Archive for September, 2013|Monthly archive page

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams” ~ Henry David Thoreau

In Kids on the Farm on September 30, 2013 at 2:25 am

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“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ~ A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh

On Saturday, September 28th, our Junior Beekeepers (Tipate, Kaniya, Trevon, Yasmine T., Kenneth, Yasmine P., Ralanda, and Ying) entered the honey they harvested from the Farm this Summer in the DC State Fair which was held during the Barracks Row Fall Festival on 8th St. SE (Eastern Market metro station)!

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In the end, out of 16 entrants, we took 4th with 93/100, only two points off “Best in Show”! Scores ranged from 95 down to 59. We dropped points on density (14/20) otherwise with only a 0.8 difference (as measured by spectrometry) we would have scored a 99! I guess we have to break the bad news to the bees and ask them not have their honey ready for harvest when it’s humid outside!


One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four…

In Kids on the Farm on September 24, 2013 at 3:04 am

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Red Norland potatoes ~ in the front, those harvested from plastic trash cans, those at the rear from direct sow in the ground

6 months ago our Kindergartners and 1st-graders planted 20lbs of seed potatoes, half in the ground and half in trash cans; today the now 1st and 2nd graders took home some of the 250lbs produced!

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As the potato plant grows taller, filling in the trash can with soil to leave the top one inch of leaves every couple of weeks will fill the trash can with potatoes ~ the kids planted eye sections of two potatoes in each trash which yielded a total of 10lbs in each can!

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A row of Yukon Gold and a row of Red Norland flank the five trash cans planted by our Kindergartners and 1st graders in April ~ almost 6 months later, both rows and cans yielded almost 250lbs of potatoes! 750lbs donated to DC Central Kitchen, 50lbs donated to the Golden Rule Plaza retirement home, and the remainder taken home by each current 1st and 2nd grader!


In Happy Moments on September 22, 2013 at 3:07 am

“Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be strong and beautiful through all the seasons.” ~ Khalil Gibran, The Pomegranate

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Among the many varieties of fruit we grow on the Farm, the pomegranate is one of our favorites. Technically a Zone 8 or higher tree, the two varieties we have in our Herb Garden seem to be at home in the micro-climate of the inner city.

“granum” (Latin, “seed”) ~ “malum garantum” (Latin, “seed apple”) ~ “pome” (Old French, “apple”) ~ “grenate”, (Old French, “seed”) ~ “pome grenate” (Old French, “seed apple”) ~ “pomegranate” (Middle English)

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Punica granatum from a plate in “Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz” by Otto Wilhelm Thomé, 1885.

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L’Orientale à la grenade by William-Adolphe Bouguereau ca. 1870, usually translated as “Girl with a Pomegranate” although the original French reflects his move from painting French peasant scenes to the east, this most likely from Egypt

Early Morning Okra!

In Kids on the Farm, Recipes on September 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

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One of the easiest crops to grow here in DC is okra. Yes, Robin Williams’ comedy might represent the thoughts of a few past okra consumers – “Okra is the closest thing to nylon I’ve ever eaten. It’s like they bred cotton with a green bean. Okra, tastes like snot. The more you cook it, the more it turns into string!” – but when freshly picked, even eaten raw straight off the plant, okra gladdens the heart in stews, soups, and when dusted with corn meal and quickly sautéed!

Okra is very good source of Dietary Fiber (13%), Vitamin A (7%), Vitamin C (50%), Vitamin K (66%), Thiamin (13%), Vitamin B6 (11%), Folate (22%), as well as the minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.

Related to both cotton and hibiscus, once the edible flowers are pollinated, it only takes about 4 days for the seed pod to form. We are growing 5 varieties this season: ‘Millionaire’, which produces high yields of dark green 5-point pods; ‘Clemson Spineless’, light green 5 to 8-point pods and the standard variety grown in the southern US; ‘Jambalaya’, a high-yielding early season pod; ‘Carmine Splendor’, a fast-maturing, deep red late season pod; and an heirloom variety from Jamaica, mailed to us from one of our friends in Kingston!

In October this crop will be the featured vegetable when our Junior Chefs learn all about pickling!

The recipe ingredients: fresh okra, garlic, lemon, cider vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds, and black peppercorns (the okra, garlic, coriander, and fennel seed all harvested from our Farm)

Cardinal Climber

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2013 at 3:22 am

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Cardinal Climber (Ipomea x multifida) at the entrance to the herb garden, still summoning the ruby-throated hummingbirds!