It’s not always easy to find a lovely thing to say about the farm. Like any other, farming is a job, and in July we are a little tired of our job. At the moment the farm is in a state of disarray and looks a bit rough around the edges. This is because there are quite a few areas that are coming out of their spring crops, and are ready to be prepped for fall crops. These beds are waiting for us to make time between harvest and market to pull the weeds, till the soil, add compost, and transplant new crops. As they wait, the weeds begin to flower and go to seed, which is not in and of itself a good thing for our future crops, but it is where I will find my silver lining for this post!
Left to its self, nature is very disorganized and chaotic. Farmers try to tame it, raising plants in straight rows, all growing at the same rate, nothing but bare ground between each plant, etc. When the weeds get the better of us the silver lining is in the added plant diversity available to the insect life in our fields. There are quite a few weeds and crops (wild carrot, arugula, clover, yarrow) whose flowers attract parasitic wasps and other predators of common garden pests. There is nothing quite like seeing the eggs of a Brachonid Wasp hatch out of the body of a tomato horn worm and then proceed to consume the caterpillar from the inside out. Sweet retribution for damage done to the most valuable crop on the farm.
And so today I choose to look at my messy farm as a glorious bio-diverse habitat for a rich and balanced local ecology. And maybe tomorrow I’ll finally get around to borrowing the neighbor’s mower. Not likely, but when I do, I know I’ll be mowing around the wild carrot flowers and not over them.