Sunday, March 17, 2013

Soil, Seeds and Dirty Hands – Sowing Begins at Restoration Farm


This is how the summer harvest begins – palms blackened and dirt clinging to cuticles.  

It is a humble inception and one most never see.   But, assisting with seeding at Restoration Farm has become a regular pre-spring ritual for me.  It’s dirty, but it’s a signal that no matter how uncertain the times, some things remain constant.   Eventually, spring will arrive and seeds, soil, sun and water will produce food.
Seeding is the start of something delicious.   As always, Head Grower Caroline Fanning is scrupulously organized with detailed directions on which flats get which variety of seeds.   
On Saturday, our assignment is to seed 21 flats with beets and scallions.   I like seeding beets, because I enjoy holding those bright purple orbs in June, knowing I played some part in their birth.   The team includes Susan Salem, Donna Sinetar, Judy Stratton and me.     
We use our index fingers to dimple the soil, and then count out seeds one-a-at-a-time into the holes.  It is painstaking work but with a group, the job moves quickly.
Caroline takes us to the greenhouse, where scallions seeded earlier in the month are already sprouting.   There is a smattering of green accenting the flats of soil.  
The flowers at Restoration Farm are a feast for the eyes.  By midsummer, the cutting garden is a canopy of color.  It all starts with seeds, some no bigger than a grain of sand.   We reconvene on Sunday, and this time the team is Donna Sinetar, LuLu McCue and me. We prep the flats again.   After a point, your finger joints can get a little stiff.   You need sharp eyes for seeding microscopic flower seeds, but with focus we complete 28 flats. 
Ada does a pretty good of seeding, too.  Rumor has it she is planting lollipops, which sounds pretty tasty to me!
We conclude the weekend of seeding with a potluck soup and bread lunch.  LuLu is a soup chef extraordinaire, and serves up a rich, delicious lentil soup chock full of legumes, greens and orecchiette pasta and flavored with pancetta.  
It’s paired with a loaf of whole-wheat cottage cheese dill bread from my kitchen.
We can almost taste the fact that spring is just around the corner…  
©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved   

13 comments:

~~louise~~ said...

Top of the Morning to you T.W!

Have I ever told you how much enjoyment I get at knowing you are once again getting your hands all dirty? Delightful!

Yes, Spring is officially right around the corner now that I have feasted my eyes on the all hands on seed planting at Restoration Farm. I'm going to Katie's this week and I can't wait!

Thank you so much for sharing...

Kat said...

A great time of year, prepping for the summer fruits. I love hearing about the Restoration Farm. Soup looks good! And the bread sounds divine!

Natalia @ Hot Cheap & Easy said...

So exciting to see everything start happening. We will be at the farm next Saturday...with a group of my students! Will we see you there?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Happy planting, Louise and Kat!

Natalia - not sure if I'll be at the farm next weekend - It's going to be a busy week, so I may just be staying inside with the lights turned down by next Saturday! But, I think you'll be impressed at how the farm is gearing up already!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Ah, the rites of Spring.

Gloria Baker said...

Dear T.W. I love all this work in the farm really interesting and the soup look delicious!!

tasteofbeirut said...

oh wow! that is wonderful! `love the process. Reminds me of Salah, the Egyptian gardener here who sprouted hundreds of seedlings in a little makeshift greenhouse he built with a few sheets of plastic and a bulb, a technique, he told me, he learned in Egypt.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've been wondering when Restoration Farm would begin planting. What an adorable little girl. I would be planting lollipops if I were her age too :)
Sam

Mary said...

There is a suppressed farmer somewhere in your genetic pool. Yours is the true spring fever T.W. This is a miraculous time of year and it is wonderful to be in the garden and watch the cycle renew itself. Have a grand day. Blessings...Mary

Axelle the french cook said...

I began seeding 3 years ago, just some parsley on my balcony and the joy I felt seeing them growing was incredible.
Today, I just hope having a little garden to make grow vegetables.
Thank you for your post.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I had to have a path dug through a couple of feet of snow to get to my potting shed just to get to my seed flats. I'll be planting tomato and basil seeds tomorrow for planting in Maine at the end of May.

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is one of my favorite times of the year, when the investment is made for the promise of something great later. Everyone has so much to look forward too, and it's made every better by such a committed group of people.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

I love doing this at home too! I already have sown green courgette plants & 2 pumpkin plants too. A few of them failed but the pumpkin plants are very strong & growing bigger each day!

Thanks for sahring your experiences with us! I would love to have been involved in it all! :)