Ahhh, and just like that the winter is on our heels here in zone 6. I won’t go on about how fast the seasons roll, but when you are a productive, dynamic vegetable garden in these parts it seems like the winters come on right when you are getting in the swing of things. That said we have been on a garden-marathon since early early spring….so it might be just the right time for a little rest.
We have had a great season in 2017! So many research students, such happy staff, such tasty vegetables, a good amount of rain, a few markets, lots of picnics, tons of salsa, many classes, & a few major improvements. Peek your interest? Watch for a report of all things good in 2017 right after a little break as your farm prepares for winter & readies for spring.
Happy Winter! As we prepare to take a short winter nap it has been fun to reflect on LaFarm’s growing success.
A few highlights:
LaFarm mentored, trained, taught, grew and delivered more in 2016 than ever before. Over 300 student work hours, Over 40 dining hall deliveries, over 1300 additional pounds of produce were donated to area non-profits!
LaFarm is now housed in the NEW Lafayette College Office of Sustainability join us as we welcome the college’s first ever Sustainability Director and Sustainability Fellow! We look forward to being an even more sustainable, available and irresistible farm as we move into our green future!
Though we work on a tiny budget we are living in a value added world. This summer LaFarm focused on make the most of our harvest, as we preserved over 1000 pounds of produce in custom-made, small-batch salsa and pasta sauce. Want some? Look for it on campus in early 2017, or email and we can talk.
This year has brought many changes to LaFarm and its role at Lafayette College. Our communications will reflect that as our team refines and redefines how we all keep in touch. For now enjoy all our new-news here and keep an eye out for our annual report early in 2017.
AGFAF- the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund, helps fund higher education for Afghan women. A video was just released by AGFAF about AGFAF at Lafayette, and LaFarm features in there for some brief seconds!
See the video here: https://vimeo.com/145198770
It’s tough to be a student organization when there are no students. Despite our challenging summer work, we are but a minority of whom we hope will volunteer this year. Fortunately, the Involvement Fair (The event in which First-Year students join 10 more clubs than they have time for) is soon, and we hope they visit us and sign up and volunteer at the Farm.
Speaking of volunteering, we here at LaFFCo are searching for a select few brave knights* to assist us in a task most perilous.
Pictured: Brave Knights
We have found ourselves beset upon by a creature most foul, with vast casualties on the Brassicas.
Pictured: Creature most foul
For all ye who brave treacherous low bushes and ankle-high meadows, contact myself or Joe for Wednesday Sorties into the terrifying unknown. If we brave the deep jungles, we may just find the fabled cabbages hidden within. Let us join forces and be a WWOLFpack (Working Wednesdays on LaFarm). It’s a pun on the word wolfpack, see? Because wolves hunt in packs. I’ll stop now.
In other news, the LaFarm market is up for the semester (Fall 2015)! Stop by on Tuesday afternoons and stock up for all you need to combat the dangerous, fluffy, adorable monsters.
Also, have you heard of the Vegetables in the Community program that has been running? You can check it out here
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more LaFFCo news through the Fall Semester.
Now in the most active part of the season, LaFarm is beginning to bring our fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs to market for students, faculty, staff, and other passers-by outside of Gilbert’s from 11am-1pm every Thursday. Our first market this past Thursday was a great start, we brought scallions, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, a mix of herbs (oregano, sage, and thyme) flowers and young, ready to plant Brussels sprouts!
-Joe Ingrao, Excel Scholar Summer 2014
“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”
Well, spring is here…but alas the farm work is still mostly being done inside.
Our Volunteer ‘Office Farmers’ are Stuck Inside as Easton awaits a Spring Snowstorm
We must work with a force so great as nature, and oh there is work to be done at LaFarm… even if we are stuck in the office as we wait for it to dry out and warm up out at our Metzgar Fields farm.
Our great Lafayette College volunteers Ben & Julia were hard at work today. Ben was saving seeds from last years ‘Bling Bling’ Cosmos, Organic Burgundy Okra, and ‘Bishops Children’ Dahlia.
Julia was busy inputting information in our AgSquared crop management database about the average number of seeds per ounce for specific crops. These numbers are used to calculate our total seed order needs for the year so that LaFarm can grow as much fresh produce for the Lafayette College as possible.
Last year we grew over 1 ton of produce on our tiny but might 1/2 acre production garden. Go LAF!
Oh Winter! ruler of th’ inverted year…
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne A sliding car
…I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem’st!
Branches from the 2014 Pruning at LaFarm
Will you floss more in the new year? Or, as Julia Child called dieting, is it in your nature to ‘reduce’? In these days of resolving it is nice to step back and look with clarity at why we desire to reinstate order in the new year. Is it the recovery from overindulgent holidays? Does the new calendar year help us make changes that have been on our minds during the daily routine of the year before? Is it the hope of a clean slate?
In the cold zone 6B of LaFarm I like to see this time of year as a natural time to see underneath the wild summer growth of the garden. I like to take a look at the bones of the production farm and see what is, what worked last year and what could be in the new season. Whether you make (…errr, or stick to your own) resolutions or not, it is a truism that this time of year is a sound time to look under the overgrowth and attempt to tidy up or pare down.
Tree Pruning Illustration by Kim Duffy
In the garden this tendency to make resolutions manifests in many ways, one of which is in pruning. When the leaves are off the perennials, the roots are in a deep freeze and the beds are a blank canvas I can see how I want the garden to develop. This vision stirs the desire to plan better and embrace the ambitions that seem so impossible in the heat of summer. It is also a nice time to be reminded that a little cutting back now often leads to a bounty later.
This winter I was careful to prune the LaFarm apple trees in a stretch of weather free from forecasted warm spells, as pruning breaks the dormancy of plants and a warm spell can produce a false spring, taking a toll on production. (Thanks to the folks at County Line Orchard in Kempton PA, for that info).
The Row of Fruit Trees at LaFarm, Planted in Memory of Bryan Hendrickson
I also looked to the Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and the Mother Earth News article from Richard Korst, 1st published in 1976. My pruning strategy was to clear away dead branches, open the tree up for air and light and identify and strengthen the central leader of our young fruit trees. If a leader was not easily isolated I worked to train the tree to an open center form.
If you have some pruning to do this year, I hope this information helps. If you have done your pruning already lets hope for a good harvest in 2014. Here’s to a great new year!