Sometimes the difference between us having an item in your boxes at a certain time of year comes down to a single day. Today is one of those days.
Planting vegetables in the winter is often a frustrating process. Heavy dew or frost every morning means that it is rarely dry enough to work the soil before 11 a.m. — and that’s only we get the right combination of sun and wind. Since it started raining this winter, that hadn’t happened. We’ve gotten small amounts of rain every two or three days, and in between it’s been foggy or cloudy with no wind.
It rained Monday night, but before it rained it was very, very windy. So despite the soil being damp yesterday morning, it dried very quickly and we had a few hours in the afternoon to prepare a couple of fields for planting. Right now as I write this there is frost on the ground, and when it melts, the soil will be wet — probably until noon.
Once it dries, we will have just a handful of hours to try to plant some spinach, lettuce and peas that will help us fill your CSA boxes in early spring. We’ll also plant some onions that have been waiting in the greenhouse. While we’re working, the next storm will be building on the hills to the west of our fields, reminding us that today will likely be our only chance to get those things planted this month. It will be raining tomorrow and again next week.
If it’s two weeks until we can plant again, the crops will mature two weeks later. But it could be three weeks, or four. February is often our wettest month, and there have been years when we have not been able to plant anything at all in the 2nd month.
The plantings we do today will not be the prettiest to look at nor the highest yielding. The damp soil will stick to the machinery, clogging it up and requiring frequent unclogging. The farm roads around the edges of our fields are a rutted mess from harvesting in the rain the last two months. In an ideal situation, we would have had two more days of dry weather to get it all done. But this is winter CSA farming.
So it’ll be a busy, frustrating and stressful day here at Terra Firma. But tomorrow, we’ll be able to rest while it rains, before we start waiting for it to dry out again.