There is hope for a good bean crop yet! Better late than never. In years past, we’ve loathed bean picking season. As we were out in the field this spring planting 1,000 row feet more than we’ve ever planted, our workers were joking about calling in sick on bean picking days for it is a laborious, back-breaking task. When the cold wet spring forced replanting, we knew the beans would be behind. Then the deer started jumping the fence and browsing at will we started to really wonder if we would have any at all. Now other farms have had beans for a couple weeks and we feel the pressure to put such a seemingly simple to grow item on your plates. Tiny beans are starting to appear among the pink and white blossoms. So if nothing else goes awry, we will see bean season finally begin in week eleven.
Despite being in our third season growing produce, we struggle to get large enough quantities to meet customer demand. Every year we grow more and every year we have more people want more. Growing organically places high demands on the soil. To properly prepare, we should rotate cover crops with specific goals in mind for each crop for at least three seasons before planting a single vegetable. The soil should be in peak condition with high levels of organic matter, good drainage and maximum nutrients for optimal plant health. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the cart in front of the horse as demand coerces expansion.
As we expand, we continue to chunk off sections of formerly worn out hay land and this in itself creates problems. This season we moved into a new three-acre area following only one season of winter rye. It isn’t optimal, but we understand what needs to be done to make it better and feel we are on the right path to grow more simply by improving conditions for next season. We are talking about this now, because this month is the last opportunity to plant a cover crop and get idle spaces ready for next season. The investments we make now will be paid back, but planning so far in advance is an intricate task.
Excited to be half way,