Meet your farmers!

Keys have changed hands, seedlings are in the ground, and cut-off shorts have made a rather conspicuous reappearance. That’s right, the Summer 2014 farming season has begun! Taking over for Becca (and following in the footsteps of several wonderful student farmers), are Katie McCrea and the author of this post, Sean Pethybridge. They’re hip, they’re young, they’re casual, and they can’t wait to serve you up a big bag of fresh veggies. Here’s more about them:

Katie is a recent graduate who hails from Fairfield, Connecticut. As a student, she majored in environmental studies, lived in a community-focused theme house, and studied abroad in India. Nowadays, she’s all about bartering, giving meaningful gifts, and preserving heirloom vegetable seeds. Katie also works in the historically accurate Sherfy Garden, which exclusively grows heirloom varieties. Her ravenous appetite for agriculture has led her to intern for local farmers Thom and Judy Marti of Broad Valley Orchard when she is not engaged elsewhere. This summer, she hopes to pick up some Spanish skills and master the weed whacker.

Last Import - 29

Katie, hard at work with a fresh-picked head of tatsoi.

Sean is a rice and beans kind of guy. He is also a member of the Class of 2015, a native of the Garden State, and a history and Italian studies major. His extracurricular involvements include living in Farmhouse, working at the Center for Career Development, and serving as an Italian department peer learning associate. His extra-extracurricular interests are just as varied. Quesadillas are Sean’s bread and butter, and he is likely to be found reading non-fiction or talking about public space when not getting down and dirty in the garden. This summer, he hopes to read a lot, learn even more, and go on a fun field trip or two.

Last Import - 16

Sean, wrestling with the rhubarb.

If you’d like to meet Katie and Sean in the flesh, feel free to stop by the farm. You’re most likely to catch them in the morning, before the afternoon sun, or in the evening, when the frogs begin to sing. They would love to get to know you!

Thank you for reading, and welcome to the Summer 2014 Season.

Farmers’ Market, Round Two

Painted Turtle Farm was a vendor at the Adams County Farmers Market this past Wednesday, located at the Gettysburg Rec Park. It was a rainy day, but we shared a booth with the Hannah and Katie from the Sherfy Farm’s Community Garden and we all had a lovely time socializing and practicing our marketing skills.

Sandra and Oscar's family were so helpful with harvesting, washing, and selling throughout the day.

Sandra and Oscar’s family were so helpful with harvesting, washing, and selling throughout the day.

Sherfy Farm herbs

Sherfy Farm herbs

Practicing our vending skills

Practicing our vending skills

Katie, showing off some squash.

Katie, showing off some squash.

IMG_1243

Victoria pays a visit

Victoria pays a visit

Hopefully we’ll be at market again sometime soon.
-Jasmine

A Search for the Queen

We met Jim at Amazing Heart Farm on Sunday,  with the intent to split Elizabeth’s hive. Splitting can help to get more hives, and thusly increase production, to requeen, or to prevent swarms.

Jim opens the hive after calming them with smoke

Jim opens the hive after calming them with smoke

We first had to go through the hive to see if we could find the queen and if, within the brood, we could spot any queen cells. If we did, we could split the hive. The first couple boxes of frames were mostly just laden with honey.. we may be able to extract once more this season while allowing the bees to have enough honey to live on through the winter.

Pollen is stored in the honeycomb

Pollen is stored in the honeycomb

As we made our way down the hive, we saw some swarm cells as well as a few queen cups. In order to separate the brooding bees from the drones building up comb and harvestable honey, a screen is placed down to keep the queen in the bottom of the hive.

The queen divider screen

The queen divider screen

When conditions are good for swarming, the queen bee will lay eggs in the queen cups, from which virgin queens will hatch. The new queen bees will gain their nutrition from royal jelly, and this difference in diet will ultimately make the bee a sexually mature female, unlike the worker bees.

