My whole life I’ve only planted in the same two places; mom’s place and the old farm. They are within a few miles of each other and behave exactly the same. Same soil, same air, same weather.. Everything. When I moved out here, it made sense to expect surprises and differences. The soil was tested so we knew what to expect there. The weather is quite a bit different, but there are many successful farms in this area so not a big problem. One thing I wasn’t sure how to handle was the slope of my pasture.
Flat fields are really ideal from the farmer’s perspective. You can till them up more easily, build things more easily and most important, you can irrigate them more easily. My place is sloped on the east and south sides so all the water flows to the bottom of the soaker hoses and trickles down the hill to the creek. All very beautiful, but not so good for the seeds at the top of the hill.
But this spring was always going to be for learning about and adapting to the idiosyncrasies of this lovely place. I didn’t take any regular clients so there wouldn’t be any pressure and just hoped to grow enough to break even on infrastructure costs.
Our unusually spectacular spring weather let us plant the seeds a couple of weeks ago. But this “Sadie vs. Gravity” problem combined with an unexpected morning frost last week and ravenous scrub jays eating all my seed made for some sleepless nights at the homestead. After some trial and error I set up a series of timers, relays, stakes and mounds in the field to capture every drop of water. Last night, while saying a quite prayer to the garden gods, I caught a glimpse of green peeking out from under one of the hoses. It was a pea plant! And not just peas… corn, sunflowers, zucchini, cucumbers, and everything else!! They are coming up and they are coming up STRONG.
We opened a bottle of champagne and toasted our good fortune. As long and the chickens and goats can keep their grubby little selves out of there, I think we might just get a bountiful crop in the first AFO season at our new place. Three cheers for good fortune!!