Notes from Northeast: Vernal Equinox and Another Growing Season

  |  March 23, 2012

Each week we bring you notes from ex-Brooklynite Suko, now a farm educator in the Dutchess County town of Northeast. This week: some thoughts on the growing season. 

I never really loved winter until I started working at the farm. Now I love those first cool nights in October that signal, it’s calming down. The year is now divided into two seasons, the growing season that begins with spring, and the winter. I loved last spring, when it stayed cool and wet through most of May, and there was this false sense of having so much time before the season really turned on.

This spring, is a very different story. The daffodils are (almost) in bloom, the garlic is looking strong and can maybe have its winter mulch removed, I’ve already planted the peas, and am planning the potatoes and onions at least a week early ruining my scheduled garden workshop, Ya Down with OPP?

Testing my skills as a CSA-style farmer and foodie homesteader, the garden is expanding and diversifying yet again. Our laying hens are in full production, and I’m incubating to refresh the flock and raise meat birds. I’m considering rabbits, but as much as I’d like to make ear muffs for next winter, I don’t know if I can bring myself to kill bunnies.

Beginning my fifth season, I’m confident in how much I know, yet still aware of how much I need to learn. Turning over bed “M” to plant peas, I was awed by the crumbly texture of the healthy soil. My relationship to this little plot of land and where I live is unexpected. Undergrad years were interspersed among schools and subjects, and most jobs have ended after two years with an itch to move on to something new and different.

In the back of my head, there is always the possibility of moving back to the city. I’m sometimes homesick for the frenetic energy, friends a short bike ride away, and the seemingly endless people, places and things to do, but the crumbly soil and growing garden is teaching me the rewards of commitment, care and cultivation.

Read On, Reader...