May 7, 2012 — Catawba River District Voices

In a recent blog, I described our Community Supported Agriculture Group (CSA). It consists of 5 families who come out to our farm on a consistent basis to help us tend our vegetable beds. In exchange for their work and a small fee, the families are able to take home lots of produce as well as knowledge about gardening.

This past Saturday was a typical weekend morning for members of our group:

After a short prayer, Chris and I directed the members to various tasks. Fred and his young children were assigned to water the tomatoes and peppers. With a little supervision, this is a fun and active activity for small children. Of course things can get out of control so everyone needs to be prepared to get wet!


While the watering was going on, Shane and Kristi prepared one of the raised beds to plant the “3 sisters”. This is a companion planting. Corn, squash and beans are sown together because they each have a valuable asset that the others like.

Corn grows tall and is a great climbing fence for the pole beans. Corn will use a lot of nitrogen in its growing stage, while the beans put back nitrogen into the soil.

Squash grown at the base of the corn stalks keeps the weeds at bay and also prevents water from evaporating from the soil. It’s been written that the prickly stems keeps raccoons at bay, but unfortunately, I have not found that to be true.

So back to our gardening…Shane and Kristi raked out the bed to produce a flat surface. They then pulled a string from one end of the box to the other to get a straight line in which to plant. After making an inch deep furrow with a hoe, the CSAers planted the corn. In the picture you can see Shane, who invented a FIDO method for covering up the seed.

In a week or so after the corn starts popping up, we will sow the bean and squash seeds right next to the small stalks.

While all of these activities were going on, Chris and a few others were beginning a new “project”. After years of hand watering, our farm is going to have water automation!! Woo Hoo!

Chris bought irrigation tape and various parts and began installing them in our newest growing field. With just a flip of a switch, the cucumbers, beans and zucchini will be irrigated. Another day he’ll be installing the system into more of the raised beds.

After Fred and his girls watered the tomatoes, they harvested some of the spring vegetables such as radishes, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries and cauliflower. We were able to pick a few peas … they are just starting to come in. Should have peas galore next week.

Other tasks we accomplished were thinning out the carrots and getting rid of weeds that had popped up especially around the onions. We were hoping for rain, but only a few drops came down. Oh, but never fear…with our new irrigation system all the vegetables will be happy.