Every gardening season never ceases to amaze me with the bounty I harvest despite the challenges. In the
35 years I have grown our food in this soil, I have developed the good farming practices I need to produce a
plentiful bounty every year.
What do those good practices include? First, I’ve developed detailed garden plans where I record soil inputs and
crops planted. I rotate plant families on a four-year basis, so that disease and insect pressures are minimized. I
continually add organic matter, use cover and green manure crops, mulch just about everything, and use some
amendments on the heavier feeding crops. My soil is rich and healthy. And oh, the food I produce tastes good!
So when Mother Nature deals us weather like we’ve had here in the Northeast this past year I was still able to
produce bountiful amounts to eat and store for the winter. With precipitation and temperatures above normal
here in Maine 2023 was a really crazy gardening year, and the plants didn’t respond normally. Overall, I
had a good harvest, but some crops just didn’t produce as expected! For instance, there were no zucchinis!
What??!! And only a few cucumbers!! They just didn’t grow. But the onions yielded beautifully, and the
potatoes produced a bumper crop. Winter squash is plentiful despite the cucumber beetles. Peas, beans, lettuce
– yum! And the corn did flourish during those warm spells.
Yes, we are living with climate change. It is much warmer and we are all experiencing weather extremes –
including the plants. We have to learn how to adapt our gardening and farming practices to the changing
climate in order to continue to enjoy our gardens’ bounty.