Swarm cells

Swarm cells

We did not, however, successfully find the queen in the first hive. However in the second hive, and more recent one to Elizebeth’s farm, we did find the queen.

The queen! Can you spot her?

The queen! Can you spot her?

-Jasmine

Picking Up Compost!

One of our less glamorous but most consistent projects this summer is picking up food waste from Servo, the student’s pet name for Gettysburg College’s dining hall. We collect  bags of kitchen scraps about twice a week, hauling them back to the garden on a wagon we attach to my bike. It’s incredible how quickly our compost piles are filling up!

The compost wagon during our morning pickup.

The compost wagon during our morning pickup.

Jasmine, collection the food scraps from servo.

Jasmine, collecting the food scraps from servo.

Adrienne, dumping the scraps into the straw bale compost bin.

Adrienne, dumping the scraps into the straw bale compost bin.

More to come about our connection with the dining hall!

-Jasmine

LIU students pay a visit

A group of eleventh graders came out to the garden yesterday from the LIU Summer Acadamy. On their itinerary was a visit to the food pantry and to the campus kitchen, ending in a stop at Painted Turtle Farm.

After presenting the kids with an array of fresh picked veggies for them to nibble on, Adrienne and I walked them through a simplified lesson on how to build a rainbarrel, how to build and care for a compost pile, as well as giving a brief overview of the different types of raised beds and plants that are in our garden. We then played an interactive game, wherein they placed signs with the names of veggies in the garden, trying to determine what the vegetables look like pre-harvest. Everyone seemed to have a good time! (Though some of the kids were a little less than eager to get their hands dirty while helping with the compost.. haha)

Explaining composting to the students

Explaining composting to the students

A brief rainstorm led to all of the students running for cover into the shed, but in a bit the skies cleared up and we talked about herbs, bugs, and birds, seeing if anyone could identify anything.
Overall it was a truly enjoyable time and Adrienne and I surely enjoyed having the students visit us. They were so enthusiastic.
-Jasmine

Turtle Sighting & A Lesson On Hoophouses

On Thursday, while weeding the community garden and preparing for our marketing workshop, we discovered a painted turtle wandering around in the grass! This is the first time either Adrienne or I had actually seen the namesake animal in the garden, so we were both pretty excited.

Adrienne and our little friend

Adrienne displays our little friend

In addition, I paid a visit to the Marti’s  farm on Sunday to get hands-on experience with putting plastic up on their new hoophouse. I’ve helped a bit on some of the carpentry on this project, so it was really satisfying to see it completed. Plus, it was good practice for when we hopefully get to build our own hoophouse.

The hoophouse (or as Judy likes to call it, the Salad House), from the outside

The hoophouse (or as Judy likes to call it, the Salad House), from the outside

From the inside, after the plastic was in place. You can see the hugelkultur beds on the left that we built a couple years ago.

From the inside, after the plastic was in place. You can see the hugelkultur beds on the left that we built a couple years ago.

-Jasmine

An Abundance of Veggies!

We seem to be able to get a lot of work done when we rise early.

After a long morning of weeding today, we harvested some lovely veggies from the community garden and the kitchen garden at farmhouse. Everything looks so delicious!

Carrots and garlic, harvested from farmhouse

Carrots and garlic, harvested from farmhouse

Beets and radishes, harvested from the community garden

Beets and radishes, harvested from the community garden

We even got some kale and collards to bring back to the house tonight for dinner.

A basket full of fresh greens.

A basket full of fresh greens.

Some updates:

Squash, gourds, pumpkins, and sunflowers are planted under the white fence in front of the garden.

Squash, gourds, pumpkins, and sunflowers are planted under the white fence in front of the garden.

Nearly all the tomatoes are fruiting!

Nearly all the tomatoes are fruiting!

Some of the flowers have begun to bloom!

Some of the flowers have begun to bloom!

Hot peppers

Hot peppers

-Jasmine