Things got switched around a bit today: we started with something other than weeding. Pre-teens from GIAC came to visit, so we decided to put their time to good use by helping us weed. The rest of us continued with the task of trellising our many tomato plants. Some of the tomatoes needed stakes and others needed stringing. After break, we harvested hot peppers, ochre, kale, collards, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and summer squash.
Once we were done with all of this, we just about finished up the major weeding. Unfortunately, we are going to go back through and re-weed a lot of the rows that had initially been cleared so that the weeds won't grow back again when we lay down straw.
This morning a photographer from the Ithaca Times and a journalist from the Ithaca Journal visited the farm. Keep an eye out for this press coverage! When they came, we were in full swing with our morning weeding duties and having a little more fun with it than usual. There was a lot of cross-communication between rows and two people even had a weed-filled wheel-barrel race towards the compost pile. I think everyone is really starting to come together as a group.
After break, we got a lot of planting done. What went in were watermelon, diakon radishes, pickling cucumbers, napa, watefield, and red cabbage. Those who weren't planting were either weeding within the leek bed or trellacing another row of tomato plants.
Because we will be low on staff during the next week due to both Dan and Ann going on vacations, we are asking that volunteers from the community join us Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday this week from 9-1 and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday of next week from 9-1 as well. Thanks!
Hooray for Rain! (says the farmer)
Although it stormed for most of the day, which stopped us from finishing a lot of what we had planned on getting done, we still accomplished a great deal today.
Before the rain came, we weeded in a very unorganized fashion. Although some people did some great work, we decided that next time it will be better to stick with the groups for this task. After break, one group worked on getting some lettuce starts going. Another group transplanted dill, but didn't quite get to the pickling cucumbers, beets, and pole beans that were meant to go in before the rain. The last group started clearing large rocks out of the upper field so that we can keep planting up there too.
Lots and lots of fingerlings
With the clouds patchy in the sky, some threatening to pour rain and some that looked happy and fluffy, the farm crew worked wonders once again.
In the morning, we started off with a word game and then split up into new groups per the request that was made on Friday. In the morning, one of the groups used scuttle hoes to clean up some of the smaller weeds in the U-pick section of the farm so that we can lay down some straw there soon. Another group weeded around the summer squash. The final group continued trellacing the tomatoes.
After break, the work continued with one group planting beets, cilantro, and a field mix of lettuce. Another group continued the much-needed weeding. The other group planted six 100 ft rows of fingerlings potatoes! Although it’s a little late to plant tomatoes, we’re hoping they do well anyway.
Today was a nice day for farming, and once again we got a lot done! In the morning, we started out with a little game of catch phrase to get everyone’s minds ready to start work. We separated in our groups of three right away. The tasks were weeding thistles over at the far end of the farm, staking tomatoes, and preparing lettuce, collards, and kale starts.After our usual twenty-minute break at 11:00, one group measured out remay and cut it into strips to cover the brasica plants. Remay is a fabric-like sheet that covers some of the leafy vegetables. This is an organic farming method used to reduce the chances of the crops being eaten by insects. The other groups planted beets and strung up tomato twine.
Thursday is the day that we harvest for the Congo Square Market, since the market is held on Friday. Today we were able to harvest kale, a bunch of zucchini and summer squash, plus collards and parsley.
Our First Group of Visitors
After a brief talk on tardiness and responsibility, such as how everyone should strive to be the kind of worker that has drive towards the final product instead of just doing one task at a time and then waiting to be given a new task, we got to work on the farm. The weather today was a lot cooler than it has been lately and started out with mist that turned into an on and off rain. However, we were able to work right through! Tasks included weeding in the morning, and then one group planted carrot seeds while another planted and watered basil. The last group finished putting up the tomato posts.
Another cool thing that happened today is that members of a class on sustainable food systems visited the farm. The class included students run through Groundswell from IC, TC3, and Cornell. After getting an overview of the farm and a background on the Youth Farm Project they helped us out by weeding between some of the beds.
More Weeding, Carrots, and Beans
It finally got a little cooler today! It was in the 80’s instead of 90-100. This made the work go a lot faster and we accomplished more because we weren’t stopping for water as much. We started off with our usual introductions and then got to work in the three groups. Morning is the best time to weed so we got started with that first. We weeded on either side of the carrot bed so that we could plant carrots later on in the day. Sure enough, we finished the weeding we started on before break!
After eating some homemade pickles and sharing some laughs during break, we headed back out on the field. One group took on cutting wood and putting up more pole bean teepees, another group readied one of the beds for carrots and started planting carrots. The last group cleaned up in the parking lot and then planted leeks and dragon lingerie, which is a bean. I think we all felt pretty accomplished by the end of the day, and time seemed to fly!
Another Successful Scorcher
For the second day at the farm we played some name games and I’m pretty sure we all know each others’ names already!
Today, we started off with weeding and got a couple more rows done. After break, team leaders were assigned and three groups were formed. One group was assigned the task of planting leeks, another group pounded posts in one of the tomato beds, and the last group made tepee pole bean structures. This was nice for two reasons: one, we weren’t weeding, and two, each group had a smaller, more manageable task so they were able to work together as a team.
Today was another scorcher, probably reaching into the high 90’s, and yet we got almost all that we needed to done. With about one hour left in the day, one of the groups began to harvest food for the Congo Square Market. We harvested a few heads of lettuce, some kale, collard greens, zucchini, parsley, and basil. It turned out that an hour wasn’t really enough to harvest all that we wanted to, but we can adjust that next week.
First Day for the Paid Youth!
Today was the first official work day! We have a really great group of 18 teens getting paid to work on the farm this summer, and we will have some volunteers trickling in as well (Today we had LACS students Jintana and Francesca, our youngest farmers). We started off by introducing ourselves and then played a couple of games to get to know each other better. The first game we played was a sort of musical chairs. Instead of being "out", the person who gets caught without a seat must say something about themselves. Anyone else for whom the statement is also true must then stand up and move to another seat. Next, we played "Two Truths and a Lie", where one person tells two truths and a lie about themselves and others must guess which is the lie.
Next, Ann gave a history of Three Swallows Farm leading up to it being a youth-run farm today. Dan then gave a timeline of this growing season and described all of the hard work it has taken to get the gardens to where they are now. After a quick tour of the farm and a popsicle treat, it was time to get our hands dirty!
As we darrive at the farm, we all saw that the garden was full with lots of lush, green plants. Unfortunately, not much of what we were looking at were actually crops. Today, we set out to change this and were successful in weeding three whole rows in one 100° afternoon! This is a testament to how hard-working and motivated our group is.
Good News and Bad News
Today was the last Sunday work day (next week is July 4th). The four-day-a-week schedule will start on Wednesday, July 7th.
Most of the plants are in the ground now, so workers have moved on to the next stage: weeding. Today's crew did plant beans and radish seeds in a few rows, but they spent most of the morning weeding out the thistles and grasses that are sprouting in the beds.
The bad news is that the water pump that is supposed to run the drip tape irrigation system is broken. Replacing it will be costly, but fixing this problem is of utmost importance to the plants so it will be taken care of one way or another ASAP.
On the other hand, the good news is that things are growing wonderfully! The U-pick flower garden is getting to be very colorful, and tomatoes are ripening on the vines. The electric fencing is completely set up as well.