It's the darkest time of the year for market gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere. These are the days where the sun's rays are weakest. Wind and snow and chilly temperatures hinder cultivation of crops. Even in the greenhouse, things are growing slow because the days are so short.
This is an essential time for market gardeners to take a break, contemplate and plan for the next season.
Some winter affirmations for market gardeners: check out this podcast with Jean-Martin Fortier on Permaculture Voices. Whether you're just getting started on your farm, or if you've been farming hard for years, you may find reflections of your adventures reflected here:
And here's an excerpt from The Market Gardener to inspire your season of rest.
The popular myth of family farms persists: we are tied down tot he land, we work seven days a week, we never have time off, and we just barely scrape by financially. This image probably has its roots in the real-life struggles experienced by most conventional farmers, who are caught in the strangle-hold of modern agriculture. It is true that being a mixed vegetable grower is hard work. Rain or shine, we are up against the vagaries of a highly unpredictable climate. Bumper crops and seasons of plent are far from guaranteed, and a hefty does of pluck and commitment is required to make it through - particularly during those first few years, when one is still building infrastructure and a customer base.
Our vocation is nevertheless an exceptional one, defined not by the hours spent at work or the money earned, but by the quality of life it affords. Believe it or not, there is still plenty of free time left over when the work is done. Our season gradually gets started in the month of March and finishes in December. That's nine months of work; three months off. The winter is a treasured time for resting, travelling, and other activities. To anyone who pictures farm life as endless drudgery, I would assert that I feel quite fortunate to live in the countryside and work outdoors.
Wishing you all a restful winter season!