renovate: verb: to restore to a former or better state:
to restore to life, vigor, or activity.
It's easy to get excited at the beginning; The thrill of the chase, the energy of starting something new, of learning, of being recognized. Then things happen. Some of them good; The seeds are planted according to the plan. The rains come at opportune times. Some of them not-so-good; The crows eat some of the winter squash seeds as they are germinating. The calf gets into our neighbors yard at 7:08 am during breakfast. Eventually, the novelty of the whole thing wears off. It can feel to me that all that is left is labor. The will to meet the challenges has to come from within as there is little new to inspire.
Just when the harvest picks up in mid-July, the early-season magic tends to wear off. The rows of cukes and zukes stretch on to the horizon as our bodies are tired from an excited spring of promise and opportunity. So too, it is for the crops; the early spring crops have come and gone. The strawberries are a fading memory. The early sweet heads of lettuce. The spinach. Gone so soon. This can be the most challenging time of year, especially if we want there to be a big fall harvest. This is when the crew usually begins it's vacation rotation - taking some time off to refresh and renew, while the rest of us hold down the fort until they return.
So too for the plants. In mid-July it's time to renovate the 1st-year strawberries. Ben brings out the flail mower and chops the leaves down to 1" above the crowns. Then Ellen brings the rotovator, which churns the runners up into the soil, leaving the mother plants to gain strength before sending more runners out for next years berries. The 2nd-year strawberries are tilled into the earth, to become fall greens. The last fields are harrowed to become ready for big fall plantings of cabbage and broccoli in late July. And on and on it goes. Just when the tank starts to feel empty, we start planning for the future, turn the old under, find a little something down deep, and push on.
We hope you enjoy the harvest,
(for Karen, Zoe, Abbe, Ellen, Alex, Ben, and Jake)