'If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.' ~ Dalai Lama
Today, I’m reminded of how important it is to grow sustainably. Cancelled orders, crop failures, unprecedented changes in weather in Europe and the States, vegetable shortages in Asia… all in addition to the perennial topics of energy over-consumption and disappearing biodiversity. I’m feeling it, we’re all feeling it.
From left to right: 1) We added giant bronze fennels to our pollinator habitat, where Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars like to hang out. 2) Growing vegetables and flowers in the field with minimal energy consumption. We don't have heated greenhouses, but filed tunnels. 3) Perennials and pollinator plants to add visual (and insect :) interest year after year.
As a small grower/gardener, there was a past season where I wasn’t as on top of managing pests and caring for tubers as I should have been, because I ‘reasoned’ plants could always be replaced, or grown as annuals, year after year. Besides, the short run cost and effort of being a true steward just seemed so high, and frankly overwhelming, especially for new growers.
But, I think we’ve gotten to a point where growing unsustainably is no longer an option. So far, the few things we were able to do in the last couple of years, albeit mundane sounding, are starting to pay off - experimenting and perennializing as much as possible, using trays made by recycled and recyclable plastic, growing in the field all year including winters, most of all, paying attention to things that thrive where we are and growing more of those (to save work but also resources), etc.
It’s not a path with the least work, nor the least cost, but it makes me feel more responsible, and in a huge way, less reliant on the ever unpredictable changes all around us.