Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet your field!

I spent some time today spraying alone in the field. Right before I left for the field I went to grab my ipod, which was charging in my computer. I failed to notice, when I plugged my ipod into my computer, that my computer was, in fact, not on. So, my ipod had not charged. I enjoy listening to music and NPR in the field, so I was slightly miffed. But, the sun was setting, my mood was pleasant, and I was looking forward to alone time in the field.

Walking and spraying in silence in the field gave me some time to realize that our 10 acres have sections with distinctive personalities! So let me introduce you to your field...

Section D rows 44-23. These are the front rows closest to our farmhouse. They are the warm, wonderfully fitting sweater rows. We know them, we love them, and even though sometimes we didn't give them the attention we should have, they are so good to us in return. This was the first section planted, before the interns had moved in. We loved seeing everything sprout and waited excitedly for things to come up we recognized. I have a particular affection for this section, because it welcomed me into farming. This section revealed what bean sprouts look like. The bean plants in turn showed me how they flower and turn into seed pods. I got to see how bean plants produce-prolifically. Even when the bean plant is uprooted those bean pods amazingly continue to form and grow. I know everything in this section: beans, squash varieties, spinach, arugula, ruby lettuce, romaine, beets, and cilantro. Some of the lettuces have lived a life cycle and will tilled under. This section also gave me a crash course on insects-the good, the bad, and the disgusting. Section D rows 44-23 and I have been through a lot together. I hacked the spinach here before I knew how to cut it properly. It showed me that stinging nettle has a very literal name that should be heeded. All we've been through together and this section is still producing some beautiful produce.

Section D rows 22-1 Ah yes, the thinking section. Compared to his neighbor section, the aforementioned section, this section only started producing recently. Before it started producing I'd be in this section and look over at neighbor D, growing and producing like crazy, and think, "all right already, let's get growing." It wasn't planted much after the other rows in D and I started imagining reasons for its delayed growth. I'd picture the carrots and broccoli trying so hard to pop up out of the ground with their arms crossed and brows furrowed in concentration. Then I pictured them little academics calculating the perfect time to pop up. At least the carrots have completed their calculations-they've all popped through the ground at the same time! It is also important to note there is a mini-jungle in the thinking section. Four rows of corn. Corn, to me, is a section (jungle) within a section. It makes me nervous and I don't go in there. After the corn, there are some rows of fennel, calendula (edible flowers), and cucumbers. While I am much more comfortable in these rows now, for a long period of time this area repelled me a bit. Fennel and calendula? Yeah, do you know what those are? And cucumbers, well they just look weird growing-although they've grown on me, but you'll have to wait to section C row 22 to find out why...

Section C rows 44-23. The workhorse section. In this section there are 16 rows dedicated to tomatoes (8 rows of actual plantings, but they bush out and need a row spaced in between). This is as close to "mono-crop farming" as we come. These tomatoes, as all mono-crops appear to be to me, are like incredible workhorses. Just rows of tomatoes, coming up, moving up and out, going, spreading, continuing. All working in unison, getting it done. The tomatoes are followed by green onions. Here, I get the sensation of a high note in an orchestra. The tomatoes are trombones-deep, continuous; and the green onions are these whimsical green stalks shooting out of the ground-flutes hitting sharp high notes!

Sections C rows 22-1 The surprising section. The second part of the front half (the B and A section) are empty beds (ha, the land of opportunity!), so this section is then end of the front section. I rarely went down here until recently-all the work was in the other parts. But, now that I am spending more time here, I am surprised at how this stuff just crept up on us and grew! Just weeks ago I swear this section was half empty and now it has taken off, grown, and is producing! What a surprise! Also, in this section I discovered cucumbers creeping into the basil and climbing up the basil stalks! Now, before cucumbers were creepy with their spreading vines sprawling across dirt. But not in the basil! No, the cucumbers were just looking for friends. Seriously, it looked like the cucumbers were just leaning on the basil, spreading some love, draping an arm in friendship. Seeing this changed my cucumber world. Surprising.

Next week. We meet the back part of the field. dun, dun, dunnn....

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