The seedlings of summer are ready for their great transplant. Since February, the farmer has been busy in the greenhouse cultivating many thousands of seedlings. Serving as a bildungsroman, the seeds have grown and gone from row trays and wooden flats to larger jumbo six-packs, two inch and three inch pots and are ready to both be sold and saved for more growth in the field. There are many pages of seed sowings the farmer maintains, both for the farmer to place plants in the field and for the home gardener or budding farmer to take home and produce a harvest of their own.
The heat has come and gone and come again, while the cool New England nights still rear their ugly heads. Hopefully, a blanket keeps us warm at night but the wood stove and vigilance keep the plants in the greenhouse at the right and proper temperature. Some plants are transitioning to the outside world as they sit under a low tunnel of plastic or remay cloth. Like many who transition, it is a personal and private effort, not to be controlled by outside forces or governors. The plants know what they are doing as they establish their root systems, sturdy stems and full leaves. The plants become hardy and ready for the elements of a cool May night and new soil, high winds and grey days. Tomatoes, eggplants, basil, peppers both spicy and mild, sweet and hot are some of the plants readying themselves for a delicious summer harvest. We growers are preparing to send them off to healthy soils, prepared garden beds, rows of raised beds, larger terra cotta pots and even 5-gallon buckets with necessary drainage holes.
For those without 40 acres, a mule or even a sunny spot, the Farm is teaching how to care for a patio tomato plant that fits its name for successful growth on a stoop, balcony or that postage stamp sized patio. By learning how to grow a plant of one’s own, then he or she or the family can hopefully have a yield worthy of merit.
Organically grown seedling starts need not only be for the perennial or first time gardener or longtime farmer. Each person ought to have the right to bear a tomato, watermelon or pumpkin fruit.
Holly Hill is leading workshops on teaching folks seeking equal access, so starting with tomatoes in a bucket is good beginning for anyone hoping and willing to grow their own. Organic produce is often only available at the expensive, high end of the produce aisle or at farmers markets that seem too pricey. But get to know a farmer, try growing a plant and see if there is an organic instinct within you.
Lots of seedlings will be available at Holly Hill’s Annual Plant Sale and many neighborhood plant sales as well. And try giving a plant a chance to grow and yield some tasty produce. One says if you give someone a fish, then they can eat for a day. If you teach a man or woman to fish than he and she can eat for a lifetime. So give or receive a plant and cultivate some vegetables and fruits for a season of nourishment.
© 2016, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm