Does anyone else have a little extra spring in their step? I know I do. The sunshine draws you outside and the increasing day length, WOW, what a gift that is! Every year many of the PNW folks wander around in a mental fog from November to February – and farmers are no different.
It always amazes me that I will be busy all winter and then as soon as the days start to lengthen and the weather starts to warm, “BAM!” It is as if I was Rip Vanwinkle. I get a deep breath, start to notice how the ground is drying out, the spring birds are making an appearance, the ladybugs and other insects that call this place home are flittering about. The whole farm awakens from its winter rest! Now it is time to farm, for the local season to begin.
On our local farm we are still a few weeks away from actively farming the soil. It is ironic, that I consider driving my tractor and getting the seed beds ready for planting as active farming?!?!?!
Haven’t I been farming all winter? I have planned our planting rotations and ordered seeds and moved and repaired the greenhouse (thank you wind and snow). I have purchased different equipment, sold other equipment and done maintenance on said equipment. Our family is seeding 800 lettuce transplants every week. We also have been pruning and have just landed 4 dump truck loads of compost.
Sounds like we have been actively farming all winter, but…. There is something about “turning” the soil for a vegetable farmer that signals it is time to farm. Working with nature, discerning when it is dry enough to help the soil get ready to grow food, to feed (fertilize) the soil so the soil will feed the plants, so the plants can grow.
My job as a farmer is to help the soil, enhance the soil and work with the soil. The soil’s job and its host of helpers (bacteria, fungi, earthworms, etc.) is to feed the plants. That is why I just landed 4 dump truck loads of compost to help feed the soil, so the soil can grow the plants as healthy as possible, so the farmer can harvest the healthiest plants and deliver them to you, so you can eat the healthiest plants.
This is why I farm -the eater, the farmer and the soil working together in a mutually beneficial and respectful partnership.
Cheers to your health,