August, 2016

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Late Summer Crops Doing Very Well

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

I decided to try two new plants this year, sweet potatoes and collard greens. I always thought of them as southern crops but they apparently do very well here in Massachusetts. Before planting the sweet potatoes, I dug a trench on the south facing slope of the garden and replaced the high clay soil with a loam/sand/compost mix. This is the preferred soil for sweet potatoes so we’ll see how they do. Sweet potatoes are a better alternative to regular potatoes which they are not really closely related.

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Collards are a member of the brassica family like kale, cabbage and broccoli and like them full of health benefits. Apparently, conventional production results in pesticide contamination and while not in the worse category levels are high enough to be of concern. We use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Our leafy vegetable might have some insect damage but its because the benefits of allowing for an ecological web far outweigh the disadvantages of becoming a slave to the toxic chemical paradigm.

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Most of this Kale (red Russian) was self seeded last year when I was trying to see if I could get a second year out of the kale plants that survived the previous winter.

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Turkey Family Passing Through the Corn and Eating Weed Seeds

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

 

TurkeyMomKidHere is a family of turkeys in late August that decided to past through the farm.  The link below shows them in the small patch of corn. Its interesting to watch as they strip the weed seeds off the plants. Like chickens, they are able to eat seeds directly because  they have a crop at the base of their necks where the food is held until it passed to the gizzard where they keep small pebbles to grind up the material they eat. Humans and most mammals can’t eat seeds directly. That is why we grind them in a mill.

 

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Breakneck Hill Farm Donates Food to the Urban Farm Institute

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

As part of our continuing evolution, I harvested and delivered kale, Lettuce, tomatoes and squash to the folks of the Urban Farm Institute at the Mattapan square Farmers Market. The farmers market brings fresh organically grown produce much of it grown right up Blue Hill Ave at the space provided by the Sportsman Club, to a population which would not have access. The produce is priced well below market rates to make it affordable to the residents who are primarily low income. After setting up the table we took a tour of the sites where UFI is currently growing food in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, including the site of their future headquarters, the recently acquired Clark-Fowler-Epstein house.

http://www.historicbostonblog.org/2014/09/hbi-to-acquire-mattapan-landmark.html#.V7mQUWXgDPE

I can say enough about the resourcefulness and dedication UFI shows in overcoming immense challenges. Even when space becomes available, it needs to be covered with 18 inches of soil to mitigate the potential hazards of toxins in the native soil. Each property requires grant writing and fund raising to  even begin work. Thanks to Nataka, Bobby, Apolo, Joe and Ronald for hosting me.

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The Urban Farm Institute trains people in the inner city to grow organic food, Pease consider making a donation:

https://urbanfarminginstitute.org