We plant our tomatoes just after May 15th, which is the last frost date in our area. This is an important date to remember. Last year we had a frost on May 14th, so it is always risky planting sensitive crops before then. Somehow this year we started harvesting tomatoes out in our field three weeks earlier then we normally do. The weather has been even and favorable, we planted at the right time, and nurtured our plants and in return they give us fruit. A lot of attention goes toward our tomatoes so sometimes we lose crops to weeds such as sweet potatoes, flowers, and carrots. Plants want to live so there is still a chance we can recover, however we always find comfort in the chaos.
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.