We’ve been breaking off peas at will for a little over a week now, but on Thursday we harvested almost two pounds of plumpest. They were amazing! Perfectly sweet inside with a sick crunch that satisfies like no other. These are the best peas I’ve ever had. One man even said of our peas, “these are too good to be used for pea soup!” We were planning on making pea soup this past Thursday, but the rain killed our workday and hopes of volunteers to share a meal with us. The wet gloom won out…but not for long! Good thing the peas will be harvestable for another couple of weeks, so we plan to go ahead with pea soup this Thursday. And then we’ll start reaping our snow peas from a different bed, which was sowed 3 weeks after our snap peas. Peas abound! Only one thing left to do to really enjoy these guys. Hey Bobby, why do you like soul food?
The Community Garden is run throughout the school year by a group of students, but unfortunately the main section of the growing season (May-September) falls within summer vacation. Starting last year, and with generous funding and in-kind room & board from the university and HUDS, we were able to start a summer internship program (which may or may not try to model itself off of a nameless university’s summer farming program.)
The internship is designed to give two students an immersive experience in urban agriculture from many angles: the actual growing of food and the planning and maintenance of the plot on a day-to-day basis, with an emphasis on learning organic pest management techniques as well as the basics of companion planting, intercropping, crop rotation, and other sustainable agriculture techniques. It is also a very social position. Unlike working on an actual farm, the garden is very much in the public eye of Cambridge. Summer school students, international tourists, and locals walk by the plot every day, and many come in to talk to the interns, ask questions, and tell their own stories about gardens and growing food. This is one of the most unique and exciting aspects of Harvard’s garden. We are not growing food in a hidden corner, tucked away from the bustle of campus and Cambridge– we are smack-dab in the center of Harvard Square.
This summer, we’re expanding programming and volunteer hours so that more of you can get involved. We’ll also be blogging more, sharing photos and stories and information with all of you across the country and world. Get ready!
I was a late bloomer, and only discovered my interest in environmentalism (and then sustainable agriculture) right before my freshman year at college. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time and became involved in the effort to create a community garden on Harvard’s campus. Despite my complete lack of knowledge in the specifics and techniques of gardening or urban agriculture, I took the chance to jump in and start from scratch in learning a completely new skill set. Two and a half years later, and here I am.
After having been a co-manager of the garden for roughly the past year, I am ready to learn how to walk the walk of sustainable urban gardening. And so, I’ll be posting a lot on here about the trials and tribulations we face on the plot, as well as our events and local/national agriculture news. Every day brings a new challenge, for which Sam and I have to cobble together some sort of solution. Even in the past week, I’ve learned so much– from aphid control on fava beans to constructing snap pea trellises to the benefits of square-foot over row gardening– and every new day I accumulate a little more general knowledge about how to succesfully run an urban agricultural plot. People are always surprised when I say that I’m working full-time maintaining the plot, because it seems like it couldn’t possibly take that much time to take care of it. But as I’ve learned so far, there are always more things that can be done. And thats what makes working in in the garden such a productive and rewarding experience.
So bear with me! I’ll be sharing my daily discoveries and discussing various techniques, issues, problems, and successes as we face them.
For now, i’ll leave you with some shots we took on the plot yesterday of our snap pea blossoms, garlic scapes (or, to be more accurate, singular scape), and absurdly ornate-looking frilly mustard greens. You can check out more on our flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48782892@N07/