Fighting Nature’s Unforgiving Timeclock

In some ways, farming has an unforgiving timeline. Once you plant a seed, nature puts you on a timeclock.

The seedlings grows, get leafy (and we harvest some at that point), while other varieties put out flowers, develop fruit, and we harvest the fruit. There's not much you can do (short of killing the plant) to slow down that growing process (and the weeds never stop growing as well).

Because of that, every time you start a new batch of seeds (something we are doing several times a week during the season) you are starting a blitzkrieg of chores necessary to keep up with the plants. Watering. Transplanting. Weeding. Thinning. More watering. More weeding. And the more beds that are planted, the more watering and weeding you must sustain. For weeks!

I’m sure you get the picture.

Well, this spring, when the distribution of four trailer-truckloads of compost took a lot more time than we expected (to make our new farm garden more fertile -- see here for the backstory) it put us behind in our gardening schedule. And once you fall behind, there just aren’t any short-cuts. The work still remains and it actually gets harder to do (i.e., it is harder to hoe big weeds rather than little weeds!).

The good news is that ever since then our dedicated crew has been highly efficient, and we are now (finally!) catching up to where we hoped to be. From here on out, our daily schedule should go a lot more smoothly, giving us a more reasonable routine instead of having to always catch up and work from behind.

What’s In The Garden?

Daniel, our garden manager, reports that everything is growing quickly. To overcome the sustained heatwave (with little rain), the team has been rotating the irrigation hoses to keep all the crops watered. As for the crops:

BEETS: Big, juicy and delicious! We harvested some this past week and you should get more in the weeks ahead.

ZUCHINNI & LETTUCE: Fallen behind on the planting cycle, so we have to get some garden beds replanted.

TOMATOES & CUCUMBERS: Must regularly maintain these vines and direct the new growth by tying them on trellises.

Recently the team has been strategically reusing the old plastic tarps to effectively prepare old garden beds for replanting without needing intensive weeding. Any bed that was used for leafy crops (no big stems or roots) can be covered with the tarps which naturally uses solar heat and darkness to kills any remaining plant growth (especially the weeds). In just a week or two, the beds are cleared and ready for replanting, and old plant matter is re-absorbed into the soil, enriching it for future crops.

Taste Some Yummy Bread

Our baker Jed English is continuing to refine his break-baking process. It’s a blend of both art and science. Every day he bakes he tweaks his recipe or adjusts his method – each time, zeroing in on new recipes. For a time, he was doing more with pastries, but because they are pretty complicated, he cut down on those.

Here are some of his thoughts about bread-baking that he recently shared on his own blog: “When I first put flour and water together, it appears a mess. It is hard to see the final loaf in that first mixture. Wheat flour is hydrophobic, which means it resists water. However, once the water and flour are brought together, the flour eventually accepts the water and is forever changed. That complicated, mystical relationship is the basis of wheat bread. Once the flour and water are bonded, the foundation is built. All this you need from this point is salt, time, air and fire – with these simple elements is created a basic food staple used worldwide. It is formed from the coming together of earth and water, air and fire. Its transformation is like a resurrection. Life from death, through a baptism of fire.”