Over the Fence Urban Farm


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Early Spring Progress Report

I hereby declare our first “Happy Hour on the Farm” of the 2015 season a smashing success. Thanks to Sarah, Melissa, Andrew, Julian, and Liz for coming out. I know it wasn’t easy, it being the first truly lovely afternoon this spring. The weather really was perfect for working outdoors and we’re so grateful that you put in your time with us.

Here’s a quick round-up of what we accomplished.

I started reading up on potato planting and got our potato seed out of the basement and into a sunny spot to sprout…We had such great success with sweet potatoes last year, we’re hoping to get these Satina multiplying.

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Sarah and I thinned radish seedlings and set a few more seeds in the ground here and there. This is a before shot. You can see how overcrowded the row in the left-side bed were.

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As with any great happy hour, Andrew and Dan dressed up for the occasion.

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Melissa put her nimble fingers to work thinning and transplanting spinach seedlings. (Photo credit: Juilan Haliday)

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Dan and George started pouring concrete footings for the chicken coop! (Chicks are coming May 4th.)

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Liz leveled our work area to better accommodate the work table we got at the end of last season, the wash tub we got from a neighbor and will be installing soon, and the shed roof Dan has planned so we can store some hand tools and supplies on the farm including some speakers for a radio.

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Andrew got the irrigation system up and running on the west side beds. He makes it seem so easy. (Photo credit: Juilan Haliday)

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Julian communed with the kale – transplanting some overwintered, but now misplaced plants, and doing some light weeding. Liz and Melissa followed him with arugula starts to will out the space to either side of the kale.

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I tucked everything in for the night. (Photo credit: Juilan Haliday)

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See you next week…


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On Radishes

When we were planning and ordering seeds this winter, radishes weren’t in the picture. Danny likes them but I’m not a huge fan and, frankly, we hadn’t had great luck growing them in the past. But, when one of our biggest supporters asked if we’d be growing any, French Breakfast specifically, I made a beeline for City Folks Farm Shop and picked up a nice pack of seeds.

I was overeager and sprouted some in a container on the windowsill. They looked great; in perfect rows, evenly spaced. True to their Greek name, raphanus, meaning quick to sprout, they appeared as if overnight. After transplanting and a few weeks in one of our old garden beds that wasn’t too well-ammended, we had some decent sized roots, but they were mangled and spotty. Still, I was hopeful. When we pulled the first ones from our new, extra-long rows, I was amazed. They were beautiful. (See previous posts for pictures). Shout out to Milan at Peace, Love, and Freedom Farm for his great advice on fertilizing! The fish juice, ample seedling thinning, and lots of space did their magic and we had enough radishes for all our CSA members this week.

Of course, some folks, including me, took convincing that these humble shoots were worth our time. Research and education were in order. Here’s some of what we’ve learned so far and been sharing with our people as we share our wealth.

While the roots are pretty and tend to get most of the attention, it turns out radish greens are a superfood. They are packed with Beta carotene, Vitamin C and Calcium (surprise!).

 

They make a great addition to salad mixes. They are dense and flavorful, if a bit scratchy when allowed to grow large.

 

But, not to worry because, like most any leafy green, you can use the greens to make pesto. And now that you know how healthy they are, why wouldn’t you?

Radishes are so satisfying to grow and took only 5 weeks to mature in our early spring garden. They are satisfying to harvest too. The kids had a blast with that task. I was kind of jealous…

We’ve already got more in the ground and will be ordering seeds in bulk next season.

 

 

 


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Who Could Ask for Anything More?

 

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Well, this day turned out to be pretty freakin’ amazing.

When we woke up at 7am, it was all of 36 or 39 degrees out, depending on which app we were consulting. It was cold and wet and not feeling like it was gonna be a good day for much of anything.

By 9am when our CSA members rolled in, it was 50°. The sun was making a grand entrance. Catherine Murray of PhotoKitchen, a photographer freelancing for Edible Columbus, followed and we before we knew it we were working our tails off, sharing stories with Catherine, and feeling beautiful.

Once again, I’m too tired to do more than share glimpses with you via photo annotations.

Wish you were here.

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Not pictured:

Planting flowers, pole beans, more radishes, chard, and arugula.