to nourish people. 

The group, sorting seeds.

Things are looking up!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013