Farms require labor. If you have open fields, machinery can do much of the heavy lifting and pulling. Otherwise, get the muscles working. When your farm is a “hobby farm”, “farmette” or “ranchette”, your source of income most likely takes you away from the garden. On your days off, hauling, lifting, planting, watering, weeding, will precede harvesting. Some of these tasks require more labor that we have hours during certain seasons. Without a guest worker program established by Congress, we solicit the help of friends and family, our Garden HelpYear round we can have folks come spend a weekend or vacation with us. While some may enjoy sitting on the deck, talking strolls along dirt roads, or reading their books with fewer distractions than when in town, most ask, “What can I help with.” Year round we can find projects to do.
Winter time is soil preparation time. This is a good time to clean barns and spread the manure. Leaves and silt from ditches makes a good cover over the vegetable beds, and helps to keep the winter rain and snow running in the ditches rather than the road.
Spring is time for turning and planting. Soaker hoses and garden pathways need to be placed among the vegetable beds. Cool weather crops may start to fill our salad bowls or vegetable steamer. Fences need tending to after winter freezes and spring thaws.
Summer is weed season. Flower and vegetable beds need constant patrolling to keep unwanted roots from burrowing deep. Fast growing plants may need to be staked and tied up. Flowers need dead-heading and food crops light pruning to direct energy to developing fruit. Summer vegetables, fruit, and berries go directly to the kitchen and table. Surplus goes to friends or canning and freezing.
Fall is putting up season. Pick, can, freeze, eat. Sleep with cool nights, then repeat the process. Put it up one way or the other. Winter will be here soon. Watch the woolie-worms to predict the first snowfall.
In addition to enjoying the physical activity of garden help, our family and friends get to build up an appetite, and enjoy a home made meal. On warm evenings the deck is the preferred location. The dining room substitutes, with it’s views of the gardens and forest, as the weather turns. Better yet, they get to help make the meal. And, or course, there are the dishes to wash. If all that does not prepare one for a good night sleep.
Thanks for the help.