As of the 26th, I am half way through this internship! Time has flown. I’ve settled into the routine now, and have to keep reminding myself not to forget to notice the creek on my bike ride to the farm each morning, or to watch the rushes wave in the wind down in the marsh below the house, or to step outside as the sun sets to see the sky (we get really beautiful sunsets here!) Sometimes it’s harder to pay attention than others, especially after some really long days. I caught up on sleep lastnight (a whole 10 hours!)
a very foggy morning earlier this week
During the last 3 months(!!) here, I’ve learned alot of things. Lately I’ve been thinking about what I like about this place, and what I would do differently on a farm of my own. I originally came here with plans to explore urban farming more in the near future, and now find myself drawn to smaller scale farms with woodlands and rivers. Here we have a 250 share veg CSA, and at times that feels like it would be too large to manage for me. We also plow alot and I wonder how our soil compares to that of a farm which does less tilling. The more I learn about permaculture the more interest I have in it, to grow nut and fruit trees to shade the veggies that grow lower to the ground, and plan out a piece of land in a way that makes sense with all the elements it has.
As of lastnight, one thing I would do differently is irrigate. Here we use aluminum piping for our irrigation (which we’ve needed lately as we had no rain for almost a month and the crops were suffering!) The pipes are fairly durable and light, but they’re long, so a pain to move around. And because we have such a large area to cover, the pipes need to be rotated around every couple days to reach everything. We use the tractor & wagon to move them, but some of the lines are pretty long even for that. As well, the sprinklers get plugged once in a while and it can be hard to clean them. We use water from our well to fill the irrigation tank. I wonder how drip irrigation compares to the kind we have – it seems like it would be less time consuming and more straightforward to set up, althought it apparently needs replacing more often. I also wonder if drip irrigation would reduce the incidence of things like blight and powdery mildew, since it waters the base of the plants (our sprinklers are about 2 1/2 feet off the ground, so they water the whole plant).
Luckily on days when things get hot, tiring or frustrating, I have an awesome group of folks around who make things great – our farmers, my fellow interns, and our workshares and volunteers!