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May on the Farm
May always seems like the busiest time of year on our farm. January is relaxing and exciting as seed packets start to arrive. February is nice because the greenhouses are up and running and onions have been seeded. Time in March is spent working on equipment and connecting with old/new/prospective members. April the weather finally starts to turn and you might be able to get into the fields to start planting. But in May, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Fields need to be worked, plants need to get transplanted, and seeds need to be seeded both in the greenhouse and directly in the newly tilled earth. Irrigation systems are installed and checked for leaks. Some piece of equipment that you repaired in March is either broken, or not working optimally so time is spent fixing it. Daily, and sometimes hourly, watering in the greenhouses is still required. Pest scouting, setting out traps, covering plants with row covers, and/or releasing beneficial insects all are tasks that need to get done to make sure the plants you have grown for the last month and half indoors survive the transition to the outdoors. And to top all of this off is the nightly threat of frost that might come and kill off all of your strawberry blossoms if you aren’t awake at 2am to turn on the sprinklers or light the smudge pots. It is not a month for the faint of heart.
But May is also one of the most rewarding months of the year. You see the ground go from bare to productive, sometimes in an afternoon when transplanting. You see all of your plans created over the long winter start to take shape. You have your final list of members that you will be feeding and interacting with for the season set and that sense of community that you have created through growing produce fills you with pride. By the end of the month pants and sweaters are long gone and last year’s farmer tan has made a come back despite the gallons of sunscreen and giant floppy hats used to shade your skin.
It is a month full of promise of what is to come, and that future is full of tasty vegetables.