Our favorite reference book for all things bovine is “the family cow”, a tome written by some wise old Mainer as she put down to publish all of her long years of knowledge. Often the author’s authoritative opinion seems more mystical than factual, but she came up with this wonderful piece of advice (and I paraphrase): “the best thing to do to know the health of your cow is to watch her for 10 minutes a day.” Likewise, we’re all learning to observe the health of our garden, watching for shifts and change.
In 10 minutes spent staring out at the garden, I noticed that the potatoes are becoming bushy and have flower buds. The potato beetles seem to be mostly at bay, though a few yellow egg masses indicated this could change rapidly. Zucchinis the size of an index finger are appearing. The bees are active, I can hear the hive from half a garden away. The row cover could use some repairing, the paths some weeding. There is some unknown pest bothering the squash, probably an insect. The to-do list grows, always a few more things than fit into a single day. The garden is healthy. We work hard to keep the plants lush in sandy soil, and they seem to be rooting deep, supporting themselves in the days between rain. It’s a satisfying look.
This being my second year at the farm, I’ve become better at looking. Looking around, pausing when each weed seems determined to push against you still daunts me. This sort of observation is a skill. Learning to put aside the to do list and watch carefully to see what is going on is a lifetime skill, and not just in the garden. This sort of looking is without expectation. It is just watching, allowing ourselves to be naturalists, to wonder without jumping to the frenzy of working. Then to resume, deliberately taking on the tasks at hand on behalf of the whole.
We’re still watching, taking the time to look at the world around us, taking time to appreciate the purple irises which have bloomed and the population of ladybugs. The labor which make it all possible is immense, and we keep watching, enjoying the small changes we can see every day.
In this week’s share (that we know for sure)
Blushed Butter Bibb Lettuce
Arugula or salad mix
bronze leaf arrowhead lettuce