|Morning light in winter|
We had been asked that January to coordinate a CSA Workshop at the Great Plains Vegetable Growers Conference in St. Joe. We immediately contacted Liz Henderson from Peacework Organic Farm to join us on the panel. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to show her our progress since those days in 2001 at her farm.
|Rebecca and Elizabeth Henderson in January|
|Board at The Land Institute explaining some of their work|
|Lorne assembling new motor parts, old G gas engine at top of photo|
|Rocky and his brother Bandit|
2007 volunteer apprentice Jen Baughman joined us for the year. Her sweet spirit and positivity kept us smiling during a difficult year.
|Jen and Rebecca potting up fall crops|
The fields in 2008 were drenched on numerous occasions. The potatoes were a total loss, as the trenches we cut to plant them in filled like irrigation ditches in April. The tomatoes did OK, but were diseased and dying by Labor Day. In September another gullywasher set back the Fall plantings.
|Attempting to bail out the potato beds in mid-April|
|Effect of 3 inch rain in September|
|Typical 2008 harvest morning with CSA troopers|
On the bright side, the strawberries loved the rain, as did the beans, greens, carrots, garlic, lettuce, sweet potatoes and cover crops. We harvested 587 quarts of strawberries that year. The Honeoye variety was a good choice...easy to pick, juicy, flavorful, not too sweet, and red all the way through.
|Our first harvest off the new patch|
|Fresh Tropea onions|
|Just dug carrots|
|Weeding crew at the strawberries|
|A colorful share|
|Our new solar panels and irrigation pump|
The wetness of the year gave pause, as we realized that our farming methods were vulnerable to excess rain. Problems could occur with only 2 to 3 inches of precipitation, something we knew to expect in the future. So we worked on several strategies to address excess moisture.
|Jen mulching with hay over a buckwheat cover crop|
Step 3: Use the electric G to gutter our beds, keeping the crops raised and reducing the chance of flooding out the plant.
Step 4: Continue with our cover cropping and biological farming methods. It is a proven fact that organically-farmed soils handle water better in wet conditions, and provide drought tolerance during dry times.
|Rocky enjoying a nice stand of buckwheat|
|Stripped down and ready to go|