It always makes me a little bit sad when the farming season comes to an end and it’s time to put the gardens to bed. This past week we celebrated Sukkot at camp, a harvest festival that goes back thousands of years. The event was well-attended on the farm and it was great fun watching so many kids scampering around, gathering the last of this year’s crops. We were fortunate to still have tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, okra, chard, and carrots which were snatched up by the armful and loaded into plastic bags that families took home with them. What a sight it was to see a dozen campers rooting through our potato bed, searching for the red and white tubers that were hiding beneath the soil. Each discovery brought cheers and cackles of delight. Some of the harvesters sent me emails and pictures later that day of the food they had for dinner and the pickles they’d put up as soon as they got home.
I must say that as the leaves on the trees are strutting their brilliant autumn colors, they look to me a bit like children yawning after a long and eventful day. Sleep is inevitable and our flowers and vegetable plants are showing their weariness after a great season. It is time to slumber for the winter. This is the cycle of life.
A frequent question I was asked on Sukkot was, “Can I grow vegetables at home this winter?” The answer is an unequivocal, YES! There are a great many growing systems on the market today, most of them designed for indoor use, requiring no soil. If you search the words, hydroponic and or aeroponic on the Internet, you will find a range of items for growing everything from simple herb gardens to full-scale vertical vegetable gardens. Though I make no endorsement of any particular system—I haven’t tried them and I’m old school anyway and prefer to stay dirty—I recommend looking into the Tower Garden which is a hybrid hydroponic/aeroponic system that is easy to manage and produces bountiful crops. For information on the Tower Garden, contact Beth Meyer, and good and generous friend of the farm, at Www.bethmeyer.juiceplus.com. However, if you do nothing more than put a pot on a sunny windowsill and grow your own basil, you are defending the planet, a concept your kids can explain to you.
Attached are a bunch of pictures that show the farm across the full range of our first season. Both Ivy and I are grateful for the enthusiastic response this project has engendered and we are very much looking forward to a larger farm, taller fruit trees, and bigger kids next summer.
Until then, enjoy the winter and keep growing.