Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rainy Days

" Rainy day, rain all day, Ain't no use gettin' uptight, just let it groove its own way. Let it drain your worries away yeah, lay back and groove on a rainy day hey, lay back and dream on a rainy day."

Ah, rain. A farmer's best friend and a most vexing foe. Too much rain and the fields can't be plowed or prepared for planting. The weight of the tractor would compact the soil, which is not a good thing. And weeding in wet ground is not a fun task. Yet rain is the lifeblood of both the newly planted and the established plants. Yes, Farmer David does have an irrigation system, but rain, a nice steady rain, is a beautiful thing. This type ofo rain allows the water to take its time to soak into the ground thus nurturing the root system of the plants. Too hard a rain can damage the plants and the water tends to not soak in as efficiently. Too little rain and everything gets too dry (duh!) and the need to continually monitor the irrigation system becomes an ongoing challenge. Ultimately the issue of whether or not it rains is an unmanageable and all the farmer can do is the best he/she can. So far this spring the rain ahs been both friend and foe. At times the rain has set back both planting and weeding. At times the rain has been nurturing. And unfortunately on days when it does rain Farmer David and his merry band of gypsies don't have the luxury of layin' back and groovin'. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow stops the oft challenged farmer from completing necessary tasks, indoors or out.

A coule of news articles for your interest. On March 21, 200r the NY Times had an article about sugar in our foods. The article compares and contrast the use of 'real' sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in the foods we eat. The promoters of each are pushing their respective arguments as to which is best/worst for the consumer. However, as Michael Pollan has conveyed (though not in this article, the less processed food you eat the better for your health it owuld be. To read the article go to the online NY Times and search for the article entitled "Sugar Is Back on Food Labels, This Time as a Selling Point", by Kim Severson.

A second article, in case you missed it, pertains to the new White House garden that the Obama's are having place on the grounds of the White House. The hope is that the garden will continue to be publicized as time goes by so that the value and importane of home gardens can be promoted. To read the article go to the NY Times online and search for the article entitled "Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House", by Marian Burros.

The issues pertaining to organic, local, sustainable food are many and varied. Each individual needs to be as informed as possible and make decisions that they believe to be in their best interests. Whether the debate is what constitutes local, organic food that is sustainable vs. food that is shipped in from hundreds, if not thousands of miles, become informed and make an educated decision about what you believe to be in your best interests.

Peace and healthy eating to all.

Rows of garlic. The straw is intended to assist in keeping weeds at bay. Garlic is planted in late fall and develops its 'root' over the course of the winter. In the spring the greens you see start to show themselves. Soon there will be garlic scapes, shoots that come out of the garlic that can be used just like garlic.

This is a picture of some lettuce that was planted in the 'long house', a green house where the plants are planted directly into the soil. This allows for early planting which allows Farmer David to have crops ready for the first markets.

These are beets that are also growing in the 'long house'. In addition to beets and lettuce, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and spinach are growing there.

This is one of the alpacas after its 'spring cleaning'. Shaving of their coat is an annual event. This year their fleece will be made into hats that will be given to those in need of assistance.

Various plants on the tables outside of the greenhouse. After germinating and developing, the plants are put on the outside table to toughen them up prior to planting them. This allows the plants to adapt to being in the ground.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. Last year Farmer David planted 50 varieties of tomatoes. This year there will be 40.

This gives some perspective of the table and plants outside of the green house.

Farmer David is trying a new type of row cover this year. The shiny effect is intended to help keep various bugs and pests away. The theory is that the reflective nature of this cover discourages bugs from coming too close to realize that a good meal is waiting for them.

Knowing how much to seed is a science and an art. Seeds do not germinate at a 100% of what is seeded. And once seeds germinate, not all plants survive. Thus you need to seed more than you need. With this in mind the farmer will often times end up with more plants than will go into the ground. This is the remains of some seedlings that were not needed. A moment of silence for those who did not make it into the ground.

First New Hope Market- Thursday June 4 (3PM-&PM). First Pennington Market- Saturday June 6 (9AM-1PM). First Lawrenceville Market- Sunday June 7 (9AM-1PM). First on site at Gravity Hill Market- Tuesday June 9 (1PM-7PM).

May the force be with you to enjoy healthy foods.

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