Spring is here.
Winter is my season for reflection and planning; spring is my season for planting and hoping; summer and fall are my seasons to harvest.
So far I have started over 8,000 seedlings that will be transplanted into the garden once the soil has dried up and warmed up enough for the plants to thrive in the great outdoors. On March 19, a couple days before the official start of spring, I turned the heat on in the greenhouse. I had already started some seedlings at home on my indoor seedling rack. Through April I will start another 2000 seedlings. Generally, for my garden, the soil is ready for planting in early May, at which point I can also begin seeding directly into the soil. I plant about 17,000 seeds in May, another 17,000 in June, another 19,000 in July, and finally another 9000 in August. So, overall I'm planting about 72,000 seeds this year.
As I am seeding, I am hoping. I hope that I have made the right planning decisions about how much of each vegetable to plant, and when to plant it, so that I have the right amount to harvest, at the right time, for my CSA members. I hope that I have the skills and knowledge to successfully care for the plant until it is ready to harvest. I hope that I sell enough CSA shares to pay for all my spring expenses.
In the spring, I spend a lot of money. I spend money on seeds (about $1000). I spend money on potting mix and trays and other supplies for growing seedlings (about $400). I spend money on farm and greenhouse rent, and water and propane and electricity (about $1700). I spend money on equipment and infrastructure maintenance and repairs (about $1200). I spend money on compost and organic mineral amendments (about $1000). I spend money on getting my organic certification (about $300). I spend money on supplies like deer fencing, harvest crates and knives, and a hundred other small expenses (another $3000 or so). One farmer friend of mine once described the spring expenses as “death by a thousand tiny cuts”. Money just flows out in the spring. And all that is just in spring; there are expenses through summer and fall and winter too; it costs me about $20,000 a year to run the farm.
But, once the seeds begin germinating, I believe. I believe that all these expenses will pay off and result in a bountiful harvest. I believe that my CSA members will be pleased. Once the first round of seeds germinate, my mood improves. It has begun. And this seed knows what to do. The seed knows how to germinate, and grow, and thrive, and transform from something so minuscule into something so outrageously huge that it can feed a family. Spring is the season of seeds and germination. They are the foundation of my hope. This is the beginning. I am happy to be growing plants again.
I hope that you have a wonderful spring season.