It’s been an odd summer for East Tennessee, wet and cool, our tomatoes took their sweet time changing hues. Summer has kept us busy with bounty and for that I am grateful. The season that I thought would be the toughest in regards to irrigation and labor has actually been a surprising ease compared to spring.
There is the experience factor in that every season we get under our hats teaches us better ways to work and plan. We started constructing the fall lot a few weeks ago, turning in our short summer cover crop of sorghum and cowpea and gracing the beds with our little mustard plants and carrot seeds. The radishes have sprouted and the turnips went in a few days ago. The greenhouse is full with eager plant youth and my morale is boosted in regards to the cool season crops again. It’s such a fun time of year. We started pulling pumpkins from the fields a few weeks ago, gathering enough to hand out when the time is right with our indian popcorn. We also started a new project using the woody vegetation that was present on the property before we started cultivation. The term is called Huglekulture, and is essentially a fancy way of composting wood in a productive manner. The idea is to take a wood pile, cover it with dirt, and as the wood breaks down it also acts as a sponge to absorb water and slowly irrigate your surface plants that you have planted on top of the pile. So our pile looked like this:
and now that we’ve turned it and added dirt and manure, it looks a little something like this:
This year I think we’ll plant some flowers and native grasses to make a pretty natural boundary from the road. It was amazing to see how much it had already broken down since the land clearing last February.
It’s been good times at Abbey Fields with the work folks, and our members have also been awesome, it’s great to be able to hand them a heavy bag of summer produce each week. Thanks to the community for all of the support as we continue to clean up the lot and plan for next year.
Be well all,