I started taking photos for this post 10 days ago...and then farming and life kept me from sharing them...so before these photos are out of date, here is what is growing in mid April...now that we have fully entered Autumn!
We have been running our CSA for 21 weeks now...21 weeks of providing local families with boxes filled with seasonal produce grown here-by us. The boxes have ranged from 10-20 items over these 21 weeks and in addition to vegetables, we have been able to include seasonal fruit - our first nectarines from three and four year old trees, cantaloupe, honey dew and watermelons grown from seed.
I feel like everything we are doing as farmers is an experiment...from trialling different varieties of crops, growing crops we have never grown before, trialling intensive market garden techniques, pushing seasonal boundaries with early and late season plantings, growing a variety of cover crops...the list could go on. Peter and I are not 'third generation market gardeners' and while we are trying to not re-invent the wheel, we have been told by many growers, "Farming is trial and error." And so we are not maximising the number of "boxes" we produce and instead building the soil and using the space to trial crops and growing techniques in order to fine tune sustainable, seasonal growing.
Our CSA has five more weeks of the Autumn Share. Both the Summer and the Autumn shares have given us so much to learn and many opportunities for growing as growers. We have taken lots of notes and have already begun the planning and planting for next season. Peter and I are enjoying the wind down of Autumn. We will not have a Winter share this year, taking the time to build the farm. The garlic, broad beans and overwintered cauliflower are already planted - ready for Spring harvest. And the spring planting will begin in the greenhouse in July. This winter will be spent constructing moveable polytunnels, and hopefully building some mobile egg laying houses so that we incorporate chickens into our farm rotation.
And the Winter will also include some rest. Working with nature, working in nature, is wonderful and it is also constant. We always hear about dairy farmers and their milking routines. We rarely hear about the broccoli that would not wait to be harvested, the weeds that are choking plants, the right moon for applying seaweed sprays... And yet, that is the case with growing vegetables biodynamically - crops are ready when they are ready and the moon keeps changing...even if you have other plans, other tasks, sick children. Winter offers time...growth slows down. So in addition to working on the infrastructure of the farm, we are looking forward to a bit of rest.
As we move into May, we still have new crops coming on that we have not yet put into a box...the variety that we are able to grow and provide is truly amazing. We feel so grateful to the soil, the rain, the sun and the seed - and to our CSA members for supporting us!