From cold to blistering hot, little rain this spring meant we had lots of opportunity on the farm to plant. From the crack of dawn, the farm is awake with activity. Ducks, chickens and sheep are quickly let out, so we can set out to the fields and do our morning routine of rows.
In the field, the sun is breaking at the horizon in bursts of purple, pink and orange. Using our hand tools, we plant oats, corn, and peas on various patches of the farm that we began preparing in the fall with our tractors and tools.
The crab grass is our main challenge in the cool mornings—a grass so powerful that the more you beat on it, the more it spreads. Our challenge is set out before us: learn to work with the farm and soil, so that we can successfully grow healthy grains for our operation!
By 10 am, it starts getting hot out there. Some days, we have to retreat early. Wow, if it’s hot now, what will the summer look like? Throughout the day, we plan and coordinate our activities to coincide with shaded parts of the farm.
We have been transplanting willows, poplars and goji berries while checking how the winter treated our raspberries, kiwis and oaks. Rudy has been busy working into the hot afternoons, shaded by his large hat. Zucchini, squash, watermelons and pumpkins have run through his fingers. Saqib rolls up and down with compost and cardboard, laying out the squash patch when he isn’t planting eggplants, okra and hot peppers that Peter brought from the World Crops Program.
Rene works on the soap farm, observing which plants came back strong from the winter. Chives, oregano, sheep sorrel and strawberries have already graced our spring salads. Rhubarbs need continual picking to prevent bottling. The Good King Henry patch we are expanding is an early spinach-like treat, and other wild foods are also being encouraged to grow.
Antonio has been active in the market garden, seeding carrots, onions, spinach, chards and kale throughout. It’s a challenge this year without the lead from Damian, our master gardener, who is away on the St. Lucia farm.
As you can see, there’s lots of activity going on at Cavaleiro Farm. We haven’t even talked about the real workers—all the creatures that live in the soil and work with the plants to wake up from the winter.
It should be an exciting year ahead. Let’s see if our ecological methods and technologies for storing water can keep us growing, even if the climate doesn’t agree with us. If you want to be part of our growing, sign up for a Farmer Workday here and experience the thrill.