It's been a busy week here, and too hot to plant almost anything, for danger of it frying on contact with the soil! My knees felt like they were burning just kneeing down to weed the carrots! Thankfully earlier in the week Matt and I filled the high tunnel with over 100 tomato plants. They aren't minding the heat, are being water regularly and are growing fast! Everything needed lots of water to get through the week, I felt like I was constantly keeping something from wilting too much at all times. I am so grateful to have the Ossipee river to irrigate out of to keep things going out in the field. Not everything made it through the official drought we have been it, but so far most things are setting down some deep roots and we are all doing are best to make it through to the rain expected soon! This past week certainly makes me reflect on the ongoing California drought and the fragility of our food system. I am so happy to be a part of a community that sees the value in local food.
I spent this past Memorial Day weekend as I have for the past 3 years, helping out at the annual Stout Oak Farm Organic Plant Sale! This event always feels like the turning point in the spring. All these beautiful plants will go home to people's gardens and the beginning of the main growing season has begun! Things here at Mountain Heartbeet are about a week behind their southern friends, but all the little plants are growing nicely and I feel like the race is on. There is a lot more in the ground now then there was a week ago! Kale, cabbage, broccoli, chard etc... mostly living beneath row covers to protect them from any last minute cold weather (which we got this week - 32 degrees Friday night!) and from any insect pests that might like to nibble their tender leaves.
I was able attend and provide, sample and sell some greens for the Annual Slow Food Southern Carroll County Spring Diner. This was a really fun event at Camp Belknap that supported two great local food campaigns. The "Double Coupon for SNAP benefits" program, which is both a nationally and locally funded campaign that doubles your SNAP (formerly food stamps) dollars when you use them to buy local produce at the farmers market. There was a great NPR story about it last fall which you can read about HERE. And "End 68 Hours of Hunger" which "is a private not-for-profit effort to confront the approximately 68 hours of hunger that some school children experience between the free lunch the receive in school Friday afternoon and the free breakfast they receive in school Monday morning". We have a local chapter with drop off locations for the Ossipee, Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro area. You can read more about it HERE. There are so many was to get involved!
All of the sudden everything feels ready! I think I have just hit the tipping point from spending lots of time preparing and starting seeds to full on farming! There are fields to prep, garden beds to organize, seeds to sow , weeding to be done, greens to harvest, lots of things to transplant, irrigation to move around and use, and a million things to do! Everywhere I look there is something to be done and it can be hard to stay focused on one thing at a time when it all feels important! I find myself walking across the garden to get something and suddenly I am weeding a bed for 30 minutes! A whole day can pass doing hundreds of tiny things that are all important but perhaps not exactly what you thought you were going to do! Being used to leading and working with a crew, it has been a shift in thinking about what just one person can do in a day. I love the satisfaction of farming and getting to see the fruits of my labor growing and thriving everyday! The 3 varieties of peas are up, the first rounds of lettuce, cabbage, and tatsoi are in!
The ebb and flow of clouds, rain, sun, hot, dry, humid and every combination thereof always makes a farmer wish for what we don't have! When it's hot it often feels too hot, and when it rains it seems to go on forever. Seed packets will often describe the proper planting time as when the weather has "settled" - here in New Hampshire I often ask myself if that ever even happens! Fortunately the weather patterns have given us just enough rain to make the earth damp enough to turn it over without turning it into a complete dust bowl. I am learning to drive Bill's tractor and starting to " get 'er done"! The main garden right out front is all turned over and some parts are ready for planting. We decided to till in the grass pathways and expand the garden towards to road into what was a garden previously for Eve's parents. The parts that have been in grass for a while will need to be turned again to help break down the sod and incorporate all that organic matter into the soil.
We had a lovely open house and potluck here on Sunday, which just so happened to be perfectly timed with the most fragrant and gorgeous blooming of the Magnolia tree. CSA members came out with the most abundant, beautiful and delicious food! It was a great opportunity to show folks the new CSA space, enjoy our common love of food and to see all of the baby animals - lambs, piglets and chicks bouncing around and putting on a good show. It's very easy to get sucked into baby animal TV here. I am just as delighted to watch all the plants growing in the garden as and in the yard and in the woods! The Magnolia tree was in full bloom as well as countless daffodils. The transplants are starting to put on true leaves and some are ready to put in the ground! I am always amazed at what a day off the farm does to your ability to see all the growing that's been done while you were away.