July 13th, 2011Hello everyone,
It’s almost time for Ten Speed veggies! Thanks to some appropriately hot and dry weather, I should be able to send out a harvest list on Sunday night. What has taken so long? Excessive rain in June made planting impossible, and I’m just beginning to feel caught up with my seeding schedule. Phew!
Remember how I said that these farm emails would be much more interesting with cows around? I was not kidding. Around the third week of June, two dear friends of mine came to help me transplant all of the summer squash, winter squash, and melons. The field was finally dry enough. As the sun disappeared, I cleaned up all of the tools, swatted black flies, and felt satisfied that three people tackled this huge task in one afternoon.
And then, the rain returned. At first, I wasn’t concerned – these transplants could use a good watering-in. But after two days of showers, my landlord (and owner of the aforementioned cows) called and asked if I’d been up to the farm yet that day. No, I hadn’t – I was using the rainy day to get some office work done. “Well, you might want to come up here. The cows got out last night and they ended up in your squash field.”
Yikes. It turned out that the cows had been chased by some animal (a bear, we think) through THREE electric fences. I put on my tall rubber boots and full rain suit, and slipped my way out through the pasture, to where my squash were supposed to be. Most transplants were either invisible (having been stepped on by frantic thousand-pound animals), or were lying roots-up in the mud. Constant rain and running cows had cut rivers through the field. Floating row cover lay flattened on top of tiny cucumber and melon seedlings; hoops bent and row cover full of hoof-sized holes. I sank past my ankles in mud as I surveyed the scene and tried to come up with a plan. I sighed, got down on my knees, and dug through piles of mud and fresh manure to find squash seedlings and put them back where they belonged, roots-down. Some had been pushed too deeply underground or were now too far away from where they should have been. I couldn’t find them. I finished re-transplanting the plants I could find, wiped my hands on wet grass, and shed my raingear in the barn. I wasn’t sure that any of those plants would survive.
However, save for the remnants of rain-rivers cut through the field, you might not know that the cows ever had anything to do with my squash field. Today, the plants look healthy, and are handily fighting off invasions of striped cucumber beetles.
Come see for yourself at the first-ever Ten Speed Farm OPEN FIELDS DAY! This Saturday, July 16, I invite you all to come out to the farm. I’ll give tours of the fields, and there will be a small project for those of you who want to get your hands dirty, but it’s not required. Come anytime between 10am and 3pm, see where your veggies are grown, and enjoy the view.
See you then! Your farmer, Rebecca