According to the 2014 USDA census the average age of farmers in the US is 57. The latest census data is not yet out but that number is expected to increase which is a serious concern. This past season I have felt age more than ever due to unexpected health issues. I have not said much about it on social media. After a seven year hiatus I had a series of cardiac issues beginning last October. In March I had to go back to the hospital which put me about a month behind in my gardens. Then on Memorial Day weekend it became apparent I needed once again to visit the hospital. I spent ten days there enjoying the hospitality of some wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff. I eventually had bypass surgery and the surgeon told me I won’t be able to get back into the swing of things until the end of July, perhaps early August.
My family has helped tremendously in the gardens, harvesting, irrigating, weeding and doing some planting. Two gardens are in good shape. The third, and largest we could not keep up with except for the tomatoes.
But the tomatoes look good. My kids have trellised and pruned and done a great job. Although the tomatoes were planted late we soon expect an abundance of three types of cherry, two types of slicing, and one paste tomato.
We’ve even done some planting. Today Laura planted two heirlooms: California Wonder peppers and Amish Paste tomatoes for some late season crops (yes, that is bolted lettuce to the right of the landscape cloth. Laura called them Christmas Trees today). My crops are limited this year, though as best as we can we have supplied Bloom Cafe and Listening Room with garlic scapes, microgreens, spinach, broccoli, and lettuce. I hope to start hitting it hard for the fall to provide even more.
There is much to do. Garlic above is past cutting scapes and needs to be dug. Asparagus and and onions desperately needs weeding. Lettuce needs to be cut and harvested. Carrots, cucumbers and second planting of squash needs to be planted. Not everything will be done. It’s okay. My plan is maintain what we can and then hit it hard for fall and winter crops.