For my first two weeks my work in the garden was mainly focused on preparing the beds by weeding, adding compost, "finessing" the irrigation system or any number of other important tasks that need to be done before our desired plants even make it into the ground. This week was my first chance to focus on harvesting the fruits of our labor.
Later in the day, Brent took Kai and I out to inspect the beehives. The first hive we inspected had been purchased- so we were able to locate the Queen by a blue dot painted on her back by the supplier. The other two hives involved a bit of detective work. After inspecting the comb, we found evidence of recent egg-laying activity in both hives- indicating they both had active Queens. This was especially great news because both these hives were free additions to the community- the first was a swarm captured near New Earth Song, and the second just showed up in the empty hive one day. With such a bounty of bees- we might be seeing some honey in the future.
Tuesday brought more irrigation work, but set the stage for free time on Wednesday to help Susie with harvesting some roses for jam and syrup. You'd have to ask Susie for the specific recipe, but it involved a copious amount of sugar, water, some lemons, and a dash of pectin to get it to the right consistency. While putting our newly created jam in jars, we had a chance to put some of the stuff fresh on toast. Yum!
On Sunday, Helen gave a lovely presentation on seed saving. We ventured out into the garden and after picking the most desirable plants, we had left a fair few signs fluttering merrily in the breeze. (If you see such a sign, please don't harvest the plant- it's seeds are being saved for future plantings!)
On Monday I had the chance to help Helen harvest greens for dinner. Our targets were kale, a few handfuls of lambs quarters, and a rather paltry serving of the lettuce that had survived the weeds and slugs in the southeastern hoop house.
On the topic of harvests, the strawberries are popping like popcorn all over Songaia- every day a few more turn a brilliant red and appear to leap out of the foliage. I also had a chance to tie up some raspberry bushes this week in the southwest part of the keyhole garden. The path now takes you around freshly planted tomatoes. It should be a great harvest later in the season!
My first contact with Songaia was quite curious. I was at a train station on the California coast waiting for an order to arrive by the time I had an interview with Patricia and Douglas. After several times trying to complete the call, that wouldn´t go because of a loud train arriving or the bad connection at the place, we finally could chat a bit and talk about the ideas and goals of each side involved in this internship. By that time, I already thought that I had screwed my interview and image, but thanks God they accepted me!
Since then, I´ve been challenging myself on how to apply the knowledge obtained at university, now in ´´smaller´´ scales.
But I´ll be forever thankful to Patricia and Helen to have invested so much time and energy and showed me this art of cultivating vegetables, trees and lives. By the end of this month I´ll be heading to my next stop, but will certainly bring the memories and experience gained here. I hope I´ll be able to come back visit one day and please, don´t let this dream die guys, the world needs more places like this! Thank you so much. See you soon, love, Gabriel.
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.