Over the Fence Urban Farm


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Hope for the Future

This is Leo.

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In February, he wrote me this email:

Hi my name is Leo and I’m currently a freshman at Ohio State. I happened to find the Facebook page for Over the Fence Urban Farm, and immediately knew it was something I wanted to support. I’m originally from Hawaii, where through school trips and community service opportunities I was able to go to and help out at multiple local organic farms. I would love to be able to come and help out in your garden. Please email me back with any info regarding ways I can help.

I wrote back and let him know things would get going in March and gave him a rough idea of what days of the week might be good to come around. Low and behold, the first week in March, he got back in touch! He wanted to try to come around before he left for spring break. Things didn’t work out that week, but once he was back in town and completed his midterms, he reached out again. We went back and forth for a month and a half until, yesterday, we connected, just days before he leaves for summer recess.

Leo showed up on time. He was enthusiastic about what we’re doing here – asked questions, shared stories from his own experiences, smiled, helped with the chores, played with the chickens, and took a big bag of greens back to the dorm to make a salad for his friends.

Thank you, Leo. Thank you for reaching out and keeping in touch. Thank you for giving me hope for the future at a time when so many things in our country and around the world seem to be upside down and falling to pieces. Thank you for being a mensch. Have a great break and we’ll see you again in August!

(If you’d  like to read more about young people working on the farm in this post from last summer, “Help from Abroad.”)

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Farm Fresh Start

New Year’s is all about fresh starts. For lots of people this means cleaning up what they eat. Following that tradition, Over the Fence held our first winter harvest salad party today.

After a short, finger-numbing time in the field, we shared a quick bite to eat with some of our most intrepid CSA members. We even sent them home with some goodie bags to keep them on the path to a healthy new year. Hope you find ways to be clean and green in twenty-sixteen!

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2015 Post-Compost Post

I’m tired.

There’s still a pile of compost on the driveway, but it’s less than half the size it was this morning. And it’s only there because I didn’t let folks mulch non-farm related areas. Those feel like personal responsibility. Not because we couldn’t have moved it all in a single day. So, once again, I am amazed by what a small group of people can accomplish when we come together and set our head, heart, and hands to it.

Here are a few highlights from the day.

The kids went worm hunting,

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and they took the new wheelbarrow out for a roll.

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Henry and Marc assembled our new farm toy – the broadfork.
Then Henry, David, and Andrew put it to work.

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Cora, Melissa, Kate, Pam, Elizabeth, and I planted and transplated – leeks, cabbage, radicchio spinach, radish, kale, chard, peas, and fennel.

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Then Carrie and I put them all to bed under a nice frost blanket.

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And, of course, we moved about 7 yards of compost! (Go early team that didn’t get caught on film – Jess, Kathy, Damon, Emily, Mark, and Joanna, and Sarah!)

Looking Southeast – Before and After

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Looking Northwest – Before and After

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It was a VERY good day.


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Happy seeding hour

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Meeting of the minds.

Today’s happy hour was all about seeds. We got a bunch of radishes in the ground that should be ready for Thanksgiving and planted out a row To test under winter cover. Thankfully we had an architect on hand to help us install our low tunnel hoops! (Inside joke, really anyone can do it…)
Hoping for a small winter harvest of spinach and arugula from that bed and a nice crop of beets and carrots in early spring.
Todays’s harvest: arugula and mustard greens, rosemary, parsley, Thai basil, chives, and dahlias. Lots of things that go well with sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Bon appetitio!

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Bouquet of herbs.

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Garlic sprouting under straw.


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Fall Cleaning and Gleaning

We had another productive happy hour this past Sunday. Got all the tomatoes and tomatillos cleaned out as well as the peppers. Harvested a nice selection of greens for folks to take with them as well as some rosemary plants for overwintering. Thanks again for the help you guys!

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Getting Garlic in the Ground

DSC_0014Happy hour today was all about garlic. Spreading compost and tilling the soil to get the beds ready, then digging a few hundred deep holes and pushing the cloves underground. I don’t think we’ll have quite as many bulbs as we did this year, but hopefully what we have will be better. Last fall we were so late ordering our seed (because we didn’t take possession of the property the farm is on until mid-November) that we had only one option – one supplier, one variety. This year I ordered early from Green Mountain Garlic in Vermont. They had a wide range of options and I got some with nice big cloves – Music, German X Hardy, and Romanian Red. The Chesnook Red we had this past year had good flavor, but the itty bitty cloves are a pain to deal with in the kitchen. We put some of the largest we had in the ground with the rest and gave them all plenty of space. And now we wait. Til next July.

The Hughes family was back and, as always, looking totally hip. Elizabeth fit right in. It was a productive visit.

Larry. Tilling.

Larry. Tilling.

Liam. Raking.

Liam. Raking.

Katie. Pulling beans.

Katie. Pulling a few beans. (Her favorite…)

Not your granny's work boots. Elizabeth (left), Katie (right)

Urban farmer footwear. Elizabeth (left), Katie (right)

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2015. Here we come!


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Happy Hour on the Farm

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It’s official. Over the Fence has our first tradition. Happy Hour on the Farm. Sunday afternoon. One hour of intense working followed by (more working) and a beer. It’s a high energy event that generates really good vibes and gets a lot of stuff off our perennial “to do” list.

Yesterday was about 90% harvesting, 10% pruning/composting. Next week will be all about planting garlic. Here are a few shots from the day.

DSC_0054I took a shot like this in June. Need to find that for a comparison post…

IMG_7909LOVE, love, love to have people working side-by-side.

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DSC_0063Finally, we were awash in green beans.

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IMG_7905Sneak preview. We’ll be harvesting the bulk of these babies next week. It’s gonna be sweet!

DSC_0033Not a bad haul for the first week of October. (Note to self: Fall CSA 2015)