Last week we removed many of the tarps covering the fields. This week we removed most of the row cover. It was like watching the farm undergo an instant metamorphosis—from a drab patchwork of black and white into a brilliant, colorful tapestry. A welcome visual for winter-weary eyes.
Moving the tarps and row cover is never easy, but it’s been especially challenging this spring because of the wind. On a calm day, the job can be as easy as folding up a beach blanket. On a windy day, it’s like wrestling a rabid alligator. There was one hilarious moment when the row cover billowed into a 14’ foot sail and sent Judy, who would not let go, literally flying. An onion or two may have been trampled in her landing, but ultimately the crew gained control and secured the row cover into place. The secret to our success is 10’ pieces of rebar, spaced 1’ apart along the edges of the row cover. We used to use rocks and piles of dirt, but an upstate farmer shared the rebar tip while visiting our farm several years ago. Rebar isn’t heavy, so you can carry several pieces at once, but it creates a firm seal against the wind. It used to be a given that we’d lose row cover to very high winds, but since switching over to rebar, we haven’t lost a single piece…once it’s firmly in place, that is.
With the summer solstice less than a month away, the fieldwork intensity is mounting. The second planting of kale, which supplements the first planting partially devoured by maggots, is in the ground. So is a second seeding of carrots (the first one had poor germination, so we tilled it under). Plants that seemed stalled for lack of warmth have finally taken off, just in time for the steady rains to stop. This wouldn’t be so bad if we weren’t transition