After what I have been told was the driest April on record in our area, the recent story in the SPC gardens has been the amount of rainfall we have received in the last few weeks. I installed a rain gauge on the property which I check every day as part of my morning routine. Recently I have emptied amounts of one, two, and sometimes almost three inches of water from the rain gauge. My guess is that SPC has received somewhere in the neighborhood of ten inches of rain (maybe more!) since the beginning of June.
While some farmers I know have mentioned that we may be getting too much precipitation causing fields to become so muddy that no work can be done in them, the rain has been nothing but a blessing to the SPC farm. From what I can tell, our soil has excellent drainage, and the consistent pattern of rain followed by sunshine has been a boon to all of our crops. Our first harvest took place on Friday, June 14, about a month after our inaugural planting. We harvested spinach and three varieties of lettuce that our guests and staff have enjoyed eating in the dining hall as part of the salad bar. In the upcoming days and weeks, the harvest will continue as Asian greens like bok choi and mizuna are maturing in the fields along with arugula and various varieties of kale. Of course, the consistent rainfall has contributed to the germination and growth of many weeds in the fields, too, and we’ve been working hard to keep them at bay.
One reason we have been able to stay on top of all weeding over the past few weeks is thanks to the labor of the participants in this year’s Summer Institute. The students arrived in early June and have been working hard on the farm every morning. In addition to weeding, they have been instrumental in constructing a fence around the Gilmor garden, planting that garden with squash, beans, and cucumbers, putting the finishing touches on our “hugelkultur” garden beds, and working to create a new composting area on our grounds. It has been a pleasure to work with them and learn more about each of their individual journeys and commitment to justice and peace.
Finally, I cannot conclude this update without mentioning two of SPC’s newest residents—our pigs. They arrived on the farm in late May and have captured the attention and hearts of nearly everyone who has come to visit in the days since with their squealing, grunting, and general adorableness. When they are not napping in the shade of a nearby apple tree or seeking shelter from the rain in their little piggy house, they are working in the fields—rooting in the soil and fertilizing what will be a crop field next year with their manure. Their presence has prompted several conversations among guests and staff about vegetarianism, the treatment of animals in our food system, and the difference between pets and livestock. Many of us at SPC have noticed how much the pigs have grown in the past few weeks since their arrival and I hope you will have a chance to visit them soon.
Peace and Blessings,
Check out some photos on facebook.