COVID-19 Update

To our Prospect Farm community:

In light of new guidelines to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we will be following these protocols for activities at Prospect Farm:

  1. The Farm remains open for members to do essential work.  We strongly recommend that no more than two and at the most three members be present at any one time.
  2. Compost collection will continue on Saturday between 11 and 12 with one person only processing the compost.  Buckets will be put on the strip for community members to deposit their food scraps.
  3. All recommendations as to social distance and cleaning of surfaces are to be followed.  Members can bring their own gloves or take a pair home for washing after use. Another suggestion is to keep your gloves in a plastic bag in the shed with your name on it.  Wear gloves at all times to handle the locks and tools. Bring sanitary wipes if you have them.
  4. Members are encouraged to do solo gardening during the week.  You can sign up for a slot (Phil is working on a way to do this) or simply come to work.  Tasks will be posted on the white board in the shed. The planting schedule and map will also be posted in the shed.
  5. Keep us informed by writing in the log book (maybe you want to bring your own pen) or by posting an email as to what tasks you have done.

Last year’s harvest by the numbers

As we start planning for this year’s plantings, we’re taking a look back at how last year went. We weigh all our crops when we harvest, and this is how they all tallied up:

Cucumbers are always our heaviest crop, by far! We grew a greater diversity of crops last year compared to the year before, so in comparison we saw smaller yields in part because of planting less (tomatoes, in particular). But we saw increased yields in arugula, sweet peppers, and eggplant.

Then and now: seeing how far we’ve come

Farm member Jo went on a little journey through our Facebook photo history and made these before and after pictures from the farm’s early days compared to today. The transitions are made more extreme as the before photos all look to be from early spring work days compared to the lush summer days of 2017. As founder Tom Angotti replied, “What a difference a community and the summer make!”

2010 and 2017

Looking up the hill in 2010 compared to 2017

2011 and 2017

Along the fence, 2011 to 2017

2011 and 2017

How the beds have changed, 2011 to 2017

Fruit trees 2013 to 2017

Fruit trees being planted in 2013 and today in 2017

Harvest Week Two

Another fantastic week for harvesting at Prospect Farm! The cherry tomatoes are coming in like gangbusters and the garden has been generous with summer squash as well, including some massive zucchini! Most exciting for this novice farmer has been the basil, which is so much lovelier than any basil I’ve ever bought, whether from a grocery store or a farmer’s market. We’re growing types of basil I’d never heard of, including lime basil, with a fragrance will bowl you over!

We’re still waiting for the big tomatoes to ripen, but the first comer is starting to announce its arrival. And! – a new sight in the last ten days has been blackberries! No one was sure whether the blackberry bush would yield anything this year and it’s exciting watching them grow in.

We did not eat for free – a harvest day usually means a work day as well. We put in a few hours staking unweildy tomatoes and cleaning up the beds a bit, making sure the little things like basil don’t get completely shaded by giant things like squash leaves. It feels good to work for my food, but this tiny taste of agricultural labor is giving me a new appreciation for the effort that goes into making food on the scale of a true farm!

Here are our totals for last week’s harvests (July 13th and 16th):

Cherry tomatoes: 15.5 pounds (plus half a pound of green cherry Ts that had fallen from the vine)

Zucchini: 8.5 pounds

Cucumbers: 3.75 pounds

Kale: 1.6 pounds

Collards: 1.5 pounds

Peas: 1.55 pounds

Fennel: 1 pound

Basil: 1 oz

Total food harvested: 33.4 pounds!

Reaping what we sow: Prospect Farm’s first harvests!

It’s been 2-3 months since seeds/starter plants went into the ground, and by last week the Farm was finally ready to beginning harvesting some of the bounty! The members harvested on July 7 and July 9 (see many more pictures here).

For me – a new Prospect Farm member who had never set foot in a garden until this spring – the harvest was a  chance to draw connections in my brain between the soil, the labor I’ve put in, and the delicious food I get to eat. I also learned a lot about process – how to tell when the peas are ready to pick, the proper technique for pinching leaves off of kale or collard plants, and that it’s okay to eat the green cherry tomatoes that have fallen off the vine prematurely.

All year long Prospect Farm will be recording the bounty of its harvests for a project called Farming Concrete, whose goal is to measure how much food is grown in NYC community gardens. We’re keeping a tally of how much of each crop we harvest. Here are the first week’s approximate totals (July 7 and July 9 combined):

Cherry tomatoes: 4 lbs 3 oz (about 180 cherry tomatoes)

cucumbers: 3 lbs 10 oz

zuccini: 10 lbs 12 oz

curly kale: 10 oz

regular kale: 1 lb 7 oz

collards: 12 oz

chard: 3.5 oz

mustard greens: 5 oz

peas: 1 lb 4 oz

basil: 2.5 oz

sage: 0.25 oz

oregano: 0.75 oz

squash blossoms: 0.6 oz

Total food harvested in week one: about 23 lbs 6 oz.

Each farm member chose to take evenly divided shares of some or all of the crops harvested on either Wednesday or Saturday. For my part, I left on Wednesday evening with 15 cherry tomatoes, a few sprigs of basil and sage, a few pea pods, half a large cucumber and more greens than you could shake a stick at. I enjoyed the food all week long in tomato sauces, sage-buttered pasta, sauteed greens with garlic and lemon juice, salads and more. It’s been a delicious week and I’m looking forward to my next harvest!