Another week in the books! The past two weeks have been our biggest ever and it's been exhausting. Just keeping up with harvesting around here is a ton of work. Well, it's not really the harvesting that takes all the time, it's the washing and packing. Most days we manage to get everything harvested in the first few hours of the day while it's cool, but from there it takes a few people the rest of the day to get everything washed and bagged.
In the time we don't spend doing that, we're starting to be able to get rid of some of the weedy messes that got away from us early in the season as we harvest. It's always nice to do that - its a good feeling to put them behind you and look forward to doing a better job the following year. That's one of those things about farming - the constant cycle of running into problems and devising solutions tends to keep you going; we know what we want to change after our bad carrot crop this year, so we're already looking forward to next season to make our changes with hopes of a better outcome. It's pretty crazy to think that we'll only get the chance to master growing a crop like tomatoes or garlic with somewhere around 30 tries over our farming career - it's pretty hard to master anything with only that many attempts, especially with all the variables that farming has involved.
Luckily for us, there are a lot more experienced farmers out there that have put a lot of time into creating valuable resources for us to help speed us up; from books and online courses to conferences and farm tours. It's hard to imagine where we'd be if we weren't able to build on all of the experiences that other farmers have had - we sure wouldn't have such good looking tomato plants this year, that's for sure! There are enough variables we can't control in farming that being able to eliminate some of our chances at making stupid mistakes sure helps!
Speaking of those variables we can't control, the lack of rain is sure pretty crazy again this year. You can tell on the ends of some of our rows that only get 1/2 dose of water how dry it's really getting and, well, let's just say we're glad we have irrigation - otherwise we'd be looking at last year all over and that was a challenge we'd rather not repeat. While most people think farmers will take any rain they can get, we'd disagree. The rains we've had lately are just enough to get the plants wet and cause disease; we're so far short on how much rain we'd really need to change things that the tiny bits of rain we're getting here and there aren't doing much to make any impact. While we have irrigation, nothing beats a solid rain. Even pumping 60 gallons a minute, it'll take us nearly 45 hours a week to get all the water we need on our fields, which aside from the challenges of scheduling around harvesting, field work and windy days racks up quite the electric bill to keep the pump going. For the next couple weeks, at least, it looks like we'll have to keep pumping water onto the fields and continue to appreciate our ability to do so.
We don't seem to be the only ones that appreciate our ability to pump water judging by the unreal number of frogs we've got on the farm this year; you can't go more than a few feet harvesting pretty much anything on the farm without encountering one. Greta's going to start a farm frog Friday post on Facebook to share all the weird places we're finding them, because, there's just that many of them! Hopefully they're at least doing their part and eating some bugs!
Well, it's time to finish making our plan for the week before it's off to the races for another six day sprint to the 1pm finish line on Saturday!
Have a good one!
-Brendan & Greta