Categories
Greenhouse Summer 2011 Summer Cultivation 2011 Summer Harvest 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

Harvesting the Colors of Summer

Colors are filling the fields and our harvest bins at The Farm.  Mornings like this it is hard to picture a more beautiful place to be. The dew dances on the leaves of our crops and the rich reds, oranges and yellows of our tomatoes, pumpkins, and sunflowers start to take on their day-lit splendor.

photo of sunflower
A Sunflower wakes up with the sun.

We are currently harvesting crops like carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage…

photo of brian ready for harvest
Brian grabs a bin to go pick cucumbers.

… and taking care of our fall seedlings that we hope will keep us harveting in the fields through October.

photo of baby lettuce
Baby lettuce in our greenhouse awaits its moment to be planted in the field.

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photo of baby kale
Young kale with its light coat of morning dew.

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photo of baby bok  choy
Baby Komatsuna (bok choi) is ready to take their place in the fields.

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Last week we dug into the weeds in our winter squash field and were pleasantly surprised to find some sugar pie pumpkins already ready for harvest and delicata, carnival and butternut squash not too far behind.

photo of pumpkins
Sugar Pie Pumpkins: some are green... some are orange!

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Delicata squash
Delicata squash: almost ready for harvest.

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photo of carnival squash
Carnival squash: just a couple more weeks!

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We are pleased by the tomatoes that are starting to come out of the fields. Some, like the Rose de Berne, are as “pretty as a peach”…

photo of rose de berne
Rose de Berne: a sweet, flavorful heirloom variety.

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photo of striped german tomato
Some of Striped German Tomatoes are ripening up!

 

photo of a 2 pound striped german tomato
This Striped German tomato weight just about 2 pounds.

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photo of german cavern tomatoes
German Cavern Tomatoes, another heirloom variety, boxed up and ready for delivery.

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We are delighted to also be providing our partners with that include greens, cabbage, peppers, radishes and carrots!

photo of chard ready for harvest
Chard: harvest ready.

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photo of cabbage
Yum! Cabbage!

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Sweet Apple Pimento and Purple Islander Bell Peppers.
Sweet Apple Pimento and Purple Islander Bell Peppers.

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photo of radishes and carrots
Rainbow Carrots and a some Red Rudolf Radishes are coming in.

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Our staff and volunteers continue to play a critical role in keeping the weeds at bay, harvesting and delivering the veggies and flowers to our partners and customers. Please join us and take home a few sweet cheery tomatoes as a reward!

photo of Brian harvesting cukes
Brian harvests the last of this season's cucumbers.
photo of delivery to MBK
Tomatoes, greens, basil and cabbage: all packed up and en route to My Brother's Keeper.

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We are looking forward to this harvesting our fall crops, including leeks, winter squash, more tomatoes, parsnips and greens.

Zinnias are still going strong.

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View of the farm looking west from the rows of Striped German Tomatoes.

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In morning dew, midday heat or in the glow of sundown, many of the colors (and fruits) of the farm are harvest ready.

photo of leeks
Leaves of the leeks in early morning light.

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bouquet of flowers
Farm Flower Bouquet

 

 

Categories
Greenhouse Spring 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

The Most Beautiful Greenhouse

In under two weeks the greenhouse is up and running!

photo of chuck and Bridget standing in front of the greenhouse
Chuck and I stand in front of the completed greenhouse!

 

 

On May 2, 2011 we completed the greenhouse with help from 4 of Facilities Management’s finest: Paul, Bob, Tim and Shamus.

 

We rolled out the plastic, hoisted it over the frame and stretched it tight to create a space for all of our seedlings to grow.

 

 

Photo of Tim and the greenhouse
Greenhouse plastic rolled out beside Tim.

 

photo of plastic going up with bob
Bob helps us pull the plastic up and over the greenhouse frame.

 

bob and paul hold the plastic in place as we stretch it
Bob and Paul hold the plastic in place as we attach it to the frame.

 

photo of Shamus and plastic stretched against the frame
Shamus holds plastic in place... Almost done!

 

Photo of the greenhouse.. profile
All done and ready for use!

 

The very next day, Ken helped me move our seedlings over from across the street. They were happy to come out into the well lit, warm space after weeks under lights in the basement of Holy Cross Center.

 

photo of cucumbers, zucchini, peppers and tomato seedlings in the greenhouse
The cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper and tomato seedlings were happy to move up into the greenhouse.

