Kitchen Garden Work Life

Rain and the High Tunnel

Western Sky at Sunrise
Western Sky at Sunrise

LAKE MACBRIDE— After arriving at the farm, I took this photo and headed to the high tunnel to plant lettuce. The western sky was illuminated by the sun, a harbinger of rain, which came, along with lightning and thunder, within the hour. I continued planting while the drops pattered against the heavy gauge plastic and nature’s light show played in the distance. We need rain, but not much fell. There are only three more weeks in the CSA and already we are preparing the farm for winter.

Part of the work was setting up irrigation in the high tunnel, repairing the drip line where it leaked and making sure it aligned closely to the rows of newly planted seedlings. It is more time consuming than one would think. When people depend on a vegetable crop, there is no choice but to irrigate when drought comes. It is difficult to budget for the extra labor of irrigation— one more uncertainty in the life of a farmer.

Using a margin trowel, I dug five or six holes in a row and then planted seedlings, covering each over the top of the soil block. By the end of the day, my shoulder was sore, so one flat remained from the job— perhaps tomorrow on that one.

There was a sense of connection today. Not only to the cycle of planting and harvest, but to everyone else. While I may have been alone, the presence of everyone I have known was with me. It’s hard to explain, but being protected from the storm in the high tunnel was part of it as I labored in the field of an indeterminate future— hopefully one with lettuce.