In the Weeds

Early season reflections from UProoted Farm

UProoted Farm's 30-inch wide, 100-foot-long garden beds.
It's been a busy spring getting everything in the garden ready to go for the first season. Not only are we trying to get plants in the ground, but we're building the infrastructure from the ground up as we go..

I haven’t posted in awhile as my evening and weekend hours the last few weeks have been dedicated to helping Jon prep beds, transplant starts, tend tomato plants, and weed the crops we’ve already planted. But today, when I've taken off from my day job to help Jon with the first big harvest on the eve of our first Downtown Marquette Farmers Market this Saturday, it seems appropriate to take a moment to reflect.

Prepping beds with a Grillo G-110 and power harrow, as well as with a broadfork.
Bed Prep = Compost, Broadfork, Power Harrow, Repeat.

While it all still feels a little surreal, it also feels much calmer than I anticipated. Having spent almost a decade of my life working in the newspaper industry with looming deadlines, as well as moonlighting as a server throughout the years at dining establishments packed with tourists in Door County, I’m quite aware of what it feels like to be “in the weeds.” However, now that I’m literally spending time in the weeds, it doesn’t seem nearly as frenetic as I thought it might.

In fact, I rather enjoy the time spent cultivating. That’s not a lie. I find pleasure in the simple monotony of it, seeing progress without taxing my analytical or creative mind. It reminds me of days we'd send out mailings at the newspaper, where my focus was directed at applying stickers instead of the usual editorial grind. Spending a few hours listening to a podcast or even in total silence with a Neversink Mutineer in hand, making my way up and down the rows has been truly pleasant thus far. Ask me again in August, and I might change my mind. But for now, I’m enjoying the task of suppressing weed pressure.

Cultivating beets with a Neversink Mutineer
This handy tool with interchangeable heads that fit neatly between the rows helps keep little weeds from turning into big weed pressure.

As for pressure in general, this version of in the weeds doesn’t even compare to the serving version of in the weeds. I’ve yet to have the farmer version of a “server dream.” Surely fellow folks who’ve done a stint in the service industry can recall waking up in the middle of the night, sweating from the perils of not being able to find a full ketchup bottle or some other menial customer request. Your rational, awake mind realizes it’s silly, but while you were still asleep, the task seemed as insurmountable as Mt. Everest.

I think the lack of pressure I’m feeling right now is twofold. The first, and probably main reason, that I’ve been able to maintain my calm (for the most part) is Jon. After 17 years in the Coast Guard, his ability to both function under pressure and to keep things in perspective is uncanny. When you’re used to being in true life-or-death situations on a regular basis for your job, growing vegetables doesn’t seem to have much urgency. He’s there to gently bring me back to our reality when I need a reminder.

The second reason is that I’ve plainly given myself, and our business, permission to not be perfect. My tendency to strive for perfection in most aspects of life has served me well, but it hasn’t always been stress free. So, as we embark on this pretty hefty task of starting a business, I’m aiming to keep the stress level in check. This is a long-haul endeavor, and in our first year, we’re inevitably going to make mistakes and experience failures. No matter how much I try to prepare and plan for the season, I know I won't be able to anticipate it all. Instead, I’m doing my best to focus on learning as much as possible and enjoying each moment -- the good, the bad, the boring, and the “boy, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that” ones.

Repotting basil plant starts in preparation for the growing season.
Part of the busy prep of spring has been repotting plant starts in the greenhouse. The smell of fresh basil made it all worthwhile!

So, as we approach our first market, we hope to see you there. And, if you’re the customer who finds yourself standing across from us as we have one of those “We can’t believe we didn’t think of that!” moments, thank you in advance for sharing in the humor and offering up a little grace.

In return, we’ll offer up our first batch of USDA Certified Organic produce and plant starts. We’ll have lettuce, kale, and tomato starts, as well as fresh microgreens, basil, head lettuce, spring salad mix, and spinach.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

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