to Fedco’s 35th Year!
We’ve seen a lot of changes in 35 years, but
we are still here for the same basic reason. We love our work with
seeds on our gardens and farms!
My 40th serious garden/farm season, the fourth in
Colrain, MA, was in many ways my best ever, despite its periods
of strange weather. March, eerie in its uncharacteristic warmth,
the first three weeks of April bone dry, May cold and wet, and June
the longest period of unbroken sustained heat that I have ever experienced.
Then, following two months of near-drought, September surprised
with its cool moisture and early frost.
On Apr. 22 we were blessed with a 2" rainfall
that signaled the clear demarcation between early spring’s
weirdness and late spring’s unpredictable normality and provided
the defining moments of my season. Proving the old adage that timing
is everything, that most welcome storm assured that I would enjoy
robust stands of all the spring crops I had sowed in the prior two
weeks. Keeping them all thinned would prove a bigger challenge than
getting them established.
So conditions proved ideal for my spring trials and
just as optimal for the summer crops that I pushed out earlier than
I normally do in May, taking advantage of its adequate moisture
to get them well started, and then of June’s steady but always
bearable heat to accelerate their growth. By the time mid-June’s
dry spell rolled around, all were deep-rooted and would later show
little distress even when tested by more severe drought.
Not everyone was so fortunate. Excessive spring rains
inundated many Maine growers and kept them off their fields till
way late. Two freezes early in May beleaguered orchardists, devastating
fruit production in trees that had developed way too fast in the
accelerated spring. Growers in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic parched
with insufferable dry heat and watched their crops shrivel. While
the tomatoes that ripened in our sunny dry August were unusually
flavorful and spared from any late blight, growers in other areas
not so far away lost their crops prematurely to that scourge.
In the end I am left with pleasant memories of summer
squash and cucumbers that ripened weeks earlier than they ever had
for me in Maine, of Sun Golds on the 4th of July, and of delectable
vine-ripe melons that began as early as August 6 and refreshed me
all through that steamy month. Most of our seed growers appear to
have enjoyed similar luck. Their ultimate harvest is reflected in
this catalog of unparalleled bounty for our 35th year, an abundance
of riches we are thrilled to share with you.