Thursday, May 6, was the first day of CSA work on Andrews Family Farm. To be honest, it was challenging to get motivated to show up in the cold, rainy 46 degree weather when images of sitting by a fire and reading author Bruce Lipton's book, Spontaneous Evolution, were starting to emerge. But I didn't have a fire going and I hadn't bought the book yet - so like a lot of other folks working at the farm, I put on two sweaters, a jacket, cap and boots and arrived ready to weed or whatever.
As I walked down the gravel road toward the fields I noticed what appeared to be two Stealth-like planes overhead and I wondered if I should duck and cover. I stared up at the sky to study the images and in short order realized the "planes" were two graceful herons in flight.
My first job was to wash off some green onions that had the heavenly fragrance of chives. I love washing veggies at the outdoor wash table, but on this afternoon the water felt pretty chilly. Rich Andrews, who co-owns the CSA with his wife, Elaine, said the onions had been planted last year and were just now harvested. Newly planted onions were starting to sprout in a nearby field.
As it started to rain even harder I was happy when Elaine asked me to help mix soil and then plant seeds in the hoop house.
A few of us mixed together a huge amount of soil, compost and water over a plastic tarp. We then churned the mixture before scooping it into trays with many small pockets (cells) for growing seedlings. We were assigned to plant a variety of snow, snap and shell peas.
We first mixed the pea seeds in a watery mixture called inoculant, which is a beneficial microbe to help the seeds grow. Next, we used a chopstick to form small indentations in the pockets of soil to drop in the pea seeds, which were then neatly covered with more soil.
This took quite a while as we worked at a table, and the whole process reminded me of baking. Plus, the sounds of the rain gently drumming on the hoop house were peaceful. I was reminded of a favorite song of mine, “Ordinary Miracle,” from the movie, Charlotte’s Web.
Once the trays were ready I misted them with an innovative watering contraption that provided a tank with an attached hose. The thing reminded me of a vacuum cleaner in reverse that sprayed water instead of consuming dust, and worked great.
It will be fun to see the peas sprout in the weeks ahead.