Week Five

The heat has arrived. Not the most profound observation, I know, but it’s the truth and that’s good enough for me. Katie, Sarah Beth, and I have been heading to the farm at 8:00 am to avoid the sun’s midday intensity. By 11:00, beads of sweat threaten to run down our foreheads, our shadows have begun to disappear, and we’ve already taken a water break or two. We hold out for another hour or so before retreating to CPS or home, our skin hot and our tans deepened (the three of us have developed some rather unsightly tan lines.). We might start setting our alarms for 7:00, or perhaps even earlier, as the summer winds its way into July. Many a Gettysburgian has warned us of the seventh month’s oppressive heat. I’ll think of this past week as conditioning for what waits around the corner.

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Volunteers weeding the walk-paths.

The evenings, however, have been pleasant. The farm abuts the eastern side of Oak Ridge, whose shadow begins to creep across the main plot around 5:30, ushering in a heady coolness and a sweet prelude to nighttime.  A few dozen friends experienced the farm in this state on Monday evening during our first potluck of the season. What a success it was! About 75 CSA members, community residents, farmers, and students joined us. We caught up with old friends, made several new ones, and piled our plates high with delicious food. A handful of children even performed a feat of magic by turning our pile of mushroom compost into a slide! Maybe they’ll make all of the weeds disappear during our next potluck, to be held a few weeks from now.

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Weeding the Swiss chard.

Until then, we will rely on ourselves and on our volunteers to keep the weeds at bay. Just this morning we hosted a group of Baltimore-based high school students who are on a weekend retreat at the Lutheran Seminary. Their twenty-six hands made swift work of our weed-ridden walk-rows, which are always the last part of our garden to be cleared. Weeds are awfully good at their job, however, and the walk-rows will soon return to their previous state if we don’t keep on top of them.

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A portion of the weekly harvest.

I just realized that I have thus far failed to mention the rock stars of PTF. They’re pretty darn hip, incredibly young (we’re talking a few weeks old), and much more casual than I’ll ever be. That’s right, I’ve failed to talk about our crops! I could devote hours (pages, days…) to describing the garden, but I need to cook dinner, so I hope the highlights will suffice. Our lettuce have grown into human-sized heads, while our kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower plants are of such size that their leaves obstruct the walk-rows. Cilantro is so abundant that hints of it perfume the wind, and our tomato and pepper plants have even begun to bear fruit! We might need to invest in bigger bags for our weekly CSA pickups if everything continues to grow at this rate.

That’s about all for this week. Thank you for reading­, and we hope to see you again soon!

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