Monday, June 27, 2011

A Youth Farm Flower Update!

*Carroll Gardens Patch covers our upcoming flower sales at Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain: Check out the article here!

*A flower farm update from flower apprentice Chelsea Newson:
The past couple weeks—especially this past Wednesday, at the farm’s first Farmer’s Market—have made me so excited to be a flower apprentice. I have very little previous gardening experience, so it’s wonderful to be able to say that I’ve already learned so much about growing flowers, from how to make an organic insecticide (using water, vodka, natural soap, and garlic oil) to how to encourage more productive flower growth by “pinching” young plants to produce off-shoot growth. It was so exciting and inspiring to see how quickly our flowers sold at the market last week and how happy they made our customers (the cosmos and larkspur bouquets were my favorite), and now I’m all the more eager to keep growing more flowers and making more bouquets. I’m looking forward to harvesting new varieties and focusing in on a couple varieties that I will “specialize” in and research on my own, and also hope to learn more about soil identification, health, and care.

*A word from flower farmer Molly Culver:

At the Youth Farm, we’re breaking into new ground on a weekly basis! While we are growing several beds of flowers on the main “field” of the Youth Farm along Kingston Street, the majority of our flowers are being planted in a smaller, 2,500 sq. ft. area on the Wingate Campus along Rutland Street.

At the moment, we are doing a lot of intensive sod-to-garden bed conversion work by hand, using garden digging forks, spades and rakes. Flower apprentice Ethan Gallagher and I have been making roughly one more 4’x50’ bed every Tuesday (see photo above). The constant wave of new flower seedlings in our cold frames urge us along in our work, as they will soon need more space to spread their roots.

This past week was exciting as flower apprentices Chelsea Newson, Paola Sanchez, Whitney Richardson and I harvested our first Sunflowers (see a photo of a ProCut Orange "Sunny" above), Zinnias, Cosmos, Larkspur, and Calendula for our first market. We can’t wait to cut more this week.

There is a constant flow of work around this time of year -- from digging new beds, to weeding recently planted ones, fertilizing young transplants with fish emulsion (a rich source of Nitrogen that aids in early vegetative growth), trellising maturing flowers and now harvesting, we've got our hands full. I'm delighted to be working with such a hard-working and impassioned group of adult apprentices. The work of growing and maintaining this small, but intensively-planted flower farm would be very difficult without them. I also look forward to the imminent arrival of our troupe of Summer Youth, all students from the High School for Public Service.

Stay tuned for more next week!