April 16, 2010

Progress, and the Long View of Farming

I'm always amazed at how quickly they grow up. In the last few weeks, we've gone from this:

to this:

We're having some problems with spotty germination (I know, sounds like a personal problem) but other than that, our little greenhouse in our *actual* house is working thus far.

Today, I moved a handful of these flats out to the real greenhouse, where we'll still have to use some additional heat, but we're nearing the day when all these little ones can be in the greenhouse without worry of frost. (Fingers crossed.)

We're T-minus six weeks from the first farmers' market, CSA delivery and hopefully, last frost. That means the seeding is in overdrive around here as we scramble to get everything started on time.

I have a love/hate relationship with the discipline that all of this necessitates. One the one hand, no one is here telling Jacob and I what to do. Our farm time is ours and that's one of the reasons we do this. (Both of us have always been keen on working for ourselves.) But, on the other hand, these little plants and the unforgiving schedule of a farm can end up being more of a heavy-handed boss than either of us have ever known.

I could take a break from planting, for instance, but that would mean one less harvest of lettuce or basil come June. We could skip that late night planting spinach, but then, it wouldn't get in before the snow and that would mean less spinach to harvest for that first CSA delivery in June.

As a modern society, we are so used to the immediate. For me personally, in my online work, every action has an immediate reaction. It's easy to get accustomed to that kind of immediate gratification or dissatisfaction.

But in farming, what you do right now does not have consequences tomorrow or next week. It has consequences three months from now. And, while that can be a somewhat difficult concept to grasp, it's a valuable exercise. It teaches us patience and perseverance, two qualities we don't take enough time anymore to foster.

So with that, I'll plant another flat of basil, that isn't likely to germinate for a few weeks and which I won't likely enjoy until the end of June. But I'll be dreaming of that pizza with every seed.

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