April is always a busy month across the farm fields of California, and Terra Firma is no exception. It marks the real start of planting season for the summer crops that will fill up our CSA boxes in July, August and September: Green Beans, Corn, Zucchini, Melons and Watermelons, Peppers and of course Tomatoes.
But April is not always a busy harvest month here. After a very wet winter, April can be a time when it’s hard for us to find enough stuff to fill up your boxes — 2019 was a recent example; 2017 another. When rain is frequent and sunshine is limited, it can be impossible for us to get into our fields to plant anything at all in January, February, March and sometimes even early April. Spring of 2021 is about as different from 2019 as two years can be. Where three years ago today we were experiencing one of the wetter years on record in California history, this year we are in drought after the second extremely dry winter in a row.
This year we had no interruptions in our ability to plant crops through the winter. That’s only happened once before, in 2014-2015. Thus we are looking at an April Abundance that really only happens once a decade or less. (I should footnote this statement by saying that no matter what the weather is doing, their are still significant seasonal limitations involved with planting in mid-Winter). Asparagus has kicked into gear, and our Pea Patch has begun producing in earnest. The Strawberry field is a little late compared to last year, but harvest will begin in a week or two. And addition to the Spinach and Lettuce that we’ve been harvesting in abundance from January plantings, we’ve got Arugula and Kale that are almost ready. Cilantro is in the boxes today.
With no rain to slow us down, we were also able to plant all our Potatoes early this year and they are growing quickly. We expect to start harvest in late May. Our first Tomatoes went in the ground right on time, and we were able to transplant Zucchini last week. Our first Sweet Corn and Green Beans are also coming up.
Rain and wet weather are also the primary nemesis of both our summer tree fruit crops and our alliums. We have a heavy crop of Peaches sizing up on the trees, and beautiful fields of both Onions and Garlic.
For farmers, the start of a drought can seem like a party with an open bar. We know there will eventually be consequences if the party keeps going for too long. We’ll wake up in a place we don’t recognize, and our credit card will be maxed out. But for now, we can at least enjoy the party and hope really hard that it rains next year. It will be a good year to be a Terra Firma subscriber.