Thursday September 15, 2016
Leeks are the first veggie plants we start growing indoors each year. Flats get planted around the first week of February. After getting fertilized indoors, moved to cooler growing conditions, transplanted into deep plug trays, hardened off, their outdoor beds prepped, holes “dribbled” (9″ deep holes put in the ground), transplanted out, fertilized, mulched, fertilized again, mulched again, fertilized yet again, & mulched one more time… Finally leeks are ready for harvest! Some of our leeks go even farther, as we cover the whole plant with leaves at the end of the fall & let them spend the whole winter in the garden, only to uncover them & harvest them early next spring (leeks are often in both our first & last CSA farm shares).
Leeks, along with other long-season veggies, like Brussels’ sprouts & ginger, and our fruit trees represent the long-term commitment & time till return on investment that growing good things often takes.
As of this week marks the average value of the produce we’ve provided to both our small & large farm shareholders, is finally above the amount they paid in. So, with a tough spring & early summer it took us some time to get there, but finally our farm shareholders are seeing a monetary profit from their investment.
This week also marks the start of the fall youth internship. James Newkirk is joining us again, starting his 5th year of working with 5 Loaves Farm (he was actually helping us plant things in the neighborhood before 5 Loaves Farm even existed)! He will be graduating high school this year & it has been amazing to both support & learn from him during his time at the farm. Being able to develop these long-term relationships with neighborhood youth is what helps set both them & the farm become successful at reaching our goals.
Leeks also demonstrate our long-term commitment to healing our connection to the land. Leeks are demanding & require a healthy soil in order to thrive. Building healthy soil on vacant urban lots has taken money, a lot of effort, & especially patience. Following organic practices for fertilizing, encouraging soil organisms to thrive, cover-cropping, mulching, & limiting tillage will set-up our soil for long-term health that will also translate into long-term productivity for the farm.
So take some leeks, some potatoes, some fresh herbs & slow-cook them in a pot over the stove this week. And as you enjoy the soup you’ll get to experience how patience & a long-term commitment to doing what’s right can yield great things!