A Time to Sow

By Ron Eichner 

       Hi folks, Each year most farm and garden crops get started by putting seeds in seed trays filled with potting soil or even direct sowing out in the farm fields or gardens where seeds will germinate and grow. Soil temperatures and moisture levels are important to get the seeds to germinate. First, having the soil ready to plant and fertilized for the crops’ nutritional benefits to grow and produce a crop to harvest is essential. You may want to mulch with hay or natural grass clippings for moisture retention and/or manage the competing weeds during the growing stages. Then keep scouting for insect and wildlife damages, along with fungus issues. 

       The farming wisdom of billionaire Mike Bloomberg who has no agricultural or farming skills, said, “I can teach anybody to be a farmer. It’s a process; you dig a hole, put in a seed, fill the hole with dirt, add water, and up comes the corn.” Well, I don’t know any billionaire farmers, but maybe Bloomberg could team up with the billionaire duo of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos who have expanded their fortunes by purchasing enormous tracts of U.S. farmland. All three would be natural for farming. Here is a unanimous farm quote, “Farmers don’t farm to make money; they make money to farm.” 

        Most farmers and gardeners have learned from their parents and or grandparents or from an agricultural school where you can get a horticulture degree. I wish farming and growing crops was as simple as what Mike Bloomberg says or thinks. Farming has become one of the most advanced industries because of all of the growing conditions and challenges faced each year. 

        Mother Nature is our silent partner, and weather for a growing season is truly unpredictable each year. Most crops want 70 to 80-degree soil temperatures for seed germination. In April or May, the sun can warm the soil temperatures. However, cold spring showers and rains can drop the soil temperatures back down. This is why for generations most tender vegetables and flowers were planted later in May because a couple of frosts and/or cold soil temperatures can still kill your crop. 

       At one point, 98% of the world worked in agriculture, and now it’s about 2% across the United States. There is a big difference between true family farms, those who work their farms every day throughout the year, and the rich businesspeople who are buying up countless farms throughout the United States. 

       My grandfather and dad have instilled in me to always pay attention to the full moon cycles of April and May in the spring and September and October in the fall. Generally, when you have clear nights within a five-day window of a full moon cycle it can be the coldest period. This year, May 26 is the last full moon of the spring, which could be a factor. 

        The success of a farm is lies in growing the crops and being able to sell the yields your crops produce. In our area we have four full-time family farms – Kaelin, Shenot, Soergel, and ours, Eichnerand we share a common goal of supporting our community.  All we need is community support. So “Farm to Table” is a unique two-step from the farm to your table, where for most stores it is a four to fivestep process. 

        There are no days off with farming, and by no means is it as easy as digging a hole, dropping a seed, filling the hole and up pops a crop. Feel free to stop by Eichner’s Whole Farm & Green houses and experience “Farm Fresh” at 285 Richard Road, Wexford, and get the “rest of the story.”