Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Hurry Up and Wait

There is so much to do at this time of year. The tomatoes are ripe, some are even splitting open with joy. Some tomatoes are so ripe, they are considered seconds and therefore are ready for making sauce. Canning is a large undertaking with glass jars and the strains of Greg Brown running through my mind, “Taste a little bit of Summer, my grandma put it all in jars.” The weeds too are prolific, large and quite tall. But if time allows, several farmers at once, working together can clear a path to the bed, then clear more weeds from the bed, thus freeing the desired crop to flourish. The hidden cucumbers are plentiful with little spikes that give one pause. The yellow squash are easy to spot amidst green leaves and stems. Potatoes too are hidden underground, protected until many school hands can go digging for them. Salad greens and arugula that have made it through the intense heat seem to prosper in this fog, rain and mist. Flowers stand tall and beckon for like minded beauties to gather in a vase in a symphony, under the orchestration of an owner’s careful eye. So many crops are coming to fruition and preparing for an autumn harvest. Leeks, carrots, ongoing kale, soon to be ready spinach and beets are in for the slowly light dimming days. How does a farmer tackle these many tasks and joyful, hard endeavours? One at a time, as one must think back to a chilly greenhouse when the tomatoes were sown in 17 year old wooden box flats. The weeds, when pulled, will yield many more opportunities for growing as the summer continues until September 21st or so.

school garden hingham MS 2015And the teachers, with their short summer in the rear view mirror, are in the classrooms with lesson plans, fish tanks, class lists, stacks of books and plenty of ideas. They have hurried back to their rooms, but still have some time to wait and think and formulate plans and connections. Several middle school enthusiasts from Hingham spent several hours testing soil, building new farm garden beds, filling with soil, amending with lime and planting chard and spinach for their students to examine and taste in a month’s time. How terrific it is to host elementary school kids at the Farm and teach with them in their garden, but how innovative and equally important to collaborate with motivated teachers and students to continue the good work of growing, learning and tasting too. We hurried to set in those plants and seeds and now must wait for them to grow and for kids to finish their summer reading, beach digging of their own and swaying perhaps on a hammock. Many school gardens are awaiting plans for weeding, compost to happen and beds to prepare. The garlic waits for bread and October planting. The seaweed has yet to wash on the shore so as to be collected for to feed and protect the soil.

The lists go on as this time of year, like many times, feels overwhelmingly rich in harvest, ideas, renewal and anxiousness wondering if it will all be done. Let’s go then to the weeds and the farm rows, do some work and stop to let the juice of a sun gold tomato run down our chin. Let’s meet and plan how many students will plant lettuce, while enjoying a kale smoothie. Hurry up and enjoy, there is much to do and many hours yet to sit and wait and reflect.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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