Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Time for Weeds, Time for Greens

Oh what a little rain and sun will do.  In walking by the rocky space at the farm where the old tennis court used to be and is now dedicated for the farm pantry garden, I could not help but notice the weeds among the kale, like the thorns among the roses.  The tattered fence, which will soon receive help from an eagle scout candidate, currently serves a pretty good purpose in keeping out the deer, rabbits and woodchucks.  Plenty of sunshine reaches this prime spot however, and the deluge of rain also makes for excellent growth, both wanted and unwanted. The weeds are high, as are the young kale plants, chard seedlings and recently sown carrots.  Some weeds have caught up to the garlic, which, planted last October, are about a month away from being carefully pulled for green garlic and to dry for Fall.  Like the farm fields that the farmers tend, these small, oblong, rectangular and even boxed beds and growing spaces feature a variety of crops, plants, veggies and flowers. Diversity hopefully keeps away some unintelligent pests and insects. The rotation of crops(not planting one crop in the same spot every year) also keeps the farmer and the yield one step ahead. But there is a need to remove the old pea trellis and step into the garden, work to be completed.
It is named the Farm Pantry Garden as the majority of the food grown and harvested there is destined for Father Bill’s Place in Quincy. Father Bill’s is a home and a help for folks seeking to get back into work and gain stability and independence. Some fresh, healthy vegetables, with organic practices, can help the chef and the recipients, along with the other donations that people and organizations provide.  When the volunteering high schoolers come for a week at the farm, they will work alongside the Holly Hill farmers and work to prepare the harvest for transport to Quincy.  Like any dedicated growing space, there needs constant attention.  The high schoolers are not yet here to do the weeding, cultivating and staking. Right now on  the farm, there are many younger farmers between the ages of 3 and 8 who are walking by looking for worms, making compost, exploring open meadows, trekking to the ice pond or simply feeding the chickens some grassy weeds. The Summer programs for young children are thriving at the farm and they are happily discovering the joys of nature, while staying together and walking the paths. I suppose these young kids could navigate around a growing bed of potatoes, but perhaps only to inadvertently be unable to distinguish a weed from a spud plant or tall grass from a beet green. So soon the middle schoolers will be released from the rigors of school to maybe engage in the satisfying rigors of weeding. Some high schoolers will come in a fortnight for a week of work. In the meanwhile and the immediate future, I am inclined to jump in for a half hour here and there of tending, perhaps after the little ones have gone off for a nap. There is also a fast approaching sustainable garden tour on June 28th, and though it will feature gardens in Scituate and Cohasset, there will also be a chance to visit some dedicated farm gardens at Holly Hill Farm. For it is at the farm where the example ought to be set.  A model for discovery for one of any age, exploration by many and a well-heeled garden for a good cause.

© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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