It is that time of year again, when the corn is mowed down, turned into the soil and in its place beets, carrots, turnips, raab, broccoli, the winter bounty is planted. It’s hard to believe with 100+ degree heat that in a few months, winter crops will bask in a cool breeze and we will be sick of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers… Growing vegetables has always seemed somewhat backwards to me. You rarely get to settle on a season and the crops on your farm, you are always looking forward, anticipating what you will want and need in the coming months. But without an eye for the future, we would be stuck in December without a head of broccoli and come spring, there would no spring onions.
We now have a mountain of compost sitting in the field, slowly but surely, we will load wheelbarrows full of dark brown goodness and spread it in our fields. The ground is hard and dry from the heat and lack of water. Our soil has a fair amount of clay, which makes it sticky in the winter and hard as rock in the summer. We use our shank to dig into the ground and break up the crusted top and hardpan. The rototiller fluffs the soil, for ease of planting and root growth. There is a rhythm to soil preparation that comes with repeating the same task bed after bed.
Although we are planting for the fall and early winter, the joy of living in the Sacramento Valley and particular in our distinct microclimate, is that come November, we will still have ripe tomatoes on the vine and peppers in the field.