Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Photo: Mary Nelen ©

Been very busy implementing some changes to my operation, namely, I am expanding my landbase slightly by renting some acreage ....... I'm using the greenhouses there and a few nooks and crannies of the field that don't lend themselves well to baby greens but are quite suitable for vegetables.....staying away from the flood plains..... 

........from a grower's e-mail this morning. 

This year I went out on my own and decided to rent a plot at the local community farm. Ambitious mix of tomatoes and herbs. The end. Between agonizing about hay vs. wood chips, vs gravel for mulch, the wide variety of staking methodology, I am way behind the curve. 

The tomatoes have to be replanted because they are too close together, which means re-staking, the nobel and ambitious 6' stakes I put in (the Florida weave method) and because they are so leggy, they must be trench planted, meaning submerge the things sideways up to there necks so they grow bushy. Who knew? Now, even more than before, I bow down to my farmers, how, how do they do this year after year? 

Here it is only June fifth and I yearn to jump in my car and drive away to my latte place after two hours in my 10 x 20 plot. The setbacks! Slugs on the strawberries, a short-terms planting due to a gift from a permaculturist in Hadley. They didn't take but the slugs took them. Out, damn strawberries, mulch and all, to make room for the wily tomatoes. 

Now, today, mud and what, take a day off? Slug it out with the slugs and try to replant in squishy soil? When I go to the farmers' market, when I pass a big farming vehicle with it's muddy claws on the road, when I pick up my share, a prayer of thanks. These people are gods walking among us.