November 14, 2010

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News

There’s something really relaxing and calming about being at the farm in the late fall. The leaves in the surrounding woods are deep orange, there is a bite to the air and our delicious kale and greens are flourishing (guess how excited Liz is about the kale!). There’s also something a little sad about the end of the season. After all the hard work, the summer sweating, the amazing experiences and the tremendous growth, the days are getting shorter and the ground requires less of our attention. I miss being out there every day, planning for the next beds, the next planting, or the next harvest. At the same time, winter gives us all a time to reflect on the growing season, to give our bodies a break, and to plan for next year (seed catalogues are already piling up at my house!) and this has been a wonderful year at Fort Totten.

We decided to put much of the ground under cover crop—a mixture of oats, peas and vetch–to improve the quality of the soil and to “lock” in the nitrogen and other nutrients for the winter. Some of the plants will die and add a layer of organic matter to incorporate in the spring. The vetch will overwinter and we will till it in come spring. This is a great way to give the soil a little winter vacation and give back some of the nutrients taken during the growing season.

There’s also still vegetables growing and our kale has done very well after a brief fight with pests. The mustard greens and arugula are spicy and huge and we’ve had all varieties of radishes grow and flourish in earnest! (My new favorite is the large white “carrot” radish, less of a peppery bite and more like a turnip!) We’ve been able to donate many pounds of winter greens, bok choi, radishes, kale, collards and mustards to Food and Friends (thanks Ken!) And, much to my surprise, the spinach has finally started to grow and seems to be doing well. We’ve even found a rogue KOHLRABI or two! Even with winter winds and snow on the way, I am already excited for all the possibilities of spring.

I want to thank everyone—all the volunteers, all the green summer staff, our new interns, Bea, Liz and Kat for a stellar 2010 growing season! It was fun. Really fun. Now, to get ready for all of NFI’s winter activities….


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