By Annie Main of Good Humus Produce
I went for a bicycle ride to Esparto on Sunday, Jeff and I had breakfast at Zach and Nicole’s house. I took my camera and stopped for some photos. I took one just down our road a bit from us looking at the hills, and a field of mustard that was planted for seed. It is quite in its glory of full bloom and the hills are starting to turn brown for the heat and lack of rain for the past few weeks. It is amazing how fast the hills will start to turn brown, probably because also there are cows up in them thar hills eating that grass down to its nubs. As I rode further away from the farm I passed a wheat field that is turning brown and ripe also. Our farm is to the right and you can see a line of dark trees nestled up against the hills that is the area where we are. It was a windy day, so riding with the north breeze to my back helped me sail along, and then Jeff gave me a lift home after breakfast.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and I have been working furiously to get my garden in shape for the Mother’s Day tour and visitors. It is looking good, maybe not as full, weed free and vibrant as last year when we were getting ready for Zach and Nicole’s wedding here at the farm. It is hard to believe that they got married one year ago already!
Now the roses are blooming, as are the garden iris which I have lots of in many colors. The sage is blooming too, the peonies are starting to explode-I so want more peonies in my garden. It is rewarding to sit out there in the evening and look at all of the colors, the birds are really hanging out too, lots of robins, and fun to watch them bathing while I have the sprinklers going. The insects are in droves at dusk too.
Spring has been compressed this year, with late rains and all. It was great to have the rains filling the reservoirs and snow packs in the Sierra, and our ground water ending the drought conditions. The consequences of the spring this year have two sides to them, good and bad. As we have said the apricots are non existent, but the insects, namely slugs and ground critters are prolific. We plant cover crops to increase soil life - an organic form of fertilizer so to speak. So in the spring Jeff is mowing down and disking under 6ft tall lush cover crop into the soil, well increased soil life it did, as now we are battling the slugs that were living in this lush wet rainy spring cover crop and are now in the baby lettuce, spinach, and even the squash and cucumbers as they are coming up, they are eating them almost before there are out of the ground. It has been a hard spring, there is arugula coming, radishes and new young lettuce too, but it is still slim pickings. A nerve racking time, I think Jeff and I are a bit edgy worrying about how it will all turn out, it will be slim without the apricots, but with a diverse farm many times when a crop is lost the others seem to know their performance is essential and they come through by out doing themselves. We sure hope.