The sunnier, warmer days remind us that spring is here and summer is fast approaching. Our greenhouse crew has been working diligently since March to fill up our greenhouse with beautiful little seedlings, and before we know it, they will be transplanted into the fields. As we dive into the growing season, we have a few farming changes we are excited to share with you.
Each year, we like to introduce a handful of new crops into our rotation, to see both how they grow in our field conditions, and how they are received in the community. Our experimental garden will feature jicama, tatume (Mexican summer squash), tomatillos, ground cherries, and yard long beans. We are also testing out a few new versions of crops that we have grown in the past. These include Katarina cabbage, which is a smaller, palm sized cabbage, and Tasty Bites melon, which is an individual sized cantaloupe. We are hoping these might appeal to smaller households, who might not need larger sizes of these foods.
As far as our farming practices go, we also have a few exciting changes. Weed pressure has always been an issue in between our mulched rows, and this year we are hoping to significantly reduce the problem. Thanks to a grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, we were able to purchase two Farmall Cub tractors, which are specifically set up for cultivation of weeds. With these new tractors, we will be able to remove the weeds at a very early stage, and hopefully break the weed life cycle. The grant also allowed us to buy additional hand weeding tools to use in the places the cultivation tractors will not be able to go (trellised rows, or crops that grow very tall). Less weeds mean healthier plants and happier volunteers (and farmers!). We also received a grant from the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation that has allowed us to make needed improvements in our greenhouses and to our other tillage equipment. We can’t thank these donors enough for their support!