I stumbled upon this picture as I was thinking about capturing the moment I am in right now. This picture embodies what an ideal farm would look like…healthy plants, straight rows, cultivated at the right time with cover crop in the background. The picture is from last month, when the weather was nice and mild, allowing us to cultivate every week. This past week has been just the opposite. Our crops are very bountiful and we struggle to harvest everything we can while staying on top of the weeds and thinking about planting for the fall. This is peak season for a farmer. After a couple months taking care of our tomato plants they are starting to yield nicely. We just harvested all of our garlic before a big rain storm which is extremely important because otherwise it would rot in the field from the soaking conditions. Being a farmer means you are on the weathers schedule, not your own. I could use a day off, however this lifestyle is so fulfilling I would not have it any other way.
Cover crops are an important element to our farms soil health. We planted a mix of triticale rye, hairy vetch, and Austrian winter snow peas to fix nitrogen, suppress weeds, and add organic matter to our fields. We seeded this in the fall. When the soil starts waking up in the spring the cover crop takes off and the peas climb the rye while the vetch fills out the ground layer. It is truly a wonderful site when it gets about waist high. We then flail mow it and spade it into the earth to prepare the fields for our next planting.
We planted french breakfast, white icicle, shunkyo, and easter egg radish along with hakurei turnips and lettuce mix in our high tunnel in March. Radishes grow quickly and will be able to be harvested in time to make room for our grafted tomatoes, ginger, and flowers that will be planted soon. Yesterday morning we harvested for the first time this year, picking beautiful radishes, vibrant in color, out of the damp soil. They will end up in restaurants and at the West Windsor Community Farmers Market this May.