By Farm Assistant Jane
It is with real sadness that I am entering my final weeks on the farm.
As the season ends, I find myself preparing to move back to the South Bay, away from the farm, but not away from farming. Despite being new to agriculture, I can already appreciate the immense diversity of farming practices and have come to hold the Bounty’s approach in even higher esteem.
I do have the joy of ending my tenure during a season centered on recovery and rejuvenation. We are down to our last two producing fields, Bert and Pony A. With fewer crops, we are able to spend more time with the ones we have. We can see slight patterns of change in kale growth during the weeks with more or less sun and have a better chance at slowing insect infestations.
It would be wild not to mention the extremes that this fall has made itself known in our region.
A deluge, delays, and a pivot
The deluge last week was a test of our soil and also delayed important plans. While we would gladly trade optimal strawberry planting conditions for rain, with every positive comes a downside. Despite muddy complications, the farm held up beautifully to the downpour. The day after, there were puddles in a few fields, and standing water in drainage areas — but none of the crops were damaged, and our beds were not swept away.
As we wait for the soil to dry, we turn our attention to the fields that are done producing for the season. The cover crop is one of the major ways we keep our soil strong so it can keep providing nutrients year after year for our produce.
It’s a relatively simple process, especially compared to growing hundreds of varieties of produce, and I have been eager for this step. Our focus has now shifted, not completely away from this season but significantly forward to spring. Looking ahead by months, instead of day by day or week by week, allows for abundant hope to grow.
Hope for a productive next season.
Hope for small improvements to cumulate here and there.
Hope that despite the constant impossibility to plan on the farm, next year will be as bountiful and unique as this one.
This is Farm Assistant Jane’s final Farm Reflections essay for Petaluma Bounty. She came to the farm as an intern in the spring and took on the Farm Assistant role mid-year. She is due to depart Petaluma Bounty in November, and we already miss her.