Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Farm On The Beach: Planting Nights

I thought I could do it. Leave the studio at 5pm, go home, pick up the vegetable starts, head to the farm on the beach, prepare the soil, layout and plant the starts before nightfall, all before the rain that was expected to come. I wanted to take advantage of the coolness of night, the irrigation from rain, the best opportunity for the fragile starts to settle in on these hot July days.

I have three flats of vegetable starts: eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, collards, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers, celery, and chard all thanks to J&L Nursery. Underneath those starts is a wheelbarrow full of horse manure and shavings from a pile on the southwest corner of the garden. I thought I might give that a try, although a previous experience with less than composted horse product gave me a season of weeding oat sprouts! I used the manure in the celery bed. I decided not to wait for compost this season -who can wait any longer! I am using an 'organic' 5-10-5 fertilizer and plan to get compost delivered for next season.

While I began laying out the tomatoes, the storm clouds began to build to my north. This storm affected flights out of JFK, but not me.

I rushed to get my plants in the ground, feeling my executive functioning faltering as the sun dropped lower in the sky. I was digging trenches and building mounds for the tomatoes. Where will the peppers and the broccoli go? Cucumber seeds? Don't forget the chard!

Oh no. The sun is about to set. Will I get locked in? How late is this place open anyway? Tomatoes are mostly in, turn on the water to check the irrigation trenches. Maybe I should plant something else. How about the celery -I've only 12 of those. Farmers work by the sun and I've started at 7pm! Silos of farmers' jokes are filled with city boys' best intentions!

And as if to rub it in, the storm that was building to my west, traveled south. Just enough big drops to show me what it could've provided, but didn't. Great show of lightning though, and I'm reminded of all the summer storms I see from my apartment that appear to be taking place off the coast of Coney Island.

I rush to pack up all that I didn't plant. The rest will have to wait until Thursday as work precludes me from attending to farming until then. I became aware of two things: The plot is too small for all that I've planted in my mind and the birds like to gather here at dusk.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...