Having passed the Summer Solstice, our Local Foods Team has recently sat down and done some reflecting about the first half of our season. . In the whirl of the summer it can easy to be caught up in the work demanded by the garden, but I think it’s a good time to step back and think about our successes, our major milestones, and our challenges and opportunities for growth.
One of our bigger milestones was getting our high tunnel planted throughout with green peppers and tomatoes. We actually did with the local elementary schoolers back in late March. These have just started coming in and will be one of our major cash crops this year. Having a tunnel is nice since they like the summer heat, and conditions are easier to control.
Another major milestone was getting our second high tunnel filled with cucumbers. A lot of these will go to the summer camp at high rocks, but we’ve also been selling a good deal at market. Once our tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers started coming in, we started having record sales at the farmer’s market!
We’ve also revamped out compost system at the farm, making use of plant residue and horse manure from neighboring horse stables at High Rocks. Between layering with hay, a strict turning schedule, and gauging temperatures, we have been able to produce some high quality organic compost to work into our beds, increasing our soil and plant health.
But this season hasn’t been without its challenges. Some lackluster germination with some earlier crops, voles and deer snacking on our produce have caused some issues with our flow of food to camp, and a barrage of heavy downpours of rain followed by 90 +degree days have kept us very busy weeding. HOWEVER, I always tell myself despair is the enemy rather than any of these individual things. By being persistent and adaptable, we’ve been able to navigate the lows on our farm and make the best out of our highs.