It's about to get sappy on this post. Just warning you in advance.
Wow. I can't believe that my internship is finally coming to an end. This semester flew by so fast and I feel like I've learned more than I could have ever hoped for. Interning at the Howdy Farm has been the best thing I've done so far while attending Texas A&M. I've had so much fun while also learning things that I will use for the rest of my life and in my future career. I spent at least 9 hours each week at the farm and it felt like it was a home away from home for me. I loved that I was able to be my nerdy plant-loving self and no one made fun of me for it. I made new friends and I brought old friends out to volunteer and show them what I love doing. I learned about gardening and growing food and I learned about responsibility and accountability. I feel so lucky that I had this amazing opportunity this fall and I wouldn't have traded it for anything else.
Next semester will be strange not coming to the farm every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But now that I'm a member of SASA, I will try and come to Howdy Farm when I have the chance. Farming has become one of my favorite things and a wonderful stress reliever, not to mention that I am going to miss my Howdy Farm family so I will definitely be back. Plus I'll have to work on my farmers tan again because nothing says cute like Birkenstock tan-lines on your feet. Thanks to whomever read my blog throughout the semester, I hope I kept you entertained.
Oh! Also an update on my poor little strawberries... Half of the plants we received were complete duds and never grew. The other half are still small but they are flowering which means that hopefully in the spring I'll have a chance to harvest some juicy red berries. I can't wait to see how they turn out.
Till next time, this is Danielle signing off!
Harvesting has been one of my absolute favorite things we've done all semester at Howdy Farm. Each vegetable is harvested in different ways depending on how they are grown. This semester we have harvested:
Sweet potatoes were the hardest to harvest because we had to completely dig up the sweet potatoes since they grow underground. So we were pretty much on our hands and knees digging in the dirt for these massive sweet potatoes. We ended up with over 100 pounds of sweet potatoes and there's a high possibility that there were some that we missed. Okra were the least fun to harvest because okra grow on these tall looking tree type plants and they have these fuzzy hairs all over them. So naturally on my first day at the farm I harvested okra and broke out in a huge rash all over my arms, hands and even my legs! I learned my lesson really fast to invest in some good gloves to prevent that from happening again.
Green beans were my favorite to harvest because you actually got to search through the plants they grow on and look for all of the beans that are ready. You never really knew how many beans you were going to find so I think I enjoyed the green beans because it was kind of like a game of hide-and-seek.
I'm going to miss harvesting at the farm once my internship is over. It was always so rewarding seeing the vegetables that you started from seed become this big beautiful plant that someone was now going to enjoy eating.
I am a firm believer in giving back to the community and helping those that are less fortunate than I am. On November 16th, Corey and I took 27 pound of fresh lettuce to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. This was the first donation Howdy Farm has given to the local food bank. It felt so rewarding to give to those who don't have access or the money to pay for fresh and organic produce. Its better to donate the produce that hasn't sold at market instead of letting it rot and just throwing it in the compost pile.
The next donation we gave to the Food Bank was around 78 pounds on November 23rd! I got a chance to actually harvest and clean the veggies that we were taking. We went as a group this time because we had a bunch of coolers and so we could take pictures. This was right before Thanksgiving so I hope that the lettuce we donated went to some good home-cooked meals. I was able to take some lettuce home to my family as well and they all said it was delicious!
We just had our first ever Sunday at the Farm! The weather was beautiful and there was a great turn out. It was an opportunity for the public to come see what Howdy Farm is all about. There were farm tours, free food, a container gardening workshop, and we even had some vegetables for sale. I was in charge of running the market table where I sold a bunch of our produce. It was the first time I was able to be in charge of a market because I don't normally get to work on Thursdays. I really enjoyed getting to tell people all about how we grew the lettuce they were purchasing. Someone really wanted green beans so we harvested them for her while she explored the farm. Learning how to run the market was an enjoyable activity for me because I eventually want to own my own business.
