End of June

We weeded, we seeded, we defeated. We also read a lot, but the rule of threes and respect for proper grammar kept me from writing “we readed.” Anyway, we’ve done all that and more in the eleven days since my last update.
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Erin and some of her students hard at work.

On Friday the 27th, PTF hosted a group of high school students from the Migrant Education Program, where fellow Heston intern Erin O’Connor is working this summer. The 20 or so 15 to 17 year olds stumbled off their bus around 9:30 and tromped to the garden. As we do with all students, we put them to work. Nothing says TGIF like sweaty brows and dirty hands, right? Fortunately for these young’uns, our volunteers from the previous Saturday weeded with such zeal that little work remained for them. So when the rows were cleared⎯after half an hour, I kid you not⎯we went on a tour. Most of them snacked on our kale and Swiss chard, while only an adventurous few tried our fiery arugula. Yes, it really is that hot. Other than leafy greens, our carrots and cilantro were crowd pleasers. The students also harped on our lack of jalapenos and habaneros.
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A student bites into a freshly picked carrot.

Spicy peppers will have to wait until next season, but pumpkins and more beets and carrots are in the cards. Well, they’re actually in the ground. Their seeds are, that is. They should emerge in a few weeks, and the beets and carrots (some of which will be purple!) will be fully grown by mid-September. Our pumpkins will take a little longer, an even 4 months. The seed packet warned that they could grow in excess of 100 pounds, so hopefully we’ll have gorgeous yet immovably heavy pumpkins ready for Halloween.
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The Swiss chard is almost ready!

We’ve also been doing our fair share of reading. We started with Kristin Kimball’s The Dirty Life, a memoir whose popularity has continued to increase since its 2010 publication. In it, Kimball recounts her initial, dizzying forays into farming and her ensuing transformation from city-chick to farmwoman. She traded her Greenwich Village apartment and freelancing gigs for a run-down farm and a husband, with whom she now runs one of the nation’s first full-diet CSAs. Her journey is remarkable, and her husband’s antics make for great lessons regarding rattraps, the Amish, and getting into farming. Next on our list is Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, which Elizabeth recommended to us. Berry is sort of a grandfather figure within the small-farm movement, so it was only a matter of time before we read his works. He also wrote the foreword for Masanobu Fukuoaka’s The One-Straw Revolution. That’s on our list, too.
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Our Ruby Perfection cabbage is living up to its name.

With luck,  I’ll have another post for you within ten days rather than eleven. Until then, we’ll be weeding, reading, and (hopefully!) defeating some rather persistent insects. Thanks for stopping by!
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