Farmer Blog

Out like a lamb?

As you may have noticed, our seasons haven’t been like “normal” lately. We knew it for sure when we broke an all-time heat record in mid-February, but even the tried and true “in like a lion and out like a lamb” didn’t really apply in March. The late snows are hard for the farm—we have tons of beautiful little seedlings ready to get planted in the ground!

Here’s what’s happening on the farm this time of the year:

Greetings from the Greenhouse

seedlings sprouting at the greenhouse

It's February and things are cold here on the farm. The cold keeps us indoors at this time of the year, and has a lot of folks wondering what farmers actually DO all winter. So, let us catch you up on what happens on the farm during the winter months.

“Longtime Grower of Things” Becomes New Executive Director of Common Good City Farm

Sam Wetzel hugging a tree

by Jill Schwartz

Samantha Wetzel’s roots to gardening run deep.

As a child, she loved helping her mother pick vegetables from their backyard garden in northern Virginia. She was fascinated with watching things grow.

Samantha, who goes by Sam, brought that passion to her own backyard when she grew up, creating gardens at the various places where she lived.

And she brought it to Honduras, where she and her husband were Peace Corps volunteers. Under the hot Latin American sun, she grew peppers, garlic, beans and more.

City Grown, 3.2.16, "Resilient Community"

Winter is the only time of year that farmers get to read, to dive into flights of fancy or to chew on technical dissertations. In case you haven’t noticed, winter is almost over, and my reading list is still pretty long.

City Grown, 2.24.16, "Principles & Pragmatism"

There are about as many different kinds of farms and farmers in the world as there are organisms in the soil. Sometimes the job title of “farmer” doesn’t feel as if it has any internal coherence, that it can encompass so many meanings as to be meaningless. But I guess we’re united by the fact that we’re growing food for someone, and we get to decide how exactly to do that.

It’s that second part where the divergence comes.

City Grown, 2.17.16, "Long-Term Planning"

Solitary farm work is, it turns out, a fabulous time to listen to podcasts. (I know, I know – bear with me here.) Your body is fully engaged, but your mind only partially so, allowing space for wide-ranging conversations and wild stories to filter in.

City Grown, 2.10.16, "Microclimates"

It’s cold outside. BREAKING NEWS, I know. And I get that DC ain’t Massachusetts, nor Michigan, nor Manitoba. But the February temperatures here are, during many days and most nights, quite inhospitable to life. As in, my life! I’ve learned that lesson a lot recently, as I’ve worked on our new high tunnel, as I’ve managed our compost system, as I’ve jerry-rigged a winter watering setup. No matter how many layers I put on, the cold eventually seeps in, and the resulting shiver is deeper than you thought possible. My fingers are often blue and chapped. My sinuses are perma-congested.

City Grown, 2.4.16 - "Imaginary Friends"

This week has been a big imagination week on the farm. This imagining is fun, yes, but it also has consequences, and needs to be done well. We’ve got to start spending money, we’ve got to start putting in time, and those are limited resources! I’ve got to be smart.

City Grown, 1.27.16 - "New Light, New Season"

In retrospect, my farmer-destiny should have been clear to me as a kid when I realized just how much I loved the Winter Solstice. Maybe it’s that I’m an introvert, but while everyone else bemoaned the lack of light, I found it calming. The deep darkness of December and January gave me the chance to draw inward, to rest and refill reservoirs, to indulge fanciful dreams and ambitions, to make ever-more-audacious plans for the coming year. At the same time, the prospect of returning light focused my mind, knowing that the busy and chaotic days of spring and summer were on their way.

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