Why Worry?

Greensville, Sweet Acre Farm

Look in any direction on a farm and there is a new opportunity to worry.

Are those brown leaves at the base of my tomato plants the dreaded late blight? Those potato plants look great, but are there actually any potatoes under there? Will the cucumbers set fruit before there are so many cucumber beetles that each fruit will be damaged by one of their curly-cue drawings on its skin?

It’s a feast for the neurotic and over-anxious out there in the field. It comes with the territory of diversification. We plant over __ varieties of vegetables in order to spread our risk each season. But each of these cultivars comes with its own schedule and particularities, making it a logistical whirlwind to keep our field full, productive and healthy.

Time management fits neatly into the equation as well. Once harvest begins in earnest, there is precious little time left after picking, washing, packing, and marketing, to do other farm tasks.

Should we stake the peppers, weed the onions, or seed more lettuce mix? Mowing the lawn seems overly aesthetic compared to the rest of the to-do list, but the grass is so long that the neighbors are wondering if we’re cutting hay off it. Is the weather good for foliar feeding the kale? I don’t know. Didn’t you just check the weather? Yeah, but I already can’t remember what it said.

And so you have to stop worrying. More out of self-preservation than anything else. You can only spin in so many circles, looking at all the work to be done, before you get dizzy. Jonathan made a list this spring that is still on the refrigerator. It is an epic list of all the building projects we are trying to get done on the farm and inside the house. In a few spots, snuck in between the to-do’s, he wrote “smile”. Silly as it sounds, just reading the word makes me smile, which is usually accompanied by a deep breath. And breathing is as good a first step as any toward doing something.