By Jessica Ballard
We all know the saying: if you don’t like the weather in Kentucky, stick around for five minutes. This couldn’t be any truer this week.
On Sunday, I was up in the gorge with my daughter and her friend. We were wearing shorts and t-shirts and enjoying the warmth of the sun. We marveled at the blooming flowers and foliage and this blessing of the emerging spring.
Two days later, a 25 degree chilling frost put a lot of the early spring work we’d accomplished on the farm at risk. We were most concerned about our early flowers and season-extended crops. Several of us were out in the fields until dusk with plastic and floating row cover trying to get things covered.
Fortunately, the temperatures didn’t dip as low as predicted. The next morning things were looking pretty good. We lost some of our zinnias in one of the hoop houses, but just about everything else had survived. So it seemed at first. As the day went on, the crops I was least worried about — our peas and cold crops like our cabbage and spring onions — were showing signs of frost damage. I haven’t lost peas to a chilling frost before, but this week we lost a lot. It’s been tough to lose so much because we don’t do much tilling. The work had been accomplished with hand mulching. So many hours of work.
Once again, nature is teaching me. There’s a time when you have to let it go and be what it is. I’m trying to find the positives. So, now begins the reconfiguring and redesigning and replanning.
Definitely humbling in such a different way.
We are lucky so much did survive, and in a few months the harvest will taste all the better. Times like this week remind me why I’m grateful for my job as a farmer and agricultural educator. It allows me to be humble and grateful and present. And surrender to the things I can’t control while having gratitude for those things I can control. It’s beautiful to witness what is able to emerge and what needs to remain dormant. Sometimes growth just can’t happen if the season isn’t right.
We humans can really connect with this idea, too. It’s a powerful reminder that the right time for emergence and growth will present itself eventually.
I’m sending well wishes to my fellow growers and local eaters who have similar sentiments. Keep on keeping on! Because what would we do if we weren’t farming and growing food? These experiences make us better, and I’m grateful for that.