As if we woke up in an entirely new and foreign (and lovely) land, the summer solstice has brought us warm weather and sunshine today, to last all week (we hope). The field is looking amazing these days, with all of the early crops full in their beds and lush. The field feels vital and enthusiastic as if all the crops are feeling content and productive.
Ok, enough of the poetry. We have had some setbacks this year, such as the birds ripping out a whole lot of corn and bean seedlings, rabbits mowing down the soybeans and storage onion tops, and germination issues with some of the seed purchased from seed companies. Heck, this may be a small operation, but my self-saved seed pops up thoroughly and enthusiastically whereas much of the stuff I've gotten from seed companies has been less than reliable.
Despite the setbacks, most of the crops are flourishing. An update to this point includes the following: the soup pea and garbanzo trials are growing fabulously, with most of the peas in flower (the bush peas have white flowers and so far all of the pole peas have two-toned pinkish, reddish, or purplish flowers! The barley and wheat are headed out, I forgot to look at the oats but I don't think it's headed yet (planted late). The lentils are flowering. The potatoes are weedy and could use another hilling up soon, but are holding their own. Sunflowers (oilseed and edible seed) look strong. Transplanted corn is big and robust. Millet is small but germinated well and is filling in the beds thickly. Amaranth is doing well, still less than a foot tall. Same with quinoa but for the second year in a row, we planted too late and don't expect it to get big enough to harvest. All of the bush beans are starting to take off, pole beans are climbing their trellis. Soybeans and cowpeas are growing slower but will love the sun and heat this week.
We've been working hard to keep the weeds down, hoping to stick with hand-tools during the growing. I'm out with the wheel hoe at least once a week keeping the paths manageable. The evenings have been idyllic out in the field and it is fabulous to be living at the farm this year so I can take advantage of short morning and evening tasks, when it is so peaceful out.
Our first work party is this saturday, June 25 from 3-6. Get ahold of us if you'd like to come. We will be sharing a home-cooked meal of beans and cornbread (what else?) at the end. Cheers!
Krista is a life-long resident of Whatcom County, Washington State. She has been gardening and farming in the area for over 15 years.