I never knew I was a geek until now. How I failed to realize it is a mystery to my family.
My son is doing a project on culture in his 10th grade humanities class, recognizing elements of culture by looking at the cultures to which he belongs — his tribe, so to speak. And, listening to him talk about his tribe, made me realize my own tribe, and the way I am a geek. I am a nature geek, and the form that is currently taking is farming. I am a farm geek. I am intensely interested in things that are really not very interesting to people who are not geeking out on the same things. And here, in my farming 101 class at Wild Willow Farm, I have discovered a tribe of farm geeks. It is a beautiful thing to recognize. Especially because we are such a diverse group in age, ethnicity, gender and education. How else would we even connect with each other, except for the fact that we all love dirt.
We are led by Paul Maschka, a beautiful person who pours his knowledge out for us to share each week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. What could be kinder than to share your knowledge with others in such an open-hearted way?
This week we learned about seed saving and spacing plants on a farm — so different from how I have space plants in a garden!
We began by preparing farm rows for broccoli and cabbage, aerating the soil with giant forks, laying down irrigation, and planting out the starts we planted in the hoop house several weeks ago. We learned how to tell if a plant is root bound and unlikely to thrive, and how to tell if it is just ready to plant, how to make sure the soil is just moist enough, and where to plant in relation to the drip tape.
Seed saving — we took corn seeds from Painted Mountain corn — see how gorgeous it is in the photos! and from amaranth and radish pods in unconventional ways. We learned how to separated seeds from chaff, how to dry seeds, and which seeds can be planted with bits of plant parts attached.