This seasons was a total bust for me. For the last five or six years I've had a garden. I've grown everything from basil to corn. Each year a I learn something new and the following year my vegetable garden does a little bit better. This year is an exception. This year, I harvested a dozen grape tomatoes and a few herbs.
The reason for my crop failure is that I moved. I used to live in the D.C. area. Now I live outside of Boston. The weather is completely different from anything I've ever experienced. I notice it everyday. It's August, and in the mornings I need a long sleeves to have breakfast outside. Long sleeves in August is unheard of. This dramatic change in weather impacts my plants as much as it impacts me-- or maybe even more because they live outside.
In the past I've started my seeds inside and transplanted them outside. I need to start the seeds in very early spring. This is normally early March. Then by early May, I move the plants outside. In the mid-Atlantic region, I'm not worried about a late frost in May. This timing gives the plants time to grow during the wetter spring months so that they are hearty enough to thrive in the hot summer sun that comes in June/July. Then in July and August, I have plenty of vegetable to harvest and eat.
This schedule does not work in the New England area. I had read that plants shouldn't be translated outside until after Memorial Day weekend. It was hard to believe. I'd never really experienced a New England summer before. I moved my plant outside before Memorial Day against my better judgement. To add insult to injury, the United States had a cold and went spring. By mid-July, my plants were mostly dead. They were stunted and the fruit didn't set well. Plus it felt so late, July and no fruit yet. I destroyed my plants and decided to start over next year.
While, August might seem late to me, it is actually the normal time for harvests. The local You-Pick places didn't start peach picking until last weekend, August 25th! That's incredible. Plus, as I walk around and see other people tending to their gardens, I can see that the plants are covered with heavy, green fruits and vegetables. It's almost Labor Day and it's just now time to harvest the plants.
These lessons will serve me well next year. I'm confident my garden will be robust and tasty. Plus, my two year old will be three years old and an expert gardener by next summer. As I think about the fresh tomatoes that could have been, I can't help but think about indoor farming and how my clients chose indoor farming to avoid the setbacks I had this year. Once the specs of the indoor farm are set they don't change. The conditions are the same year round and they can plant the same seed in January, July or October and it doesn't matter.
It's humbling to be at the whim of nature. I understand a little bit more about the challenges farmers face while trying to earn a living. I also see the appear of indoor growing. This year, I am going to enjoy the fruits of other peoples labor and next year I will try again.