Harvest day… half day at work.
We pulled carrots, cut lettuce and rocket, picked cukes and herbs!
New farm term “Meristem”. Where growth in a plant takes place. In a cabbage type plant it is a the base of the plant. In a stalk type plants, like tomatoes, the meristem is typically located at the intersection of the stalk and a branch.
When cutting lettuces you can take the first cut down to… just above the meristem and a second growth (and sometimes more bitter) of lettuce will follow.
Learned crazy amounts of information over the last couple of days.
Don’t know where to start… ok… Hmmmm…
– There are lots of people from all around the world volunteering here. Everyone is very nice and friendly and I am learning from them too. My weed pulling partner today was Oliva from Australia. Olivia is a horticulturalist and has been sharing her vast knowledge of plants and bugs with me. She has identified lady bug larvae (see below). Ladybug will eat their weight 3x over in aphids, daily!
– At The Grange farmers refer to self seeded plants like stray ground cherries, or tomatoes, lettuces as “volunteers” and they are typically pulled out or treated as weeds.
– This farm’s soil was engineered specifically for this site (see below). It drains wells and there are few to no weed. The farm is an acre and a half and 4 people could weed the entire farm in about an hour or two. That is SOOOOO fast.
– There is a program at the farm that sees refugees come one day a week. This wonderful team if five men and women learn skills, acquire “green knowledge” and help out with the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) and farmer’s market, which makes them more competitive for jobs in the workplace… and of course I imagine that it makes them feel better about themselves too! Works for me.
– First thing in the morning the Farm manager makes a “to do” list. You “pick” a task, you “tick” it off the list and then you perform the task. The lists are long!
– Most days starts at 8 a.m… Tuesdays and Fridays the start time is 6:30 a.m. or earlier… a sunrise harvest!
Getting here yesterday was a nightmare. The flight was delayed. The first delay was due to thunderstorms in New York. Then we were further delayed because our flight crew had exceeded their time in either Canada or the US and had to pass through customs. So we all had to get off the aircraft – where we were waiting for the weather to clear- with all of our stuff while the crew went and did their thing at border patrol.
After a 2+ hour delay we were on our way. Phew!
Oh the story is not over. My very graciously friend and host offered to pick me… to which I accepted. (Thank you KAS. You are so sweet) But the summer heat over warmed the car and we were smoking and clanning and banging and then the car died. Many kind NYerd pulled over to offer help, which included the advise “… roll up your window and lock the doors until help arrives, this is a really bad neighborhood”.
But alas my über friend fixed the car! Wow! We were saved!
No… not really. We broke down again on the freeway. Fast cars zooming by… We got out of the car and waited on the grassy shoulder behind the guardrail while we waited for a tow truck.
The truck showed up about 1 hour 15 later only to tell is that this part of the city/freeway was not his territory.
My friend was super calm… me not so much.
After much debate and… getting the car started again, the tow truck driver agreed to follow us off and to the next exit… into the other truck’s territory.
So we called roadside assistance again. Not being able to communicate our whereabouts and the idea of waiting another hour plus (now it is raining) we chose to abandon the car (actually we just parked it).
The car presently sits where we stood last night waiting for a taxi… at “Perfection”… A Gentleman’s showbar… No shirt, no hat, no baggy pants, no kidding, no entry.
After getting picked up and then subsequently sitting in traffic for a short while, I laid my head to rest at 2:00 a.m on a wonderfully comfy bed, in a lovely home… A perfect end!
Today my farming adventure is taking me to Brooklyn, New York. Yup, my road show is going international. In Brooklyn I will be volunteering at Brooklyn Grange (rooftop farm) http://www.brooklyngrangefarm.com for one month.
I want to thank Jay for his support and love. He has encouraged me to pursue this project… really all my crazy projects! Without him I couldn’t even think of doing this. Jay – I am going to miss you BIG TIME… and I Love you more than you will ever know!
I expect that I will be blogging for the next little while on my phone and that my access to free wifi will be pretty limited. You can expect that there will be lots of spelling/grammar mistakes and probably more pictures than words posted in the weeks to come. Thanks for your understanding.