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Monday, July 7, 2014

Twining Tomatoes

The wind woke me up early this morning when I heard the tree branches shaking their leaves in a thick symphony deep into the woods outside my window, surrounding the farm.  I lay in bed thinking about the week ahead.  I did a mental scan of the fields and thought about what the crew would be up to this Monday morning.  I kept thinking of the tomatoes, those overflowing beds of green stems and soft leaves with yellow flowers and green fruit starting to take over the rows.  We would need to twine today.  I fell into a hazy morning slumber thinking about tying up the plants, protecting them from disease, getting them ready for harvest.

We plant our tomatoes into black plastic rows.  The plastic warms the soil, keeping the temperature high for the heat-loving plants.  The plastic also acts as a mulch, keeping weeds down, especially close to the plants.  Then we drive stakes into the earth, between the plants, at intervals of three or 4 plants.  As the plants grow, it is our objective to twine along with the plants, supporting them as they grow from six inches to nearly six feet, depending on the variety.

To twine, we slip the roll of twine onto our belt loops, becoming one with our string.  We pull the white string, strong yet thin, from the box and tie off to the end of the bed.  We scoop low along the plants, making our way from one stake to the next, in a move that could easily make it on to some work out video.  We squat and walk and extend our arms low along the plants and then high up over the top of the stake, holding it tight with the other hand so that we keep the tension on the twine.  Once around the stake, then tighten, then once around again.  For a five foot person it's uncomfortable, my fingers are fully pointed to the sky and I may even grunt unexpectedly to finally hook the twine over the top of the stake. However difficult, I embrace the challenge and start picking up speed as I move along the row.  Once we reach the end of the row we turn back down the other side to sandwich the wild tomatoes between the two sides of twine. 

If done well, you can look down the rows and see the plants standing up straighter, pulled up from the ground.  We twine so that the tomatoes are off of the soil, where they pick up diseases.  We twine to provide better airflow to our plants.  We twine so that we can harvest on upright plants.  We twine so our fruit does not rest on the ground where it will rot or be eaten by the bunnies who can't help themselves. 

Sometimes, the plants win.  They grow too fast for us to properly twine them.  Or, they grow limbs of tomato plants from the bottom out...and we can't tame them with our thin twine.  We do our best.  The tomatoes do their best.  We dance along rows and stretch our arms as tall as they will go and we walk with a kind of swagger with those boxes of twine resting on our waists.  Like so much on our farm, I love the ritual of twining.  Of being up close to the plants.  Of being a little uncomfortable, but pushing through it to see results.  And when those first ripe tomatoes hang perfectly at waist height and I reach in to pull one out between tomatoes and twine, I am proud.  Hopefully you will feel that same joy as you reach in for your first sun gold of the season, coming soon.

See you out in those fields of tomato stakes,

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew




What's in the share (most likely):

full: lettuce, carrots, beets, fennel, choice of greens, onions, scallions, potatoes, squash, kohlrabi
small: lettuce, carrots, choice of greens, onions or scallions, squash, choice of roots.

pick your own: peas, herbs, fava beans, flowers


Events and Awesomeness at the farm this week:

Tuesday: Jordan Brothers Seafood vendor at farm 1:30-6:30
Friday: Flower Power Hour, come volunteer with us: 2-3pm
Saturday: volunteer drop in time: 8am-Noon!

  
You can still Join Powisset's Flower CSA! (this is the last week to join)
Do you want a bouquet each week from our farm, expertly arranged? 
Check this out! 
THE SHARE: 
 10 weeks of beautiful blooms arranged by Powisset Farm flower growers especially for you!
WHERE:
 Powisset Farm (37 Powisset Street, Dover, MA) in our CSA barn
WHEN:
  Tuesdays (1:30 – 6:30) or Saturdays (10 - 5)
DATES: 
 the beginning of July - ending the beginning of September
What you can expect:
  Each bouquet will feature fresh picked, sustainably grown focal and filler flowers tastefully arranged for your home, office or as a gift. Large, vibrant, mixed flower bouquets including your summer favorites: Sunflowers, Dahlias, Snapdragons, Zinnias, Asters, Celosia, Black Eyed Susans and other exciting and unique blooms.
How it works:
  At the beginning of the season, when you sign up for your share choose which day makes the most sense for your pick up day, Tuesday or Saturday. Flowers will be harvested the day before and kept cool to maintain freshness and extend their vase life.
Cost:
  $100 ($10/week for 10 weeks) for a $150 value. You’ll be getting a high value product while supporting our farm and the expansion of our flower production. You’ll also be supporting flowers grown locally without harmful chemicals, by farmers working in a healthy working environment.
HOW TO SIGN UP: 
 If you’re interested in signing up or have questions please email Kasey - kbutler@ttor.org
 


1 comment:

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