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Posts Tagged ‘WWOOF-er’

mike-digs-holes

Mike digging holes spaced two feet apart

So, what’s getting planted at Bee Heaven? Radishes, pole beans and lots and lots of heirloom tomatoes. Stopped by last Friday and saw that most of the prep work had been completed. Irrigation drip lines have been run, connected and leaks mended. Rebar stakes were driven into the ground, and rolls of wire mesh trellising stretched across as a support for the tomatoes. As the plants grow, they will get tied to or weaved into the mesh. When I arrived, Mike and Cassidy were digging holes spaced two feet apart for the tomato transplants.

planning

Jade, Devin and Muriel decide which tomato plants go where

Muriel and her crew Jade and Devin planned which varieties would get planted where. At least 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes are grown on the farm. Chalk’s, Red Fig, Aunt Ruby’s, and Cherokee varieties are from Slow Food’s Ark of Taste list. Muriel explained that first she groups by types — cherry with cherry, or roma with roma. Then the colors are alternated — yellow, orange, green, red, pink, brown and black (actually very dark red) — instead of grouped together. This tomato rainbow, as Jade described, is carefully mapped out. When it’s time to pick, you know what you’re picking. Last season, several varieties of same-colored tomatoes had been planted next to each other, and it was difficult to tell them apart, especially when the fruit wasn’t completely ripe.

cassidy-plants

Cassidy plants a tomato start

Margie watered the starts (seedlings or baby plants) while they were still in their little plastic pots. Once it was decided which varieties went where, Mike brought over flats of starts, and Cassidy set each plant into its hole and tamped the soil down. Jade followed with watering cans and gave each transplant a good drink. When transplanting tomatoes, remove the bottom leaf or two, and set the plant deeply into the ground, up to the cluster of of leaves. The stem will produce more roots, which results in a stronger plant.

Over in another bed, shunjiku radishes had put up their first leaves, and pole beans were sprouting. Drip irrigation lines bring measured amounts of water directly to the plants. Otherwise, not much is growing yet. Margie explained that she started planting late because rain delayed the bedding process. The CSA season is starting in a couple of weeks and I’m wondering what I’ll find in my box. Rumor has it the first share might have green beans from Homestead Organics and lemongrass from Bee Heaven, among other things. Maybe. Whatever is available, Margie said.

jade-watering

Jade watering tomato transplants

When you get local food from a farmer’s CSA, you get what’s growing at that time, during that part of the season. Each fruit, vegetable and herb takes a certain amount of time to grow and mature. Greens and radishes take a few weeks to grow, so you’ll see a lot of those at the beginning. Carrots, potatoes, beets and onions take longer, so you’ll see those toward the end of the season. The heirloom tomatoes will start appearing in December and January. That’s the experience of eating in season.

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Zak H Stern

Zak H Stern

Well, not my prostate, but Zak’s. Former WWOOF-er Zak H Stern has been blogged by Budget Travel. Read the article here.

And what’s a WWOOF-er, you ask? That would be a volunteer apprentice who has registered through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and works on a chosen farm for room and board for an agreed period of time. For the volunteer, it’s a great way to learn about different crops, pick up various farm skills, and meet all kinds of people. Some volunteers already have experience from other farms, others are just starting out. For the farmer, it’s a great way to pass on knowledge, and get willing workers for a nominal cost.

Two seasons ago (2007-2008) Zak worked at Bee Heaven Farm for part of the season. He was cheerful and positive, and a delight to have on the farm and at market. His poem, While my Prostate is Small, was published in The COMmunity POST, the weekly Redland Organics CSA newsletter that goes out with the shares. I got his permission to reprint it. Enjoy!

While my prostate is small

By Zak H Stern

While my prostate is small….
I will travel the world,
Take long bus trips with no ac
And not stop fifty times to pee
While my prostate is small….
I will sleep through the night,
Drink a milkshake before bed
Without a hint of fright.
While my prostate is small….
I will enjoy my youth,
Smooth skin, sharp eyes,
A mind looking for truth.
While my prostate is small….
I will learn how to live,
How to love, how to listen,
How to take, how to give.
While my prostate is small….
I will withdraw from school,
Go live on a farm,
and learn how to live off the fat of the land.
While my prostate is small….
I will live my life to the fullest.

Published in The COMmunity POST, Week 15, March 8, 2008

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