Onions all day

They planted onions all day.  Patterson and Talon: yellow storage onions.  Michael, Phil, and Sophie, with Hao, Mo, and Huiyang helping until three o'clock.  Four beds that we'd prepped a couple weeks ago, covered with black plastic, and waited for the weeds to sprout and die off under the darkness.  Plants six inches apart, four rows in each bed: almost 5,000 onions.  Mo's mother is visiting from China for the next month, and she explored the fields to take photos while everyone tucked in all those plugs, one by one and two by two.

 Phil celebrating the end of onion planting for the day

Phil celebrating the end of onion planting for the day

I was on the tractor all day, tilling our potato field.  After lunch I made it over to a patch near the onions that needed a final till.  I apologized for the noise, carefully moved the plastic and sandbags away from the edge I'd be working, let the heavy tiller sink in deep.  Fluffy moist soil there, not like the dry patch where I killed cover crop for potatoes. Against the edge of the flowering cabbages, I was brushing against stalks dappled with honey bees.  Our neighbor Randy, who's planted fruit trees and canes along the fence line, darted in a out with buckets of water for his blueberries, carrying his little poodle whenever I approached close to turn around the tractor.

 Tilling up next to the overwintered cabbage that's now in full bloom

Tilling up next to the overwintered cabbage that's now in full bloom

And Ted was keeping everything else going all day.  Checking a leak in the tractor tire, setting up irrigation to get the overflow greenhouse (now empty!) ready for tilling, picking up more wax boxes at Organically Grown Company for all our food bank harvests, making calls, cleaning up, writing out restaurant orders while we talk about the week ahead.  Ten before five o'clock, Michael set out an impact sprinkler line to water in the new onions, and it was spraying from a leak when we turned it on.  He needed to leave, so Ted headed out to fix it.  Turns out it wasn't only the connection between the fire hose and the aluminum pipe, but also a faulty gasket where two of the pipes fit into each other.  Ted tightened the hose, replaced the gasket with one from another line, and sped off once the sprinklers were running smoothly.

 These hose clamps need to be super tight to keep the line from leaking under pressure

These hose clamps need to be super tight to keep the line from leaking under pressure

In the evening light, I easily pluck an armful of red Russian kale in a couple minutes.  The summer squash in the greenhouse is almost there, too, and I sneak in to harvest a couple of the bigger ones before leaving.  We've had a lean time on the farm the past several weeks, with overwintered crops gone and new crops not quite ready.  That's coming to an end, and I feel a tinge of the sense of accomplish we'll get once harvest season sets in.  They're making it.