Smooth Transitions (full time farming and shhing oneself)

IMG_0811

I sat outside in the sun trying to shake the winter chill from my bones.  The meadowlarks sang gloriously as the frogs droned on.  The red winged black birds flitted and barked and the robins demurely looked for worms.  Green sparks cover the land and spring has come.  I started over two hundred pots of seeds, large and small, over the last two days.  I felt an urgency this year.  In past years I may have missed the window of opportunity and had a late start on vegetables and harvest but this year, as a full time farmer, I knew I needed to get these things done.  It is almost time to plant cold crops here and the gardens are not ready.  This will be a busy spring. Busier than usual.

The remaining phone calls trickled in and were diverted to the new owner of my apothecary.  Facebook messages came rolling in and the business stayed exactly the same without me.  For a moment, I thought, “Wait!  I messed up!  I didn’t mean to sell it!”  But of course I had, it was time.  I have long known that a change was coming, a breath of something different, and I am embracing it.  Then I thought, “What if I don’t even know how to farm?!  What if I can’t grow anything?”  I had to shhsh myself.  As I watered the new seedlings and lined them up in the cold frame, I knew I had started my new life.

The most difficult part about change is that we are such creatures of habit.  I am an herbalist.  I have an apothecary.  I make medicines.  Well now I am just an herbalist that makes medicines and teaches.  I am a full time farmer now.  It was odd seeing the apothecary go on as if I had never been there but that is how life is, ever revolving, ever moving.  As I am.

When you first make that change, out of a relationship, into homeschooling, out of a job, into a move, the initial response is always, “Wait!  I didn’t mean to do that!”  It is normal and one must just take a breath in and have faith.

The first time you use your new moniker, you will feel like a sham.  The first time I told someone I was a model, a dance teacher, an herbalist, now a farmer, I felt like I was exaggerating, but soon it becomes second nature and it does indeed become your title.

I encourage folks to be brave, have faith, and live life as full as possible, to chase those dreams and not settle into a life of stress and hardship.  It is amazing to see the results.  Life is so full of promises and opportunities.  If you have a passion for something in your heart, is a sure-fire sign that you are to pursue it.  Have fun!  And only feel like an imposter for a moment, life is whatever you make it.

Choosing a Garden Design

IMG_0647

It’s been a long time since I had a blank slate.  I am staring out at the fenced in garden.  26×30 sized plot, no beds.  The porch longs to be filled with pots of greens.  The side field will become a pumpkin patch.  Fruit trees will be off of the porch.  The big blank garden space needs life.

We have made the very possibly crazy but incredibly giddy decision to jump ship into full time farming.  Oh the excitement!  But, that means I have a quota in my head of how much produce I need to sell, how much I need to feed us, our intern, our friends, and for events, plus have enough to preserve for the winter.  That kind of glazed over expression sneaks up and I grab another cup of coffee.

circle

I read that circles are the most space savvy way to farm.  How do you find things to border circle slightly raised beds?  I don’t have that many rocks.  My friend recommended a hexagon.  Doug was explaining how much square footage was in a circle bed verses a square.  “Well,” he says, “If pi equals….then the bed would be…..minus the path…”  He sounded like the teacher in Charlie Brown.  wawa..wawa..wa.  Uh, what?  I am not a math girl.  I could be if I wanted to but I was daydreaming about swirly twirly paths of herbs and water features and the new Asian greens bed I am planting.

row

I am going to create this plot in a permaculture fashion.  No rototiller, no digging.  I will outline the beds with rocks, bricks, wood, whatever I can find around and fill them lightly with compost and amended soil.  That will be the basis of my planting.  Two tons of wood chips are on my wish list.  Alas, my daughter has my truck.  Lisa told me to call the utility company.  It’s on my ever growing list!

arbor

But outside of the no digging, building up theory I am stuck in my ways.  I like the look of long rows of potatoes intermingling with garlic and collard greens.  I saw some photos of permaculture farms that do garden that way so I shall too.  I may make it a bit more creative though.  Maybe the lines of the long beds will be a little wavy, like little rivers of vegetables heading down the garden.  A water feature in the middle will add beauty and a water source for visiting bugs and birds.  A handful of arbors will create a walkway to the water feature, yard long beans, squash, and morning glories scampering up their sides.  I can fit 600 square feet of plants in with 1 foot paths minus the water feature area and the walk way.  That’s the kind of math I can understand.  I am so ready to plant.

Spring fever’s got a hold of me!  Would y’all mind checking out my new website for the farm?  Let me know what you think. I am most ridiculously proud and enthusiastic for the next person to ask me, “So what do you do for a living?” “Me? I’m a farmer.”

IMG_2415

http://pumpkinhollowfarm.net