March 6, 2017

Spring Priorities


The rain has been a blessing, but there comes a time that every farmer, including this one, is done with the rain and ready to start farming. There has been about a ten-day break in the storms rolling over the farm and that has been just enough time to being to get the tractors out the equipment yard and into the field.

The timing of this window could not be more critical. Only a day ago were the fields dry enough to begin working, and tomorrow another three to four-day storm is supposed to show up. So, we have two days to get some farming done and that is what is going on. Everyone on the farm who is able to safely and correctly operating tractors is driving one, yet there are still tractors in the yard that we all wish could be put to work.

Here are our priorities. Tomatoes are due from the green house in ten days. Their field has grown a fair amount of weeds over the winter so we cultivated that whole field. If we had the time to inject the drip tape in now we would, but we figure we will have a chance to do that in the next ten days. Our first set of spring vegetable transplants (lettuce, kales, chards) are in the greenhouse and ready to go, so we have three tractors in this field; the first is taking the old beds of last fall’s vegetables and incorporating them into clean new beds; the second tractor has a transplanter with a small crew on it who are tucking the plants from the greenhouse into their new home, and the third tractor has a trailer filled with sprinkler pipe that is getting put down to irrigate the little plants (the rain just isn’t that reliable this time of year).

In the distance beyond this bustle, other tractors are mowing fields of cover crops that were planted in open fields and between the tree lines of our citrus, fig and apricot orchards. Another tractor is disking in said cover crops, trying to get prepared ground ahead of its demand.

That is just what we are doing, meanwhile, nature is working its millions of little miracles all over the place. Trees have flowers. Plants are growing. Birds and bees are bustling, and the local flock of wild turkeys is becoming more pompous than ever.