Remember all that rain we got last week? Add this week's heat (and sun! hurray!), and watch our fast growing crops! Also ... fast growing weeds! Turn around for a moment and up they go - all millions of them! So on Monday, the onions were weedy, too big and too tall to cultivate with a tractor. Sweet potatoes and winter squash needed weeding too. And you might miss the newly sprouted fall carrots under the pig weed carpet. We do what we can with the tractors but by now there are plenty of weeds too well established, or too close to the crop, or that we just missed.
Enter weeders. They come on bikes and in carpools, with snacks, water bottles, sunblock and sometimes shoes. Right now the crew is bigger than usual because after we spent our budget for hiring, more wanted to help and so they've been volunteering regularly. This year Ryan is the weeder leader, and after we check in about the task in the morning, he shuttles everyone out in our mini-van. Chances are they've got pop radio blasting in there. High energy. Highly effective. They work in the hot sun and sometimes in the rain. They are usually still laughing when they finish at noon, and then they head off swimming or to their other job or for whatever the afternoon holds for them. On Wednesdays we continue the tradition that Karen began of having a crew meal all together. This week might have been the biggest one ever; chili and salad made by Roberta, Board member and interim chef. We take up three picnic tables this time of year.
Why so many? Could we just get another fancy cultivation tool? Well, it's the end of the week and the onions are clean. I can see every sweet potato plant. They hoed all the winter squash. No tractor implement could do all that. High fives all around. This crew is on fire! We can budget to improve our equipment other ways. We'll continue to invest in people power - positive, reliable, capable, fun. They even made it most of the way through those fall carrots. If you're tempted to worry about the rest, just remember they'll be back on Monday!
We hope you enjoy the harvest,
(for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Rebecca, Sunny and Ellen)