The Late Blight problem was difficult for me. I was so proud of the 70 different varieties that were growing in my test field. I was excited to see what would thrive and what would not quite make it in this new climate in which I am growing. I was ready to really be scientific: logging the pounds of tomatoes each plant would produce, making notes, assessing progress. I was looking forward to the taste tests that were to come and the sauces and ketchup that these babies would produce. And then the death occurred. Ugh.
But I learned a few things about myself.
1. When I discovered that my plants had a disease, I did not think of 'cheating' and using fungicides (later I found out that chemicals wouldn't have fixed the problem anyway). My 'organic-ness' has been tested and I won. Losing the tomatoes was bad. Poisoning the ground I walk on every day, the ground that nourishes the food that in turn nourishes my family and all those who are lucky enough to eat produce from Seven Cats Farm would be worse.
2. When something bad happens, I tend to get really bummed. For about a day. Maybe a day and a half. Then I rebound. I will grow tomatoes again. Differently this time, but I'll be doing it differently because of what I learned during this growing process rather than because of the blight.
3. I was relieved to know that I hadn't done anything wrong. I was glad that the death of my tomatoes was because of something totally out of my control.
4. Some people think they know everything and do not listen. I am not one of those people.
5. The blight fungus not only made the tomato stalks brittle, it made them stink. A smell somewhere between cigarette smoke and eucalyptus. It made the cutting down and removal of the plants a bit easier.
6. The oxhearts were the vines that were the first to get the disease. They were also the most susceptible.
7. Farming is a good thing for me. Physically, it gets me up and moving. Emotionally - it allows me to be productive in a wide open, quiet space. I don't have to be nice. The field is my office and there are no 'office politics'. I am serenaded by bees and birds and am protected by dogs. I love the feel of the sun on my skin and even the drizzle of the fog.
The Lovey says that I have earned my farmer stripes. I am now a farmer.