There was a huge variety of people here ranging from children all the way to grandparents and some people even brought their pets! Everyone seemed so happy and they really enjoyed being outside. This is one of the first weekend events Howdy Farm has hosted and I think it was so successful because most people that have a 9-5 job can't come during the week, so this really gave basically everyone a chance to come see Howdy Farm for themselves instead of just in pictures. There aren't very many small local farms or farm-to-table restaurants in Bryan/College Station so allowing people to see where their food comes from is a great experience for everyone involved. It's also a great way to teach and interact with people you normally wouldn't!
Here at Howdy Farm we are talented in many things such as breaking pipes and then fixing them! PVC pipes run underground all throughout Howdy Farm providing water to the whole farm, so when one breaks we have to turn off the main water line and dig till we find the broken pipe and fix it. I have never had to fix broken pipes in my life so this was definitely quite the learning experience. I suggested calling a plumber to come fix the problem fast, but Corey thought differently and said that he would teach us how to fix it.
Fall planting is in full swing here at Howdy Farm! We have all sorts of veggies growing at the farm but one of the main ones is leafy greens. We have a variety of lettuces and kales growing in our field as well as in our raised beds. Arugula and bok choy have already been harvested to sell at our market days. We harvested around 50 pounds of bok choy. Lettuce is an easier seller because people can use it for several food dishes.
This week was a particularly exciting and rewarding week for me. I helped Corey (our Howdy Farm manager) create several raised beds to donate to a local elementary school. We had to screw two pieces of wood together and make four different walls that all fit together like a puzzle. It was fun getting to use power tools because that's not something that I often get to do. Plus, power tools are also fun.
I think teaching children about growing plants and vegetables is incredibly important and beneficial to their learning experience. In the future, I really would love to be an agriculture teacher so installing these raised beds was a rewarding experience. I hope that these kids enjoy horticulture as much as I do and that the teachers really utilize these to their fullest extent.
It is finally October! October is one of my favorite months for several reasons; (1) It is finally fall, (2) Halloween, (3) Pumpkin flavored everything, and (4) Scary movies all month long. I could keep going but that would turn into a novel and no one wants that.
Anyways, back to the important stuff. October also means that we finally built our strawberry rain gutter garden here at Howdy Farm! The original plan was to make a strawberry "wall" but our design plans changed and it ended up looking like this before we planted our bare-root varities which were chandler and sequoia:
Overall I am really happy to see how well my project ended up turning out. Even though we had design plans change, I am so excited for my little baby strawberry plants to start growing. This was my favorite week so far at howdy farm. Getting to actually help drill holes and build a frame was such a learning experience for me and I can't wait to see the plants start producing fruit. (Strawberries are my favorite fruit if you couldn't tell.)
I hoping that these last few weeks of heat don't have too much of an effect on the plants because it would be sad to see all of these brand new plants heat damaged, I guess I'll see on Monday how they are doing in their new home!
We also planted some of the plants in raised beds to compare the growth and production of the fruit. I will keep you readers updated on how my project is going! Have a great week everyone!
This post is a week late but better late than never, right? Two weeks ago, our big project of the week was installing an irrigation system in one of our newest fields where we have planted tomatoes, green beans, sugar-snap peas, spinach, carrots and radishes. I have never installed an irrigation system before and it was quite the process and not necessarily a fun one at that. Pictured on the left is a general step-by-step process of how we put together the hose structure.
This hasn't been my favorite task so far at the internship but I enjoyed learning how to do it because water is one of the most important things that plants need. I'll post a picture of the final product below.
October is right around the corner which means that we will be starting the construction of the strawberry "wall" soon which is my big project for the whole semester! I'm can't wait to help Corey plan and actually make the structure.
I have officially completed my second week at howdy farm and I am loving it so far! For it only being the end of my second week, I already feel like I've learned so much. This week I took clippings of several different plants on the farm hoping that they will sprout roots. If they do, then we will get to replant/ sell the clippings at market. I also got to plant a ton of seeds that we will be using this fall. There were lots of leafy greens, herbs, and vegetables. I can't wait to watch them grow and hopefully get to eat them too!
There are so many great things happening at Howdy Farm. If you'd like to come check it out you can find me there Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons. Or if you'd like to get involved and volunteer, the volunteer hours are 1-5 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Hope to see you out there sometime!