© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm
Next Year Is Here
The purple top turnips are practically jumping out of the ground. So much turnip hummus to make. Many carrots are thinned and waiting to grow more sweet after the frost. That frost may still be a fortnight or more away, as farming near the ocean has its benefits. Peck’s Meadow at Holly Hill is full, full of upright broccoli, red berried, black seeded, asparagus fern, cosmos, still lovely smelling thai basil and kale. These hardy Autumn crops are also worth their leaf peeping qualities. The tall, tall jerusalem artichoke, sun choke, sun root crop is about to blossom, and well below the recently soaked soil is a whole lot of tubers which will be good for slicing, stewing and soup come the colder days and evenings.
As I ran the 7th annual Discover the Woods Day 5k with a record number 65 plus kids and adults, I spied out of the corner of my eye, some still red tomatoes on the vine at Ice Pond Meadow. Deer stay clear, there is a tomato mozzarella sandwich or some warm pasta sauce yet to enjoy. Rows of salad mix have germinated and are ready to continue their straight line growth, perhaps holding out for a Thanksgiving table appearance. And we still have not yet turned the soil in the designated garlic beds, for the large cloves to be set in the ground come late October. No, this end of season mentality is pre-mature as there is much work left to do in the fields and at the washstand in the coming weeks and months this bountiful, growing time of year.
With 2014 holding so much work yet to complete, it is hard to believe one eye has been cast to the 2015 growing season at the Farm by Little Harbor, with cool, crisp, morning dew and warm October days. But this is an appropriate and great time, albeit so busy still, for the farmers to reflect on the growing. Which fields were productive? Which crops were demanded for and ably supplied? How many sown crops were successfully reaped? What could grow well next year? Are there more perennials to plant? Where will we spread compost? What will we take to Farmers Market next June? Will some more high schoolers spend more weeks growing produce for the increasing populations at Father Bill’s in Quincy and our close to home Cohasset food pantry? Can the three Cohasset seniors completing community service this semester at the Farm help determine what the soil tests will yield?
The on-line, master blaster crop plan, which the farmer spends many cold winter months preparing and planning (and summer months referring to), is now being poured over to see where crops can be rotated, which crops will go where and how many successions of arugula, lettuce, kale and chard are feasible from April to September. There is an equally intense, elaborate excel, computer plan for the seeds sown in the greenhouse/hoophouse come March. Time to order soil, said seeds and think about where to cut back some field edges for sunlight and firewood. No shortage of work, thought, discussion and action needing to occur.
Though a dear, tall, farm intern departs for barns and farms on other land, the crew here will grind away and use the majority of daylight for field work and lamp light for desk top thinking, scheming and organizing. The teachers too will engage in the year past and the year to come, focused on folks who will hopefully come to the farm to grow more and those who have come already and learned a good deal.
William Blake wrote that fall is the time for harvest. Yes indeed, harvest and so much more. We can pause, atone for any mistakes and begin anew. Happy New Year! Time to collect seeds to dry and tuck away, as spring follows winter which comes after an awfully full autumn. Plant, grow, harvest, repeat.