Farm, Journal, Update

“Like drilling through an asteroid”

Chiseled off a chunk of ground

Chiseled off a chunk of ground

I tried pulling plastic last week. And when I say “tried” I mean I felt like I was trying to drill a hole through an asteroid with Bruce Willis. We are 3″ below the average rainfall for the month of October. Ordinarily I would use the electric tractor from the student farm to lift the edges of the plastic, which saves a lot of labor on your back. Once the edges are exposed then you simply pull the plastic and drip down the length of the bed. Being that the ground was a concrete block, the tiny motor on the electric tractor burned out trying dig through the ground. OK, shovel time!!! I was at the north end of the bed ready to throw my entire body weight on the top of the shovel to get it in the ground and just as I leapt from the ground, smashing into the 1″ diameter of the head of the shovel, it ricocheted of the top of the ground and soon I was laying flat on my back. Yes, digging was not going to be an option. I regrouped, looking around to make sure no one saw me then tried again. The shovel didn’t even make it one inch into the ground. I ended up asking a farmer to come help me with a shovel implement. This was the hardest time I have ever had during clean up. I am hoping when the farmers go to chisel the field there isn’t a bunch of garbage buried beneath the earth’s crust!

Parsnips

Parsnips

IMG_1495The only thing left in the field after harvesting the last bed of parsnips, broccoli and kale. After waiting what seemed like FOR-EV-R for the parsnips to be ready, I finally dug them out yesterday. I was disappointed with how they turned out. I had high hopes for these because they are one of my favorite vegetables. Unfortunately, they turned out similar to the carrots in that they were quite spindly. This could not have been caused by weeds because the bed was completely weed free. By the time they were in the ground everything slowed down including weed growth (one of my favorite times of the year) :). I’ve thought about this and I’m pretty sure that because they were grown in cells their root systems became twisted before they could be planted in the field. That plus slow to non existent germination I am not sure that I will try this crop again.

Tractors!!!

Tractors!!!

I mowed down the broccoli patch yesterday after harvesting almost 40 lbs of beautifully sour smelling florets. (Sour in a good cabbagey way). Every time I am on a tractor with a bucket I can’t help but sing “I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero til’ the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight”. Anyway, luckily there are no other tractors in sight so I don’t also have to fight the urge to play chicken. I got off on a Footloose tangent…… back to broccoli… I mowed down the beds which made it easier to pull up the landscape fabric. The date has been set to go back into the kitchen and next week will be my final farm blog post. I might try to hijack the blog back to show you the other side of the the spectrum. What happens when the food is harvested and goes into the kitchen?

Beautiful Broccoli

Beautiful Broccoli

Advertisements
Standard
Farm, Journal, Update

Kale’s Not Done Yet

After the excitement of planting my own cover crop last Monday I took the rest of the week off from our little farm project. I had a multiple course alumni dinner Friday night, so it was nice to focus on just that event.

Now that the tomatoes, peppers and green beans are out I went by today to examine what I had left. I ended up harvesting 33# of chard and 10# of spinach, both of which were absolutely beautiful.photo (1) I’m not sure if you remember, but the spinach was planted by some sweet volunteers from the fraternity I cook for. They were so excited to see the final product walk through the door and couldn’t wait to taste it.

By some miraculous turn of events, the kale has made a comeback. Maybe it took leaving it alone for a month?? Who knows?? Since we promoted it so heavily at the beginning of the school year I am very glad that we can get another harvest out of it before the season is finished.photo

I had my second to last class of the Beginning Farmer’s Program this past Saturday. I am so sad to see it coming to an end. While we were in small groups discussing business plans and marketing, it came up how it is very hard to make money as a small vegetable farmer unless you find your perfect niche market and it is also incredibly labor intensive. One person in the discussion group even said, “and why are we doing this again??”. I sat there for a minute and thought to myself how fortunate I am to work for a company who provides me personal security while sharing the same dreams and interests. People do this for passion and the love of good food. I did laugh to myself thinking how I was an art major in college, switching to hospitality (because I didn’t think I could make a successful career out of it) and then ending up in culinary and farming, sitting in a class listening to a guest speaker say how hard it is to make this work. I love a challenge :).

Standard
Farm, Journal, Update

Helping Hands

What a crazy couple of weeks it has been. I finally feel as though I have settled into somewhat of a routine and have things back under control. We are harvesting Sundays and Wednesday mornings (very early mornings I might add) and I am able to sneak away in the late afternoons to do farm maintenance; mowing weed eating etc. I was even able to take Saturday afternoon off to watch my beloved South Carolina Gamecocks play 🙂

We had some very exciting things happen in the last week. I’m sure it seems as though I say this every week, but this week was special. I had two (somewhat coerced) boys from the fraternity come and help me plant on Friday. I mentioned in last week’s blog that the heat completely scorched my little seedlings so I was under a lot of pressure to get the beds replanted before it got too close to the frost date for this year. Not only were they happy to come, but they did a fantastic job!!helpers They planted two 173ft beds with three rows a piece in under two hours with smiles on their faces. I couldn’t help but grin the entire time with sheer pride knowing that these boys will go back and tell the rest of the house how they planted the spinach they will be eating in 4-6 weeks. My goal is to get them to become invested in the project, as my coworkers have, especially because they are the ones reaping the benefits! I have to give a huge thanks to Connor Anderson and Drew Posen! Thank you Thank you Thank you! 🙂

In other news, Kevin and I once again had a huge harvest this weekend. We got another 200 lbs of tomatoes and peppers. We also harvested the last of our kale that had not been damaged by disease and insects. I started the kale in the greenhouse back in March so we had a nice long season and a great harvest from it throughout the summer.

kale-and-tomato-composite

I am very excited to announce that our baby lettuce mix will have its first harvest on Wednesday. We will be doing our first cutting off of our first bed and thus starts the baby-salad-greens6 weeks of using our own grown spring mix. I am super pumped about this considering I have already ordered and served close to 80# of salad mix since the start of the semester. It will be nice to say that it is our own.
Standard