Thursday, May 16, 2013

Plants as a Bridge

I know I've been terrible about blogging this season. It makes me sad, because other than the weird tan lines left by early summer sunburns, this is the best record I have of what happened in the garden. And I like to think that someone out there might read it and misses me when I'm gone.

So, let me start off by saying my day job has been keeping me busy, and I like to rest on the bus rather than blog. That being said, I have some things to say today.

An acquaintance I have through my work and I got to talking a few months ago about gardening. It turns out that her dad was quite the horticulturalist before he passed away and that her mom carries on with an amazing garden now that he is gone. We agreed to do a bit of plant exchange. I gave her mom some of the heirloom tomatoes that I started from seed, and she gave me some awesome Vietnamese herbs in return.

I am SO happy to have these herbs. First, they are beautiful and they smell so good. But more than that, I am reminded that trading ideas and experiences with plants as well as the plants themselves does something amazing. It opens up this avenue of common experience between people that I have never had with anything else. The best cross cultural (and cross generational) interactions I've ever had center around finding this common language of plants (or farm animals). People who love plants love to talk about them to EVERYONE (really. You can interrupt me doing just about anything to talk about plants and I will be thrilled to talk to you). There's this light that suffuses a plant lover's face as they tell you about something they grow, and their desire to share it can overcome language, accent, age.

I adore plants and the people who grow them. The end.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

A whole new blog!




People, this is revolutionary. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be true. I forgot that my credit card accumulates points, and by the time I remembered, I had stored up a LOT of points. So I now have an iPad that takes pictures and a teeny little attached keyboard





. This means that I can type posts WAY faster, and hopefully attach photos on the regular!! Just to prove it, here are some late fall garden photos.









Monday, July 9, 2012

A heart full of love

Every year, sometime between transplanting and the craziness of harvest, I start to think that it is not going to work out, that nothing will grow into food, that everything has gone horribly wrong. Then I realize that there is a five gallon bucket full of potatoes on the kitchen floor, that we have been eating green beans for weeks, that the hammock is full of curing onions (good thing it is way too hot to swing in it myself), that those two cloth sacks full of garlic make for a LOT of garlic, that I can eat as many tomatoes as I want and there are still enough left over for canning, and that despite the appearance that it is knocking on death's door the cucumber are steadily growing, I realize that it worked out again this year. I have food!!! AND it is raining. I feel happy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

What a great day! A day off in the middle of the week made for good fun and good farming. I finally harvested the onions; they are drying on the hammock. This system seemed to work pretty well last year, and we never got around to making something a bit less.....holey for this year, so hammock it is! I also harvested two types of garlic and shallots. One type of garlic made very small heads, so I think I will plant more of the second type next year. Then we biked to the Eno Festival for some food and music. We also learned that we can download plans for a screech owl house on the Piedmont Wildlife Center's website, so maybe we will try to attract a screech owl next spring. Then bike home and harvest POTATOES. If you have read previous posts, you know I love potatoes. I pretty near filled up a five gallon bucket of these wonderful things, even though all of my plants succumbed to a terrible disease this year. Secretly I am pleased that this means I get to procure all new seed potatoes next year. I like trying new things. Happy 4th, everyone!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

A beautiful day

Could it be more perfect? I left work a bit early today to attend a meeting of the Durham Food Prosperity Council, which I help organize. We had a guest speaker, Durham City Council member Steve Schewel, who spoke to us about how to get involved in policy advocacy at the local level. I am very excited about the prospect of getting more involved in local food policy work, for I love me some wonky dorkiness.

Then I checked my email and found out that I have been accepted to the undergrad certificate program in horticulture at NC State!!! Yay! I am excited to be going back to college to study something that can help me be a better farmer.

And now I am blogging from my farm. It is 73 degrees, which might be unheard of for late May in North Carolina. It is just beautiful outside and I am so happy to have some quiet time out here to look and love without digging or weeding or planting or mulching or running drip irrigation lines. I plan to be out here some this weekend getting some of that done, and I will be happy doing it, but it is also wonderful to sun myself and just sit here and appreciate all of the hard work my friends came out and did last week whipping this farm into shape. Thank you, friends! Your work is much appreciated!



Monday, February 20, 2012

The seasons go round like a wheel

It's been nearly six months without blog contact. To catch us all up, Durham had a wildly mild winter. Them, last night, it snowed. But don't worry. It will be over 60 degrees out tomorrow and 70 by Wednesday. The floating row covers and the plastic tunnel experiments worked a bit, but not nearly so well as I was hoping. It was difficult to keep the plastic where it belonged, and the row covers are too much a pain in the tush to get under. But it is possible that these things extended the growing season. It is hard to tell because the winter was so warm that things grew even outside of the season extenders!
On to spring news:
The peas are in. I planted them on Saturday. Also seeded in is a very exciting experiment. My massage therapist and I share a love of gardening and she gave me Italian arugula seeds. I have decided I love European seed packets. This one is quite informative without being overwhelming.
More greens will go in this coming weekend.
Soil prep has been done with a fun new tool this year. I'm using a broad fork I received as a Christmas gift from my in laws. It is awesome to use and hopefully it will do good things for the garden.
Seed starting will begin in earnest in a couple of weeks indoors. I think I might have 10 different types of tomato seeds...thank you Baker Creek for throwing in one more as a free gift with my order! It is always fun to try something new.
The BIGGEST news ever is that we have expanded our urban landholdings, and........we will be putting in an urban orchard NEXT WEEK!!!! The orchard was designed and will be installed by Bountiful Backyards (Will and I will wield shovels as well in an effort to be helpful!). I cannot express in words how very excited I am about the orchard and the chance to work with BB.
I will wrap it up with the animals. My cat has yet to kill a vole. My 2012 bee attempt will begin (with two hives) in late April. I think I have learned enough at the wonderful Orange County Beekeepers Association's bee school to keep them around this year! I also have a house for mason bees (another thankful shout out to Anne and Tom) that I will hang on the front porch. The fowl are doing well and laying regularly and have been for about two weeks now. I am hoping to add two more ladies to the flock sometime this spring.