By Marianthe Bickett ’15, Student Farm Assistant
With the start of the co-op term, Sam Senzek and I have been working full time out at the farm. The farming season is in full swing. This warmer spring has sped up production from our greenhouse, and we’ve been delivering harvests of spinach, Swiss chard, collards, radishes, and salad greens twice a week to our kitchen. Our chef, Isaac Delamatre, recently whipped up some cilantro-mint pesto and nettle soup with spearmint and stinging nettles from our food forest.
Every day at the farm is rich with learning experiences. Our farm manager, Kat Christen, is full of relevant knowledge—from the uses of comfrey and yarrow to proper composting, planting, and harvesting methods to culinary advice and animal husbandry information. With her guidance and the everyday problem-solving opportunities, there is rarely a dull moment.
Last week the chicks we’ve been raising at the Trailside Museum at Glen Helen were large enough to introduce out to pasture, so now we have thirty teenage meat birds out by our greenhouse. We will be getting a new batch of thirty Black Australorp chicks soon to raise for our laying flock. We were also very excited to get seven new laying hens after some of our flock was attacked by a dog, and all ten birds have been happily foraging, fertilizing the soil, and providing us with delicious farm-fresh eggs.
Kat, Sam, and I have been busy planting lettuce, cilantro, radishes, and lots of potatoes in our annual garden. I had never planted potatoes before, so Sam, a veteran potato grower, was excited to introduce me to the process. Sam has also been busy at work in the food forest, her area of responsibility, trying to cultivate desirable plants and getting rid of invasive species. I have been working in our greenhouse, my area of responsibility, mulching, watering, and weeding.
Volunteer Pete Peterson set up our first beehive. The hive will be filled with bees soon to provide our gardens with pollination and our students with a great educational experience as well as honey!