When you go out to dinner and don’t want to take the kids, you get a babysitter. When you have to leave the farm for a week right in the middle of peak season, you need a Farmsitter. We just got back from two weddings in the midwest, so that is just what we did.
Going away right now is stressful- Emily had nightmare visions of returning to large patches of dead and brown. To better our chances of success, we did a lot of prep work before we left: moving the mini-greenhouse out to the property, buying extra sprinklers and hose to connect to a valve system to simplify watering, putting row covers on all the frost-sensitive crops. All this work, combined with picking the right Farmsitter, paid off. Our garden looks great! Everything has doubled in size, and all we have to do is catch back up with the weeding.
Not everything went perfectly, though. A day or two before we got back, a rodent of unusual size (ROUS?) burrowed into the mini-greenhouse, and selectively mowed down some of our seedlings, leaving little to no survivors. All looks OK in the picture at first glance, until you notice that the yellow crookneck squash, Marketmore cucumbers, and Butternut squash are entirely gone. All. We are extremely sad about it; at this point in the season, it’s too late to redo the slow-growing Butternuts, making this season the second “fail” in a row for them. At least the popcorn was untouched (popcorn has failed for us every season so far, for a different reason every time. It’s kindof like Kenny from South Park). The cucumbers will get reseeded, but we will have none to sell for the first month of market at least. Pretty much the same story for the crooknecks, too, and one of our restaurant clients was especially interested in buying those. Ugh.
That aside, things are proceeding apace. Our certified-for-trade scale is on order, as is the paperwork from the state to operate it. Other knicknacks for the market are coming together as well, such as the canopy to cover our stall and nifty Peace Crops stickers to cover our belongings, bumpers, and friends. And the produce is keeping pace: the strawberries are starting to form, so I need to go out and get some bird netting to cover them.