Tag Archives: Farmworker Perspectives

Dirt – Farmworker Post

Thanks for visiting our blog! Today is a special guest post from one of our farm workers (who is also a Dining Services Employee) Mike O’Sullivan. Enjoy this post and visit our other staff posts by checking out our tags.

OK, I admit it: I like playing in the dirt.  I did as a kid.  Back then it was mud pies, now it’s vegetables (which taste a lot better).  You’re not supposed to play in the dirt when you’re grown up, so the farm gives me a chance to get away with it.  I love planting a seedling into the ground, piling soil around it, then tending to it as it grows.  It’s a feeling of accomplishment.  Then when we serve the vegetables, it’s so cool being able to brag that I helped grow it.

Hello from Kathie – Farmworker post

Thanks for visiting our blog! Today is a special guest post from one of our farm workers (who is also a Dining Services Employee) Kathie. You can visit Kathie at West End Market during the academic year, and if you do, please thank her for working at the garden for us. Enjoy this post and visit our other staff posts by checking out our tags.

This is Kathie from West End Market. I worked at Kentland Farm this summer for the Dining Services program because I wanted to learn more about what we do out there. I haven’t had much experience gardening so a lot is new to me. I have been kept busy every day and enjoying it all.
Here are a few pictures of some of what is on the farm:

I don’t have a favorite veggie but I am really excited about this one..
Trellis tomatoes

Vertical growth has its advantages: Good air circulation, greater exposure to light, and fewer hiding places for pests. The strings also make it easier to keep track of the suckers needing pruning.
To get the most from trellised tomatoes, use vining tomatoes rather than bush types or dwarfs. Vining tomatoes are also called indeterminate tomatoes, as opposed to determinate ones. Determinate tomatoes tend to reach a determined size and then stop. Their fruit ripens all at once. Indeterminate tomatoes are vigorous and will keep growing until they are frozen. They have more foliage, and this may result in tastier fruit. Once the first fruits ripen, the plants continue producing until frost.
(Thank You to Chelsea for teaching me how to Trellis Tomatoes and to Adam for telling me the difference between Determinate and Indeterminate.)

Among what we harvested today were peaches
I did not sing this! not even once!
James Awesome said “They are so perfect, they are just falling into my hands like presents from the trees!”

They really were!

A sunflower picture for Abby (you can find her working at Owens when the semester starts)
They are planted in the herb garden to help attract insects for pollination

Mr. Bee says hey sunflower, are ya ticklish?

I’ll leave you with this guy. He is a horned worm.

Tomato Hornworms are the larva of a huge moth called five-spotted hawkmoth. Approximate size of the moth is around the size of a hummingbird.
A black projection or “horn” on the last abdominal segment gives the caterpillar the name “hornworm”.
There are many natural factors that help to control tomato hornworm infestations. The egg stage and early instar larvae are often preyed upon by various general predatory insects such as lady beetles and green lacewings. They are also parasitized by a number of insects including small braconid wasp.
Larvae that hatch from wasp eggs laid on the hornworm feed on the inside of the hornworm until the wasp is ready to pupate. The cocoons appear as white projections protruding from the hornworms body. If such projections are observed, the hornworms should be left in the garden to conserve the beneficial parasitoids. The wasps will kill the hornworms when they emerge from the cocoons and will seek out other hornworms to parasitize.
As you can see he survived all that and now he gets to go fishing with Adam.

Salad Mix – Farmworker post

Salad mix

Thanks for visiting our blog! Today is a special guest post from one of our farm workers (who is also a Dining Services Employee) Mike O’Sullivan. Enjoy this post and visit our other staff posts by checking out our tags.

——

 

I was surprised to learn that mixed salad greens really are grown mixed.  Seeds for the different varieties of greens come together all in one jar and you just seed them into the ground together.  I guess I always assumed they’re mixed together after harvest in some kind of industrial salad green mixing plant.

That may be how it’s done elsewhere, but at our farm we get jars of salad mix seeds from Johnny’s Seeds of Winslow Maine.  In a university/industry partnership, Virginia Tech supplies climate and growth data to Johnny’s, and in exchange, Johnny’s supplies seeds for our sustainability project.

The names of the greens in our salad mix are called “Tango”, “Parris Island”, “Green Salad Bowl”, “Red Salad Bowl”, “Royal Oak”, “Firecrackers”, “Dark Lollo Roosa” and “Outredgeous”.  I asked the seed salesperson how they come up with those names – it turns out they’re developed through a strenuous marketing process called “making them up”.