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Monday, July 23, 2012

Walking the Fields

a cabbage grows at powisset!

Walking the Fields  

The other day one of our Powisset Farm apprentices asked me if I ever get tired of looking at the vegetable fields.  I replied an easy, no.  Farming is so much about observing.  Walking the rows, many times a day, watching the flea beetles eat the leaves of the eggplants, watching the carrots exponentially grow in size after we thin them, seeing the vetch sprout under the giant winter squash plants—that is my job.  The crops, the insects, the growth, the loss is all a part of what I see when I look out over our eleven acres.

My mother and I were walking the fields last week and she was describing a disease in the beets in her garden.  She pointed to a beet in a row filled with 1200 beets in it (one of 8 out in the fields right now) and asked me if I paid attention to each individual beet, like she did for the ones in her garden. I looked at the single beet and back to my mom and laughed a little at the way we both fret over our crops.  Still laughing, I answered, ‘no,’ I suppose I don’t watch that beet in the same way that gardeners can watch over their 12 beets, as opposed to 1200.  But, later, as I walked the fields for the third time that day—and noticed the changes in the onions from the previous day—It registered how much I do see each beet, leaf, spot, wonderment.  Multiply that by the four other crew members at Powisset who care as much as I do about these fields, and there is little that we miss.
walkin the fileds!

I’m sure there is endless poetry about walking rows of crops, and seeing beauty in the details of this farming life.  I love all of those details.  But as I walk, the poetry that comes to me is the endless list of tasks, and the dance of how to get it all done.  As we harvest, weed, plant and continue to observe—this is the poetry for me—a freshly weeded field, a thriving row of carrots, a fully checked-off to do list.

Today I walked the fields to make the list of crops for our harvest this week. Jess was leading the summer crew, weeding in our winter squash, making it possible for our fall crops to thrive.  The vines were creeping into each other, the soil was moist from an early morning rain, the black seeds of vetch looked like mustard seeds dotting the field.  Tasks were moving around in my head like a puzzle—finding the best fit for the week.  This job is fascinating, all the things to see and do.  Come join me for a field walk sometime.

See you in the fields,

Meryl (on behalf of the Powisset Crew)

red mustard--almost ready!

What’s in the share this week:

In the barn: bunching onions, carrots, beets, cukes, squash, basil, choice of greens: (tatsoi, bulls blood, cabbage), maybe eggplant/tomato combo—get ready!!

In the field: beans, chard


  1. You have a wonderful way with your words. I know the experience only from a home garden but can say that I love the feeling just as well. It's the closest I get to creation that I can. Thanks for all you do.