on tuesday, i was honored to be interviewed by mrs. daly’s 5th grade class from ps 152 woodside, queens, ny!
full disclosure: mrs daly and i were best friends in high school. i don’t know if either of us realized we’d both be educators as grown ups! the class is doing a unit on journalism, and it is being documented as well! the six students who questioned me were lovely- they spoke clearly and exhibited excellent journalism skills. as prep, i sent them the following email with images, to help them craft their questions. after their documentary is finished, i will share that here as well!
our seeds and our potting soil are all certified organic- which means the soil came from a farmer who made it out of organic ingredients, and it doesn’t have any toxins or matter in it that were sprayed with herbicides (weed killers) or pesticides(bug killers).
our seeds all come from organic plants. this means they weren’t modified by a scientist in a lab. however, farmers HAVE modified plants for centuries to create plants that can grow better in their climates, and produce fruits and vegetables that taste good! we also grow seeds that have been tested to grow well in our climate zone. this helps them survive without a lot of extra, often chemical help.
we seed into trays with potting soil in our greenhouse. it’s very warm in there! the heat and the light tells the seeds it’s time to grow. our certified organic potting soil has lots of natural nutrients to help the plants grow strong roots and healthy plants. we don’t use any fertilizers or chemicals to add nutrients- they get what they need from the special soil we use!
after a few weeks, the seedlings come outside during the day time to “harden off”- this means they get used to the normal temperatures & weather of the day. we put them back into the greenhouse at night. after about a week, we plant the seedlings into our beds.
before we can plant the seedlings, we have to get our fields ready! we do this in two important ways, and both involve feeding the soil important nutrients so the plants will grow well.
we also raise certified organic chickens in our farm! they live in large cages for protection outside on our fields that are “fallow” for the year- this means we don’t grow plants on that field during that time. it gives the soil time to rest from over use and to absorb good nutrients from cover crops (peas, clover) AND our chickens! their poop is full of good fertilizer like nitrogen and phosphorus and potassium. we also spread organic compost from a farmer who makes it from organic materials.
once the beds are prepped we plant the seedings and lay out special hoses that drip water right where the plants are on the ground. this saves water and lets the plants get water, even during a drought. because we are organic, our water is tested once a year by a lab to ensure it is safe to drink and use on our crops! some plants grow and are harvested once, and some grow and can be harvested many times.
we don’t use any chemical herbicides (weed killers) so we weed our beds by hand! this lets the plants get more nutrients from the soil. we don’t use any chemical pesticides (bug killers) so we sometimes cover our beds with a special cloth cover to keep the bugs off! one very important reason why we don’t use toxic chemicals on our farm is because it helps keep us and our employees healthy as farmers and farm workers.
finally, we harvest the crops by hand and bring them in to be washed before we bring them to market to sell or distribute to our CSA Harvest Share members!