20 May 2020
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Farm Update
Plant Sale Comes and Goes ...
Flower CSA Work Share
Worm Brew
Field Notes (From the Seed House)
Farm Update
  • Thank you to all of those who came to our farm stand on Sat., May 16, to purchase starts for their home and family gardens and to chat about the future of our farming community. It was super rewarding to see new and familiar faces. Your support is everything, and while our plant sale was a modest one, we continue to provide plants, seeds, and guidance throughout the spring and summer (see below). Please reach out with questions, ideas, and support.

  • Thank you to all the volunteers mingling and providing great customer service throughout the day, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.!

  • Come farm with us! Volunteer and educational opportunities for the summer will be ongoing following all safety protocols. Please contact us for opportunities to learn to farm. Are there tutorials that you would like to see through our social media channels? Let us know and we'll upload a video.

  • Thank you to farm friend Tricia Bailey for her donation of amazing Tropea onion starts! We are excited to grow them, save seeds, and share the bounty for years to come.

  • Our food-scrap collection continues at the farm stand. *NOTE that you can include fish carcasses and shells in with veggie scraps (no meat or chicken bone at this time).

  • We are in need of large (refrigerator-size) cardboard boxes. Please drop off at the compost bins to the left of the farm stand.
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Plant Sale Comes and Goes ...
In the midst of it all, we were fortunate to be able to open the farm stand last weekend. It was so busy we barely had a moment to put up the open flag! This lets us know that people are extending their gardens and we will have to meet demand into the future.

We sold many tomato seedlings, quickly ran out of pepper plants, and sold out of eggplants by the day's end. The raspberry first-year canes were a hit, as were the chamomile and potted kale varieties.

While our wish was to have a wider selection to offer, this spring was a challenging one on many fronts, i.e.- long delays in seed orders and limited working hours. As the pandemic slows and our team catches up with projects and field prep, we are dedicating ourselves to getting more plants in the ground and more veggies to you! We already know that next year we will be able to offer strawberry plants, likely a small selection of blueberry bushes, and perennial/flower transplants and seedlings.

To that end, we will continue to offer seedlings where we have an abundance. Look out for zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and other varieties in the coming weeks. We hope to have a limited number of heirloom tomato varieties as well.

Is there something you want to grow but cannot find? Perhaps we have some seeds in our stash, give us a call or send an email and we'll help you get what you need to fill out your garden (certain veggies do best directly seeded: think carrots, beets, radish).

If you are composting at home and want to compost with red wiggler worms, we have worms to share, and if you missed out on the worm tea, here is a video and the Rhode Island Worm Cooperative's website . A special thank you to Margaret O'Donnell and Kelvin Misiurski from the co-op for organizing and educating about worms and worm tea! (more on the worm brew below).

Happy gardening, and please share with us pictures of your spaces. We would love a virtual tour of what's growing in our neighbors' yards!
Financial partners help us grow!
Flower CSA Work Share
The flower fields are alive with perennials such as bronze fennel, lilies, irises, yarrow, and various herbs. They will soon be joined by our first planting of dahlia bulbs! Our sweet peas and bachelor buttons are also off to a great start.

We are incorporating a few edible components into our arrangements this year such as chocolate mint, oregano, and sage. We are most excited to welcome four families to our pilot CSA flower work-share program. Courtney, Aby, Robin, Jody, and Ellie will be field crew and harvesters for the flower bouquets at the stand. They will begin their volunteering in early June.

Board members and volunteers gathered in the fields this weekend during the bustling plant sale to transplant stock, sage, yarrow, snapdragons, and direct-seed sunflowers. We are looking forward to more consistent warm days before bringing zinnias, rudbeckia, cosmos, and amaranth out of the seed-house and into the fields. 

-- Suzanne B., Board Member
Worm Brew
Thank you Barrington Farm School for inviting the Rhode Island Worm Farmer Cooperative to join in on your Saturday plant sale. We met a ton of wonderful people and engaged in some amazing conversations… from a distance, of course. It was really great to see everyone masked-up and respecting each other’s space. I think we are all learning together ways to responsibly interact with one another safely and respectfully. We set up our 50 gallon worm tea brewer close enough to the farm stand that customers could walk over and pick up a gallon but far enough to not get too congested with plant shoppers.

One of the difficulties in setting up our brewer at the farm stand was getting power to it to operate our aerator.Without our aerator to oxygenate our brew, our worm tea would be more like a worm soup – and everybody knows soups are only good hot and cold – not worm. (That’s worm farmer humor, BTW). How did we get our power supply???  We only had to run 550 feet of extension cords through tick-infested brush and poison ivy.  But, we made it – and the brew was good.

We took 10 lbs of worm castings, mixed them with steel-cut oats and sea kelp and gently packed it all into our giant tea bag.  With tea bag fully loaded and suspended in our 50 gallons of farm fresh well water, we added some fish hydrolysate, humic acid and began brewing.  We started our brew Friday morning so it would be ready for the Saturday event – 24 hours of brewing – or growing to be more accurate.  Our goal – to propagate the growth of healthy microorganisms for plants and soils in a ready-to-use form.  In other words – we made fertilizer.  But not just any fertilizer – a fertilizer to enhance soil health and add to its structure – an amendment to support the soil’s ecology and biodiversity.

Our living, breathing concoction of microorganisms remained aerated until we filled our gallons and handed them to our fellow gardeners and farmers. With the air supply now removed, it was important that the tea be used as soon as possible.  The clock was ticking. All those microbes needed air. They would begin to die off without air. Anaerobic microbes would start replacing the aerobic population we worked so hard to create. Instructions were given to use immediately – and, hopefully, everyone was able to provide their soil and seedlings a little worm love.

Thanks again to BFS for enabling the RIWFC to do what we do best – talk all things worms.

--Kelvin Misiurski, wormer, composter, all around greatness
Field Notes (From the Seed House)

The dawning of Memorial Day weekend signals a significant shift in the sun's angle, both for tanning and for farming. With the freeze concerns behind us, the plants and soil are jumping with microbial joy.

This past week, the crew transplanted parsley, oregano, chives, cilantro, Tropea onions, lettuces, beets, while direct seeding more carrots, beans, peas, and a trial of spinach.

Evil Woodchuck garden bed, aptly named for the pesky critters often settling in under the summer kitchen that sits just east, is now fully prepped with compost, worm tea, and drip sprinklers, courtesy of drip system aficionado, farmer Milos.

This week, we transplant bush beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, perennial flowers, followed shortly by sunflowers, cucumbers, squash, a trial of native corn (more info to follow), and other varieties the farm crew has in mind (melons perhaps?).
Resource links for home gardening
Be Tick Free! As the tick season hits full swing be sure to take proper precautions when enjoying the great outdoors or visiting the farm!
Mission: An inclusive community farm and learning center that provides farming, food, health and environmental education supported by dedicated volunteers serving as stewards of our historic farm.

Barrington Farm School is a 501(c)3, educational resource for students of all ages.

Barrington Farm School is on Federal Road

Barrington Farm School
P.O. Box 41
Barrington RI 02806