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Farm Update – The Raindance
Water is a big deal on the farm. Not just because Clearwater Farm is a project of the Ontario Water Centre. But because water is a big deal on every farm! Some farms have sandy soil, and the more rain that comes, the better. Some farms have clay soil, and when there’s too much rain, the soil can get oversaturated. That’s the scenario at ClearWater these days. Our clay soil, in combination with the spring rains, is highly saturated, which prevents us from working the field with machinery. As always, farmers must adapt with what the season brings. So, we are preparing for planting by adding soil and compost on top of the existing beds, ensuring that we can plant arugula, spinach, onions, kale, Swiss chard, and other crops in the coming days.
Farmers are funny, when it comes to rain. We want it exactly at the right moment. We don’t want it when we’re working in the fields, but we want just when we leave to go home. We want it when the plants are thirsty, and then not until the plants are thirsty again. Often, we want it and don’t want it at the same time. When our plants are needing a drink, we are desperate for it to rain…unless we are running a Farmers’ Market, so that more people will attend. This raindance of competing needs goes on inside of farmers, and challenges our emotional wellness. For farmers, how well our crops are doing often has a big impact on how we experience life. Lousy crops and plants that aren’t thriving can give us the blues, and dampen our spirits. Happy plants and bumper crops lead to happiness, joy, and inspiration. Of course, the challenge is to maintain emotional stability throughout the ups and downs of each season. Organic farming truly is a spiritual practice for many of us. Whether we like it or not, our inner world will be challenged. Some seasons, the timing of the rain seems to work out just perfectly. In 2017, the spring rains meant we never needed to water after planting a crop outdoors. It was perfect — it would rain every week or so, but not in between. It would rain just as we were leaving the farm, after a hard days work. Conversely, back in 2010, we were thrilled when April was super dry, allowing us to get a major jumpstart on the planting. Then it rained almost every day in June, and drowned our plants. In farming, and in life, we don’t always get what we want exactly when we want it. This challenges us to practice acceptance, patience, trust, etc. But in those moments, where we get what we want, when we want it….it feels pretty damn good!
Your Dedicated Farming Guy,