Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Plants that Grow

With a narrow path to the high tunnel hoop house (doubling as a greenhouse) thru the ice and snow, the farmer sows the seeds. That was February, this is May and now these seeds, some thirty thousand, are making their way to people’s homes, community garden plots and to our growing fields.  They have been watered, nurtured and cared for as the temperatures have risen and fallen. The sun has shined down to help them grow. Though the leaves have leafed out on the tall leaning tree that shades the greenhouse, the plants thrive.  Many have decamped to the outdoors, where they can adjust to the cooler temps at night. Trays of onions await their placement, to be all lined up in neat arrays, columns and rows for a hopeful July harvest. Tomato, pepper and eggplant growers who cannot wait for Memorial Day have and will heal in their plants for an early BLT, pasta sauce or just plain eating like an apple. There are red, yellow, purple and green ripe tomoatoes destined for enjoyment. Nadia and Clara eggplant may sit side by side for variety (and friendship) sake. Peppers range from green to red sweet peppers on the vine to habanero, serrano, jalapeno peppers awaiting tomatillos and spicy salsa for the soul. Let it grow, let it grow, as the song ought to say.

seedling closeupThere are also seedlings that will find their way, in the hatches and backs of teacher station wagons, to schools where children, teachers and disbelieving adults can daily see the crops unfold and bear fruit.  Oh the eyes have it when potatoes can be placed flesh down and one second grader in Spring can only imagine the yield next Autumn as a third grader when he or she goes to dig and discover. Kale will start small and keep up production all Summer, giving great, healthy leaves and possible, future kale chips to one and all. Even corn will make an appearance. And though it may not be as high as an elephant’s eye come the fourth of July, the cobbs will be fun to pop, mix into cornbread and save for seed next year. It will likely be accompanied by two sisters, climbing bean and sprawling squash.  Together they will grow and support one another, all the while organically suppressing weeds and economizing space.  Little farm gardens may just about be everywhere. Sometimes these gardens of carrots, broccoli and flowers are meant for the enjoyment and tending of children.  And given this bit of earth, they will cultivate a potentially life long interest in sustainably growing food and fun.  I hope the chemically dependent lawns of many elders, which sit dangerously close to these Edens, will go the way of tired, old chemical habits which have no place today.  Keep the plants under your care, make and add compost, nosh on a nasturtium flower and let it grow, let it grow.

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

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