Heat! Deluge! Drought! Repeat!
Author: Marolyn Hatch
Photography: Gigi Goin
That was the summer of 2019, a challenge to local community gardeners. Climate change has given us unpredictable seasons. Here we are in “winter” or so our calendar says. Yet in my garden the “Resurrection Lilies” (aptly named) are already ½ inch up in our January soil and a couple of newbie wrens appear to be making a nest in our hedge. Garden catalogs are popping up in our mail boxes with teasing photos and descriptions of next year’s potential produce and flowers. Gardeners and farmers optimistically thrive on collaborating with Nature to bring forth bountiful harvests often despite unexpected setbacks.
Yields, despite infestation
The 2019 Farmer Gigi Goin our official local “crop master,” experienced some challenges but also good yields. Gigi reports that last season her 20 beds yielded average harvests for root vegetables of about 300 lbs. per bed and her leafy and salad greens, about 100 lbs. per bed. And this was despite being hit hard by harlequin bugs resulting in her sacrificing over 40% of her leafy crop beds for over 6 weeks in the height of summer to mitigate further losses. None-the-less, she was able to provide about 80% of the harvested crop to her five chef clients and about 15% to popup market days.
Over Wintering on the farm
“That was then, and this is now.” As song writer Vance Brescia reminded us. Happy to see the harvests of the 2019 garden season and always looking forward, Farmer Gigi is currently over-wintering crops in seven covered beds; that's about one-third of the farm's current 20 beds and an increase from 2018's five beds for winter growing. Crops grow slowly over winter, so Gigi’s last harvest was a few weeks ago. Weather permitting; Gigi expects another harvest in early January. If, however, the early winter cold continues to reduce night temperatures, she will wait for a lush harvest in spring instead of early harvesting in January.
farm Produce availability
Recent suggestions from several neighbors for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription service has Gigi considering starting such a service in 2020. CSA subscriptions allow neighbors to place orders in the winter season and receive weekly or biweekly produce during the 5 later major harvest months. Such subscriptions would allow Gigi to grow more varieties as she would have a known customer base to which to sell them. Keep your eye out for notices to see if CSA is in our futures.
While the loss in late summer to disease of one of the two giant, local “witness” trees was sad, its absence has increased our full-sun area leading to the addition of eight more beds in spring.
With our fingers crossed that the growing season in 2020 will be positive, we look forward to the bounty that Gigi’s efforts bring to us. There is absolutely nothing as tasty as freshly harvested veggies from her pop-up market days or on her local, farm tours. Neighbors also appreciate Gigi’s workshops to bring them farm updates; indoor, hands-on, growing projects; outside garden experiences and samples of her farm veggies.
Such happy thoughts will keep us upbeat during the dormant season and keep Gigi busy planning next year’s bounty. Gigi can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org