Sunday, January 3, 2010
We've about seen it all weather-wise in 09. Drought, late freeze, record early high temperatures, record rainfalls, strong winds. Organic farming in North Texas last year was challenging, to say the least. I daresay, farming in general up here was a bit challenging. I heard story after story about failed crops, lack of product, wet and flooded fields, etc.
After a late Easter and the usual late hard freeze that often accompanies it, tomatoes and other warm season crops' planting dates were pushed way back due the wet and cool evenings. Some sketchy spring storms blew in and with them, down went our wind turbine! All but 5 days in June saw temps climb into the upper 90's, heating up the soil, where we were trying to get seeds to germinate, in excess of 120 degrees F! Drought persisted all summer until the fall. Then, the rains came and never left. Nearly 30 inches of rain in as many days and all of that rain without any sunshine for a month ruined the hopes of a bountiful fall harvest and most of the 800 sweet potato slips we had planted in the early summer were hostage to the flooded rows and rotted.
A wind burst took down our turbine. Eden's irrigation system is now on its 3rd updated regulator and gets more sophisticated each time. Soon, it will be viewable on line.
We are, however, looking forward to a productive winter crop. Winter greens, broccoli, cabbage and other cool season fare, are in the ground and slowly growing and so far, the weather seems fairly normal for winter. Soon it will be time to put in Irish potatoes and onions and get the seeds for warm season plants going in the greenhouse, where the make-up fall crops such as beets, more spinach and artichokes are trying to get started.
The only thing constant in farming is the changing weather.
The farm is growing in other ways, too. Besides new baby chicks hatching, now that the rooster ban in town was defeated, we have 2 students
Flooded rows were a common scene in 09
living nearby that are helping out frequently around the farm and an apprentice who aims to become a future co-farmer at Eden's some day soon. The gardens themselves have
been expanded and we now plant for 40 CSA families in hopes of attracting that many to our group, with plans to increase it further in the future once we have secured more labor.
Eden's has shared farm activities with local college students from one of our CSA members' AI Texas classes, home schooled kids, many other farmers and those just wanting to reconnect with their food.
Eden's hosted the DFW premiere screening of FRESH!, a food documentary and the 2nd Annual Barn Aid Concert and Dinner at Eden where over 90 people from around DFW gathered to celebrate local food and hear author Pamela Walker talk about local Texas farmers & her book. It was a great time! This blog, facebook and twitter pages are gaining popularity from folks nationally, as small farming and growing at home gains popularity among people everywhere striving to feed themselves and their families better, safer food.
The farm goes “on the road” in 2010 as Eden's sponsors a farm day at the Balch Springs library/learning center in March. Teaching others how to look at their food differently and to grow it, too, is one of the missions at Eden's Garden. Come grow with us!
Eat Your Food - Naturally!