May showers

Spring is always surprising.  Its patterns may or may not be predictable, its signposts may come early or late (or be nipped in the bud by a frosty blast), but its first flowers, leaves, birds, and garden greens never fail to charm and entice us out of our winter slumber.  So we head out to the fields, to till and to seed, to watch and to wait, and to worry about how little (March/April) or how much (May) rain may fall.  And then one day, as if by magic, the tiny plants we sent out to brave the elements in early April have transformed into lovely and luscious leaves of kale, collards, and spinach, heads of lettuce and pac choi, and mountains of mixed salad greens.  We are delighted to deliver (and show off here) our first boxes of the season almost two weeks ahead of schedule.  Strawberries and peas will be joining the mix soon, along with the first roots of the year (turnips, beets, radishes, carrots, green onions, and green garlic).

This month’s showers have been great for the growing and gathering of all this green goodness.  A sudden shot of summer can cause these beauties to bolt almost as soon as they’re ready for harvest.  Cloudy days let the harvest go on into mid-morning without risking wilted greens.  Of course, the mud created by the downpours of Derby and the following week–which has yet to dry out–is no fun to harvest in, and by turns frustrating or impossible to plant into and weed.  Our summer plantings of basil, parsley, okra, tomatoes, beans, corn, sweet potatoes, and flowers, with some luck, timely help, and persistence, have gotten out into the fields, where they await a bit of sunshine.  Also waiting for some sun are the peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, melons, and leeks in the hoophouse.  If the latest forecasts are accurate, they’ll have to wait a few more days at least.  The raised beds have been a big advantage in this waiting game, as they drain much more evenly than the flat fields, and allow us to plant sooner after a rain.  Hopefully, they’ll also allow plants easier access to water reserves when the rain stops and we’re complaining about the dust!

Weather worries aside, we’ve had a wonderful start to this season.  Working share members have been lending their hands for several weeks, allowing us to make much more progress in all spring tasks than we could have on our own.  We’re excited to officially begin the season and bring good food to good people.  Can’t wait to see you all!

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