Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Growing food on the Wilmington College farm

Yesterday was a great day to be outside and in the dirt, so I (John) decided to shadow Eric and our trusty grounds crew out at the Wilmington College farm on Fife Avenue. The farm is one of several that the college operates, and this year for the first time (on this scale) we are growing a variety of crops to donate to Your Father's Kitchen, a local food pantry operated by Sugartee Ministries, and other organizations.

The vegetable plots are situated on a hilly expanse in the front acreage of the farm, visible from both Fife Avenue and the 4-C Bicentennial Trail that snakes around the land. We're currently growing potatoes, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, more than five varieties of peppers, squash, okra, muskmelon, cantaloupe and several others. The tomatoes, potatoes and whatever else we can harvest in bulk will all be donated to the food pantry, to try to supplement the truly amazing amount of food they provide for the hungry in our community.

Yesterday, Eric, Kyle and Allyssa (the latter two from our grounds crew) were planting Tomatillo tomatoes and tying up the ever-growing tomato plots that dominate the back swathe of land in the garden. We tend 13 different tomato beds with 40 plants in each bed. Considering one healthy plant typically yields 20 lbs. of fruit, our 520 tomato plants will produce more than 10,000 (!) lbs. of food. It's no wonder Monte and Randy wanted to plant a similiarly large amount of peppers; we'll have a lot of salsa to make.

The farm should be bursting with color in the coming weeks, with the peppers and tomatoes and squash only a few weeks away from being ripe.

To see all the pictures from the day, visit our Facebook photo page.

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