Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

For Whom Does the Soil Toll?

field in winterI saw a glimpse the other day. On the way to the greenhouse, between still too large piles, it was there amidst the all too present and overly dominant ice. I am not speaking of the sand and salt residue that coats the plowed snow. It is the soil. It is always about the soil, upon which the farmer depends so much.  The site of the cold soil on that greenhouse path was lovely and hopeful. It is all under that snow that sits many feet across fields and gardens.  The snow covers the chicken pens and much of the goat pen. Some snow has been dug aside so the bunny can access her rabbit hole. It is such a treat to see the rich black material and know that in the not so distant future we may be able to gently turn it and place seeds in its confines. There is talk of bringing some five-gallon buckets to a nearby growing field. With some shovels, we can remove some snow and without making too much impact on the beds, place the snow in the buckets and lift them away. The sun will then shine down to soften the ice and warm the soil. The buckets of snow can warm and melt in the greenhouse so as to make water. The water is a nice thought of coping with a possible dry, drought dominant August day. Oh to get to that soil, we must wait, persevere and feel the sun.

But wait, what soil through yonder window breaks? In the kept-warm greenhouse, the farmers have their hands in the nutrient-rich potting soil. The bags that arrived in December have been brought in the sun-drenched (when it deigns to shine)greenhouse to thaw. The seeds are ready to be precisely dropped into their cells and rows, with water from the silver can. The heat pads provide warmth from below and the fire is carefully stoked through the long chilly nights. There is much to embrace this time of year, as there often is, and now it is about forcing growth, while awaiting the grand melting from this extraordinary winter season. So ask not for whom the soil, and the farmers toll, the soil and we toll for thee, and seedlings and plants. Then, for eventual produce and the fruits of  this March labor.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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