~~From Farmer Sarah, AmeriCorps service member, March 23 – 27, 2020
Greetings from the School Farm! We had another busy and productive week and are eager to share some highlights of what we accomplished.
First, we welcomed an amazing group of classified staff from the school district to help us with our daily operations at the elementary and high school farms. We are taking the utmost care in ensuring that we all follow strict safe working practices and appropriate social distancing while we work to keep our farm up and running. Their help has been invaluable, and we are so incredibly thankful for everything they have done this week!
One of the most exciting projects of the week was prepping and planting our new strawberry bed! This new bed next to our hoophouse started with the help of some of our awesome student Farm Teams, and our equally awesome classified staff crew (our new Farm Team) finished the project by clearing out the rest of the sod and prepping the bed for our little strawberry plants.
Breaking up the grass
Knocking soil off the grass clods
Grass all gone!
Planting and mulching out our little babies always feels like a such a hopeful investment in our future, and this certainly felt no different!
This winter, the students put in a lot of energy digging up the grass along the east fence line where a new bed would go (we will be forever grateful for, and amazed by, our students’ enthusiasm to dig), trench composting, and refilling the trench with soil. This was a massive undertaking that started back in the fall, and would not have been possible without all of the work that our garden classes and farm teams accomplished over the course of several months! But the students had to leave it unfinished!
Our new Farm Team finished off the project by chopping in remaining clods to create a fluffy soil texture and mixing in a final layer of finished compost. We planted the inside of this fence bed with delicious sugar snap peas last Friday, and are looking forward to planting the outer bed with flowers!
Loosening the soil
Planting pea starts!
Finishing off what the students began
Along with these projects, our Farm team also moved the hay pile, fixed up our worm bins, and worked away at some necessary weeding.
Mulching lettuce and bok choy in the hoophouse
Planting peas in soil blocks
Weeding the sour plant bed
Repairing the worm bin
And when Whidbey Island Nourishes needed help preparing meals, they jumped at the opportunity. They are the best!
Among the other weekly tasks, we continued with our daily work of seeding and caring for the starts. Around this time of year, one of the top priorities each day is taking care of all of our plant starts, and we sure have been cranking out starts this week! Right now we are focused on a few cool weather crops that do well when started indoors and transplanted out, so our light racks are filled with kale, lettuce, bok choi, and pea starts. We start these seeds indoors to provide them with the best conditions for starting off (warmth and plenty of light), then gradually expose them to outdoor conditions once they are big enough. This hardening off process prepares them to be transplanted outside.
While we have certain tools at the farm that allow us to grow starts on a large scale, it is incredibly easy to start your own plants indoors at home without that equipment. Keep an eye out for another post soon with plenty of tips on how to grow your own starts indoors!
Over at the two gardens at the High School, the new Farm Team has also been busy! They did a heroic job of turning over all the cover crop in these beds in the back garden, and preparing them for planting potatoes, carrots, kale and broccoli.
And a big THANK YOU to the fourth graders who planted all the daffodils and tulips that are blooming now and brightening our day!
We hope you all had another happy and healthy week! We have some exciting tasks on the list for next week, so check back in for more updates from the farm!