It's hard to believe that the snow will be flying soon, and the season is coming to a close.
We've put the garlic in and the garden to bed. Trying our best to keep the planning for next year at bay, but we can't help but look forward to another year to try it all again.
Cathy is a driver for UPS all year, and Laura works as a temp in the UPS office at the holidays - the farming season and package delivery season complement each other well for our family.
In April, we were scrambling to get our plot at a community garden in Hudson, WI. Being part of a community garden was a first for us, and was mostly as expected. Our area was 40' x 40', they let us rent 4 individual garden plots that made a nice big square. The people at the garden were refreshing to be around and get to know. Deejay (Laura's Mom) was a pleasant surprise to add to the team this season. She is definitely the queen of weeding, and we will gladly make her a crown.
Once the market started in June, we were growing only enough kale to meet the demand. The small area limited us, and we could tell that we wouldn't have enough to stock the market stand as a primarily produce vendor every week. So we shifted our energy to mobilizing the shared aspect of our stand, and continued to develop relationships with other farmers that needed market space. We focused on our relationships with the plants too; having so few we could really pay attention to what was going on and develop our eye for pests and problems. This was also a great year to work on improving our post-harvest management strategies, since risk was low with small harvests. We had plenty to eat and give away, and were still able to bring a few things to market. Herbs and kale made an appearance almost every week, butternut squash had a very warm welcome at the harvest festival.
Engaging people was on our minds more than ever this year, we had visitors out to the garden to learn, play, and work if they wanted to. This fall, we started organizing tours and visits to farms and used our stand at the market to help people get to know who we are and what we're doing. In our third year, we are getting even more clear on our vision and goals. Communicating that with people has helped us get feedback and be responsive to needs - both for customers and farmers.
Despite our small plot, we were able to grow 4 kinds of kale, 2 varieties of potatoes, brussels sprouts, 3 cabbage varieties, green beans, swiss chard, lots of fun carrots - from rainbow to black, an assortment of radishes, beets, kohlrabi, pie pumpkins, butternut squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, collard greens, tomatillos, sweet and hot peppers - and that's just the veggies!
We grew a few flowers, mostly sunflowers because they're Laura's favorite, and for the first time we roasted and enjoyed sunflower seeds we'd grown ourselves! Herbs for culinary uses and teas included rosemary, sage, stevia, thyme, lavender, yarrow, lemongrass, and chamomile.
We were so grateful to have some dirt to work this year, thanks for coming along for the ride.