So Long Summer 2019!
Labor Day is on it’s way, and summer 2019 will officially be over. In the spirit of “back-to-school,” we thought we’d share a little of what we did during our summer vacation.
Pickles! We made a lot of pickles! June was devoted to Can You Dig It, aka Camp Cucumber, our farm summer camp. Three hundred thirty-three children made pickles, ate tomatoes straight from the vine, hung out with chickens, and played fun and hydrating games like drip, drip, splash (imagine duck, duck, goose but with a pail of water). Thank you volunteers, Montgomery Parks & Recreation, Big Cedar Education Foundation, and United Way for bringing our summer camp to Montgomery’s youth.
Volunteers! Many thanks to the people of good heart and floppy hats who sweated out the summer with us. Volunteers are essential all year long, but volunteering outside in the summer in Alabama warms our already over-heated hearts. Volunteers pulled weeds, mowed, facilitated games and made pickles with campers, built the most beautiful garden beds you’ve ever seen, planted loofa, cleaned the chicken coop...I could go on. We also welcomed summer intern Dalayli Franklin who did a little bit of everything from harvesting to camper wrangling to chicken whispering. Thank you all for making the summer fun and memorable for children, volunteers, and staff.
New tools! We expanded our tools for people with different abilities. Thanks to a lot of skilled volunteer work, beautiful donated cedar, and support from the Whole Cities Foundation, we added three wheelchair accessible table beds, a rolling garden bed, and more ergonomic hand tools. We’re still working on that accessible path…
Classes for grown-ups! We teach grown-ups, too, and in July, we hosted our Fall Gardening Workshop, known internally as, “Oh, #!$&*, fall is coming,” (‘cause that’s how we feel in the heat of summer trying to get ready for fall). Our talented and dedicated board members, Barry Levin and Carolyn Strickland, spread the plant-based food love with a cooking class for our neighbors at BONDS, and we organized our third annual Sprouts School Garden workshop for educators.
Events! The farm was the setting for a family reunion (the family donated our new fig trees) and Montgomery Pride United’s PrideFest. Off the farm, we had so much fun making (and eating) snacks in the library and serving up tasty summer salad with More Than Tours at their premier of The Biggest Little Farm.
Plants! We grew plants! Duh, you say. You’re a farm! But the varieties of plants we grow sometimes even surprises us. We fell in love with new-to-us varieties of heirloom field peas (black eyed peas if you aren’t from around here). Our summer favorites are the big and bold Mandy’s Big Red Ripper, the petite Whipporwill, and the beautiful black-as-midnight Peking Black. So many field pea shapes and colors! We’re now drying pods for children to open and explore all winter. We also grew popcorn, cucumbers (remember all of those pickles?), eggplant, flowers, cherry tomatoes, cushaw squash…
Stuff! What is a farm without stuff? We fixed stuff and built more stuff! The rain curtain came down (you know it if you’ve been to a workshop on a rainy day), and a new gutter went up in the outdoor classroom. We sanded and repainted more of our folding chairs - this time in brilliant kid friendly colors. We built new raised beds for those donated fig trees, sweet talked the swamp cooler pump into cooling the greenhouse, and even pressure washed the deck (thank you, Henry!). Oh, the weather station! We now have a colorful weather station for kids to collect data during the after school program (we had 1.25 inches of rain water over the past two days).
So that’s what we did this summer. We’re planning to enjoy a few hours of rest for Labor Day, and then we dive in to fall. Check out our next newsletter for fall’s coming attractions, and come visit your urban teaching farm.