Time to get growing

Posted on March 21, 2012


Backyard crocusesIt’s as if the universe, in all of her majesty, somehow knows that a) it is my birthday (week), b) it is my Spring Break, and c) I’m itching to get down and dirty in the Learning Garden. The weather has been absolutely glorious up here in the Northeast, and I’m trying to take advantage of the time “off” before the last few weeks of my graduate studies simultaneously take over my life and come to a close.

Garlic planted in the fallI recently met up with the new education and volunteer coordinator, who oversees my position, at Waltham Fields Community Farm to discuss plans for this year’s growing season. I’m very excited about this season in particular not only because of the farm-to-restaurant side project, but also because of my ability to truly give the time and energy I want to give to the garden this summer; last year was pretty wild, and the year prior I came on late and wasn’t involved in any sort of planning (nor was planning really part of the job). From our chat, it seems like we’ll be on schedule with getting the greenhouse-within-the-(broken)-greenhouse set up and spring crops started, both in trays and beds.

Dried up fennel and leavesEven more, I left our conversation feeling confident that more strategic and organic growing techniques such as intercropping, the application of natural, homemade pesticides and physical bug deterrents, rainwater collection, bed building, successive planting, and seed saving, will be employed this year. We’ve been composting and rotating crops each year that I’ve worked and used some cover crops (oats, field peas, and forage radishes) this fall, but we really want to make the garden a better learning space for adults (think organic home garden workshops, which the farm offers) as well as for children’s programming. Maximizing the potential for the garden to produce healthy food in addition to serving as an educational tool is critical to its long-term success, and I feel more than ready for the challenge this year.

Here are a few shots I took this week (hover over them with the cursor to see a description):

Tangled up rose bush and blackraspberry canesIrisesWhat remains of the winter cover cropsLearning Garden: pre-season (March 2012)