By Jackson Yow, Assistant Farm Manager
“Hello, everyone! My name is Jackson, and I am entering my fourth season of farming at Green Earth and second as assistant farm manager. I planted my first vegetables 7 years ago as a freshman at the University of South Carolina and have been hooked ever since. The more I understand about agriculture, the more I realize how much there is still to learn. The unending process of growth, discovery, and problem solving resonates deeply with me.
I farm because I am passionate about providing a tangible benefit to my community. I farm to engage with both simplicity and complexity. A mere bunch of carrots is the product of months of planning, fixing, maintaining, preparing, seeding, weeding, harvesting, washing, and managing each step of that process, including adapting to every curveball along the way. Farming grants me a connection with the land that few, if any, other careers offer. It allows me to push myself, lift others up, and have fun doing so
It is difficult to imagine life outside of being a farmer after 7 years. Farming has given me so much, and I intend to give it all back and more as I progress on this journey.”
The above is a short piece I wrote for a social media post a couple of weeks ago (be sure to follow us for real time updates on the farm!). Fresh off of a weekend at Marbleseed organic farming conference in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and a winter full of planning, the time for reflection is coming to an end. With spring quickly approaching, it is time to put the plans we’ve made into action.
The past two weeks on the farm have consisted of several “first of the year” tasks as we gear up for 2023. A small group of volunteers helped us seed almost 200 trays of onions, shallots, and scallions (thank you, volunteers!) – that’s right around 27,000 seeds. This morning those trays were moved down to our south greenhouse where they will stay for another month until they become the first crop to be transplanted into the field. The space they were occupying will fill up quickly with herbs, leeks, and lettuce for the plant sale and spring shares.
Speaking of spring shares, we also seeded 4 beds of carrots in our hoop-house. Within the next week, we will flame weed these beds to give the carrots a good head start once they emerge. In order to incinerate weeds without harming carrots, we have a simple trick to get the timing perfect. At the same time that we seed the carrots, we drop beet seeds at the beginning of the bed. The beet seeds act as an “indicator”- they emerge roughly a week before the carrots, signaling the perfect time to flame weed. When we seed entire beds of beets later on, we use radish seeds as indicators for flame weeding the beets. This simple trick is a cheap and easy way to give two of our most popular crops a solid start.
The next two weeks will also consist of seeding peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and more for the plant sale, field crops, and U-pick. Thankfully, farm manager Russell and I have some help on the way! Crew members will be returning at the end of the month, truly signifying the “beginning” of the season in my mind. Things pick up fast in the spring. In what feels like the blink of an eye, the danger of frost is gone and the fields are filling out with the first rounds of crops. Preparing the fields for that point in the season is always a struggle. Mowing, disking, spading, and rotovating require soil conditions that are hard to predict this time of the year. The risk of being set back by fields that are too wet to work is very real. Exercising patience and remaining observant of conditions and circumstances are absolutely imperative at this point of the season.
Getting back in the groove of the farm season is an incredibly exciting place to be. The entire Green Earth Harvest team is ready to dive in and do what we do best- produce delicious, organic, local veggies for you guys. Thank you all for reading; we’re looking forward to everything this year has in store!