The News from Windflower Farm
Hello from Windflower Farm. Last Tuesday’s tropical storm, Isaias, dropped just over three inches of rain here, replenishing both of our ponds in dramatic fashion (see our Instagram page) and giving our farm it’s very first all-day rain of the season. I know that in New York you were battling high winds and heavy rains on that day, and I stayed in close touch with our delivery team to hear how things were playing out, but I also had the first deep rest in a long while that afternoon, knowing the good that a much reduced Isaias was delivering to our little farm. We are irrigating now from a pond that was bone dry just a week ago.
What’s in your share?
- Swiss chard
- Toscano kale
- Cucumbers on Tuesday, squashes on Thursday
- Sweet corn
Your fruit share will be peaches from Yonder Farm
What’s new on the farm?
Bill McKibbon wrote recently that, at current levels, warming is happening at a rate that can be likened to moving south 12 miles every year. As a farmer, I imagine ten years of this, and then twenty. I’ll be farming in a lower Hudson Valley climate soon, and then in South Jersey’s. The corn, tomato and squash season will be four weeks longer, and then eight. We’ll be growing peaches and red, seedless table grapes. And then I think of the heat. Already Jan threatens to leave here, searching for a more hospitable climate – coastal Newfoundland, perhaps, or Reykjavik, which she hears is nice. And I think of the concern a fruit grower shared with me: warm early springs, which result in early blooms, coupled with occasional spring freezes that threaten an early crop, actually make peach and plum crops far less reliable as the world warms. And I think of the flooding along the coasts and the dislocation of millions of people.
When we work the soil, CO2 is released, making organic farmers complicit in the largest contribution farmers as a whole make to greenhouse gas emissions. Planting kale or lettuce or carrots requires a nearly perfect bed, which requires tillage. But when we plant a sod, sow cover crops or replant woodlands, we can, on the other hand, sequester carbon. Minimizing carbon-burning tillage and maximizing steps that help sequester carbon are two of the most promising steps we can take toward slowing the warming of our planet, and at Windflower Farm there is much more we can do along these lines.
Some scientists believe that agriculture can be made carbon-neutral with perennial crops, reduced tillage, management-intensive grazing and agroforestry, among other things. We’ll be a while in achieving this, but I am heartened when I attend conferences and see so many young farmers attending sessions on reducing tillage and soil health. The tool I’m saving for is a roller/crimper. It rolls a cover crop down, turning it into a weed-suppressive mulch, into which we can transplant all kinds of vegetable crops without any kind of tillage at all. Next year, I hope to be able to report that your sweet corn and broccoli and ‘Delicata’ squash were grown using reduced tillage practices.
Best wishes, Ted