STOGROW Farm- It’s a jungle out there…
Hey all! The summer is soon coming to a close- it’s already August- yikes! With the end of summer comes the beginning of fall- leaves changing, classes starting, harvest increasing. We started harvesting during July and have continued harvesting with an increase in pounds and variety of vegetables harvested. The first week harvesting included a few pounds of basil and mixed greens. At this point we are harvesting almost everything in the garden- squash, peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, radishes, onions, peas, basil, green beans, and tomatoes. The only crops left are pumpkins and watermelons. The watermelons should be ready within the next few weeks and we’ll be leaving the pumpkins for harvesting a little later this fall.
Besides the excitement of harvesting, we’ve been kept occupied with maintaining the garden and attending to visitors of varying interests and ages. The garden seems to always surprise us with the number of weeds that seem to “pop up,’ especially after a good rain. “Where did those come from? I swear I just weeded that last week…” Getting on top of the weeds is a big task, but we seem to find motivation when the task is at its greatest. (That is, harvesting becomes an even greater chore because the weeds are bigger than the plants and blocking our view of the fruit). So, we get on our hands and knees and start pulling. Amidst the pulling we hear loud screams and quick bursts of noises- the nettles and thistles got one of our farmers again! Four hours later, we seem to have made some progress. Sort of. We bike up to lunch with dirty nails and dirt-crusted ankles, sweat dripping from our brow and our feet and hands still stinging from all those darn nettles.
We’ve had the privilege of hosting several groups at the farm this summer. Quite a few YMCA groups ranging in age from 5-15 years old have come to the garden to take a peek and nibble on some fresh veggies. Other groups included an environmental ethics summer class at St. Olaf, a group of Leaders for Social Change from St. Olaf and McCallister, and a St.Olaf staff retreat of about 50 people. My favorite groups are the YMCA groups- they always have the most interesting comments and questions- “Ew, the chickens poop in the garden?!!!” or “Oh, a radish, I WANT ONE!!!!”; “Do chickens eat humans?”; “CHICKENS!!!! Let’s catch ‘em!!! Can you catch a chicken for us again, please, please, please, PLEASE!” “Are we done yet? Can we play duck-duck gray duck?” As you can see, the kids seem to have a thing with chickens, or perhaps just birds in general. I can tell you that we had to stop them from eating our profits. The green beans and peas were just so yummy apparently.
We will continue harvesting into the school year until the frost intensifies and