 

Come visit us anytime. We think you’ll agree that it is the most beautiful, and well-built greenhouse you have every seen!

Thank you Chuck for all of your hard work and leadership on this project.

Photo of Greenhouse under a rainbow!

Our greenhouse glows under a rainbow a few days later as it protects the seedlings from passing showers and thunderstorms.

 

 

Categories
Spring 2011 Spring Seedlings 2011 The Farm at Stonehill Volunteer

Earth Day at The Farm!

Greenhouse construction continues with help from a Stonehill College family on Earth Day 2011.

photo of Bruce, Trent and Brian Switzer at the Farm.
Bruce (Stonehill Alumnus, Class of '81), Trent (future Stonehill student?) and Brian Switzer (Class of 2013) help out on Earth Day.


While I am a big proponent of the idea that “Earth Day is Every Day,” I have to admit that on April 22nd each year I am filled with additional urge to spend the day outside where my senses can pick up on Spring’s arrival.

This year, the weather was perfect for celebrating spring as we recommenced work on our greenhouse project.

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Photo of Bridget in greenhouse - bows up!
Bows up in just about and hour, and suddenly I am standing in our future greenhouse!


The morning begins sleepily.

Pale, grey skies steadily brighten to blue.

A warming sun and a gentle breeze by noon.

At day’s end Mare’s tails lightly streak the sky.

Hinting at showers to come and the greens of spring to follow.

 

 

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Chuck and I had the bows up within the first hour and then set to work attaching the purlins to stabilize the structure.

photo of blue skies and purlins
Bows and purlins against a blue sky streaked with "Mare's Tails" (Cirrus clouds).

Around noon, Brian Switzer (Class of 2013) arrived at the farm to assist and set to work tightening the many bolts on the frame and then helped us prep the edges of the greenhouse to install the baseboards.

Photo of Brian and Chuck working on Baseboards
Brian and Chuck prep the southern edge of the greenhouse for the baseboards.

 

An hour or so later, Brian’s father and Stonehill Alum, Dave (Class of 1981) and his younger brother Trent arrived on the scene. They worked together to excavate along the edges of the structure to make way for our baseboards, made from Eastern White Pine, grown in the USA and purchased from Fenandes, our local hardware store.

Photo of Dave, Trent and Brian digging the trench
Dave, Trent and Brian Switzer prepare the northern edge of the greenhouse for the baseboards.

They also dug trenches along the outside edges of the greenhouse to make way for drainage pipe to minimize greenhouse flooding when heavy rains fall.

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By day’s end the bows were up, purlins set, and baseboards in!  One step closer to completion.

Photo of Greenhouse end of Day 3
Day 3: Bows, Purlins and Baseboards in place.

I am looking forward to filling the space with our green seedlings and when they are strong enough and the weather has warmed a bit, out into the fields where they will set about their work producing delicious vegetables.

photo of pepper seedlings
"Islander"bell pepper seedlings growing and awaiting their time to move into the greenhouse and then into the fields.

They will draw on nutrients in the soil, light from the sun, and water from the earth and sky, and in due time play a role in feeding those same soils with organic matter to grow healthy soils and future harvests.

Categories
Spring 2011 Spring Seedlings 2011 The Farm at Stonehill

Seeds Want To Grow

 

Seeds come in all shapes and sizes. Some, like mint, are as fine as dust, while some, like marigolds, look like miniature magic wands.  Regardless of size and shape:

“Drop a seed in the ground and it wants to grow!”

I read this wonderful truth a few months ago in The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman, and suddenly felt much more at ease about the rapidly approaching growing season.  After all, if the seeds WANT to grow, then all we have to do is provide them with the right amount of light, warmth, nutrients, and moisture, and surely they will take root and we will be rewarded with healthy, delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers!

A tray of bell pepper seedlings beginning to grow

 

And yet, the question remains:

How much of each of these elements do different plants need to thrive?

A small tomato seed peeks out of a slot in the tray
A tomato seed on a bed of Fort Vee Potting Mix from Vermont Compost Company.

There are many answers to this question that we can find print, in conversations with friends in the farming community, or through our own careful observations.

A few marigold seedlings show off their leafy stems
Strong, little Marigold seedling (April 8, 2011).

 

We listen, we water, we transplant, we wait, and we watch quietly as the seeds do the bulk of the work and grow into strong little seedlings.

peppers photo up close
Bell pepper seedlings (April 14, 2011).

 

The marigolds in the tray now grow larger as time has passed
Marigolds (April 13, 2011).