Today marks our 17th week of boxes. Next week we will deliver our final ten boxes and that will be a wrap. It is just in time too, the cool nights and shortened days have majorly slowed things down, except for the weeds of course. We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel- today we harvested the last of the onions and carrots (there weren’t many), the cucumbers have withered away to nothing, and the tomatoes just aren’t ripening. Thank God we are breaking for winter.
On the bright side, we have finally succeeded in growing lettuce! Ironically, just in time for our final two weeks of boxes. And the tomatillos, they just keep on keeping on, despite the low temps. Our members received a huge paper bag full today, as promised.
We planted 400+ corn plants, and upon harvesting the corn (probably a bit too late I should add) found that green worms had eaten through every ear. We didn’t even have a single good ear to give away. (In hindsight I should not have let all those part ears go to waste.)
We have a mysterious cucumber plant that is putting out foul tasting cucumbers (irrigation problems on our part we presume?).
I had a chicken die from blunt head trauma today when their nesting box toppled over. I should have stabilized it better.
I already mentioned the lettuce, WE CAN’T SEEM TO GROW IT.
Cucumbers, it took us three failed attempts before we finally got seeds to germinate.
Apparently we gave people cabbage that was harboring ferocious black spiders.
Someone reported to my nursing manager that they had found a spider in the ER, and “it came out of THAT BOX!!”
A CSA member had to call the exterminator because of the arrival of a mysterious insect in their home. The culprit…our sunflowers (it turned out to be a harmless silk worm).
Farming is hard. As a vegetable farmer sometimes you can’t tell if your product is good; it’s not like flower farming where you look at a bouquet you made and declare it beautiful, or woodworking where you can admire your hand crafted dining room table. All you can see is the outer shell- you can’t taste test each and every item or inspect the inside for ripeness or worms. You are vulnerable to things completely out of your control: the weather, soil conditions, pests, and crop failures. And when people complain, or are disgruntled about their box it hurts, because this is your canvas.
But you don’t become a good farmer who produces delicious, quality food without trying to grow something for the first time. Even the best nurses will be part of a disposition once in their career. A great charge nurse isn’t born without a little “baptism by fire” and you don’t become an effective inner-city pastor without making some mistakes. And good character, it isn’t developed instantaneously. Winter always comes before the spring.
We are so relieved to be almost done. We will learn from our mistakes. The more we learn, the more we discover we don’t know. We will trust God, and keep on trying.