So… Spring/Summer, 2019 planting season has been a challenge. You don’t have to be a farmer to know this. Daily commutes often reveal flooded fields that have been in this condition for weeks… and have pushed the envelop on planting windows and in some cases made it impossible for farmers to get crops in the ground. Some have accepted defeat – knowing the time has run out. It really is a sad state of conditions for the those in agriculture.
Recently, I asked a fellow farmer if she planted according to moon phases. Her answer was along the lines of “I’m planting whenever the ground is dry enough to get seeds in”… while in some respects – I understood what she was saying, but there are parts of my upbringing that will stick with me no matter what. My dad always planted by the moon phases and when I first started gardening on my own I thought he was nuts. What on earth does the moon have to do with anything. For several years – I planted radishes. Every row of radishes produced these beautiful lush leaves… but no radish underground. It drove me crazy! So… I told my dad what was going on and he replied “you’re planting them at the wrong phase of the moon”. WHAT THE HECK! When I finally followed my dad’s advice – I was blessed with my first crop of radishes that I could actually eat. Needless to say… I found value in this age-old process of planting by the moon.
So… even with this challenging season – due to an enormous amount of rainfall, I’ll still do what I know works best. I may not know what the gravitational pull of the moon does to plants and seeds – but I’m happy the Old Farmers Almanac is at my disposal to keep track of all the important planting dates. When it says plant - I plant. When it tells me not to, I'm happy to work on native plant management. More information: ttps://www.farmersalmanac.com/calendar/gardening/
So… I moved back to Athens – my home town area. Anyone who has followed my farm journey know this. Since moving here, I’ve been able to reconnect with folks I haven’t talked to in over 35 years; one being our current Mayor. Some time in early April (I think, time is a blur), he reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in getting a farmers market going in Athens. Of course – I said yes. I started working on the details of a vendor agreement and planning what our market would be. Small town or not – I wanted to make sure we followed all the “rules” as it relates to running our market. I also needed to make sure the city wouldn’t face any significant risks from our little market. So… all that was done and I began soliciting vendors for our market. I have found this to NOT be an easy task…. But I carry on.
We’re the only one in Menard County. We are open on Wednesdays – which, in true mean mother nature style – she’s ensured we’ve had icky weather all three Wednesdays the market has been open. Grrrr! But, our Mayor is AWESOME! When we asked about being inside city hall vs outside in the park – he immediately said yes. So… not only do we have the only Farmers Market in Menard county – we have an INDOOR market. Which means vendors and customers get to stay comfortable and dry no matter what mother nature throw at us!