Growing Quality Local Produce Responsibly
It was warm enough earlier this month that we unveiled the lettuce from under the row cover that has been on it since it was planted in April. As usual we got carried away with varieties and have over twenty different types of head lettuce. My favorite so far has been Red Leprechaun – an heirloom romaine with beautiful red-purple savoyed leaves that have a tender buttery flavor. I wish I could find more information on how this lettuce got its name; perhaps the breeder felt that harvesting it was like like nabbing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Many of the spring and summer veggies have been planted and we are ready to start planting squash next week. We decided to plant a few rows of ornamental corn including a few varieties that make outstanding cornmeal. Mary’s favorite corn is Hopi Blue which she grows primarily for Vern’s famous blue cornbread. Sowing the corn by hand felt humbling after transplanting over 1,000 plants the previous morning with our waterwheel transplanter. It didn’t help that my cousin was planting soybeans several rows at a time in the adjacent field while I was on my hands and knees dropping each seed into its hole. Similarly, last year Marcus found himself planting radish seed with our walk behind single-row planter when the surrounding fields were being planted with field corn. Perhaps it is suiting to have a low-tech planting day to contrast with how industrialized agriculture has become. We are constantly finding efficiencies and coming up with better ways grow certain crops here on the farm, but perhaps it is good to take a step back and realize that growing food is not always about the quantity of land under production.