The Antioch Farm Fall Report – November 2019

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by | Nov 14, 2019

Season Changes: Antioch Farm Steps from Fall to Winter

The Antioch Farm was bustling with activity this Fall: Four courses participated in experiences on the Farm regularly, students and staff diligently cared for our animals and crops daily, and lots of visitors, insect and human, enjoyed the vibrant growing space. From students buzzing around studying bees to harvesting fall crops, there was rarely a dull moment.

Favorite Fall Farm Moments: 

  • Students in Ecological Growing Practicum: Food Forests & Specialty Gardens, find and eat the

    first Paw Paw from the food forest and help harvest the 1,500 pounds of winter squash from the Three Sisters Garden.  

  • Beekeeping students in Sustainable Apiculture look like space walkers in their protective bee suits while checking out the campus honeybees. 
  • Shovels dig into various farm beds to collect soil samples for analysis in Soil: A Living System
  • Checking out funky hybrid squash with Seed Sovereignty & Citizen Action and collecting heirloom, open pollinated seeds for next year’s crop. 
  • Abundant monarch larva (39!) spotted by farm staff in the new Safe Passage Garden’s milkweed plants. 

Now that winter weather has arrived, course use, staff, and production have slowed down. Even as snow blankets the Farm, it provides lingering crops like winter squash, garlic, and dried corn, tucked away for safe storage from the frost. Farm fresh eggs and pastured lamb, as well as greens from our hoop house, still make a local, delicious mark on meals in the dining hall. 

Winter farm tasks, made trickier by snowfall, include daily animal care, hoop house care, and compost collection. On pleasant days, there is also plenty to do to prepare beds for spring, such as adding compost and mulch. Looking back at a season well done, it is the right time to plan for next spring, another chance for vibrancy and growth. 

Winter Farm Facts

  • If you pick greens when frozen, they wilt and rot quickly. However, if you wait until they thaw, they stay fresh. Greens that do this are arugula, Asian greens and cold hardy lettuces, among others. 
  • Our plastic hoop house keeps crops about 5° warmer. Add a layer of row cover and its 10°. Allowing crops to grow a month later into winter or a month earlier in the spring. 
  • Worms can tell you when compost is finished. A compost pile when cooking (or decomposing) is too hot for worms. Once finished, the worms return to the compost center indicating its ready for garden beds. 
  • Brussel sprouts grow on stalks, a sight that apparently makes Antiochians smile. Maybe the next unofficial mascot?