Its amazing to see the daily changes in this greenhouse during this time of year. Already since taking this photo, all space has been filled and we are in dire need of moving our curtain back another few hoops. This year we decided to expand our heated propagation house, or grow house to better accommodate our spacial needs - last year we crammed all of our stuff into two tunnels that were different lengths, widths and heights, tapering the plastic from one to the next in an effort to conjoin them to maximize space. All last season seemed an exercise in scrambling and crisis management as we hurried to get set up on raw land. This year is and has already been very different.
Yet there are always challenges that come with setting up, for the year and for the future. So as I stood at my table seeding some portion of the entire growing year, I thought about all the things we lean on in order to get the season underway. Whether it is the fuel that provides heat for the otherwise inhospitable environment, the structure of the greenhouse, the electricity that powers the heater or temperature alarm, the sun and its warmth coming out during the day, or the quality of the seeds themselves after providing the best possible growing environment, there are so many variables that can contribute or detract from the success of a given season. In that regard, I feel like growers are often throwing the dice in the Spring and hoping for the best possible outcome. This is also what can make this work so interesting because there is no way to ever be sure about any of these variables, especially in Vermont. Granted, those of us who have been growing for decades as opposed to years have systems in place and a certain understanding that comes with the experience of success as well as exposure to failure.
So in our situation here in Hyde Park maybe what contributes to this thinking is that I have never quite felt established enough on a piece of land to create durable systems. Entering into my 6th growing season on my 3rd location reminds me of my continual striving to set up every Spring. But somehow this year feels different, the ownership, the long view, investing much deeper than I ever have before, from dipping the toe to pretty much drowning, to treading water but in a peaceful, manageable, happy sort of treading way. The Spring embodies the hope of the coming season, it is my most optimistic, romantic, and often unrealistic time of year and it is paired with a constant vigilance of all the parts and pieces coming together to form the whole of the farm. It is as equally hopeful as it is frightening and I love it.