“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15, 2009

The summer growing season is coming to an end. I’ve been slowly cleaning up the summer fields. A few days ago we had our first hard frost, which finished off the summer stragglers – the jalapeños, green peppers, and lima beans that had been holding on, even if just barely. The last of the fall red raspberries took a pretty good hit too, and the buckwheat I had planted as a fall cover crop and source of nectar for the bees was killed off. The lettuces, cabbages, carrots and swiss chard grow well in the cold though, and are still growing strong. All this reminds me - “for everything, there is a season”….

Yet each season has its rebel… Right now our farm’s seasonal rebel is one of our dwarf “Liberty” apple trees. In late summer one spur produced a spectacular bloom – about five months later than what is normal. Somehow, the bloom was pollinated. Apple trees cannot pollinate themselves – they need another apple or crab tree in bloom at the same time…which means that another rebel spur hung on a tree somewhere. The spur now has five very red, half sized apples that look pretty good. Being formed late, there have been no fungi or insects to attack them, so they have no imperfections. The apples that had formed in the spring never made it to the ripening stage due to attacks from the ever increasing fungi populations that exploded with the summer rains. Rebels are pretty cool…I like rebels. They teach me that I don’t always have to follow form. Sometimes rules are best to go….

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