Tuesday, October 11, 2011

putting up for winter: news

I'm back after a long hiatus. Familial and professional obligations kept me away from more regular chronicling of the 2011 season. I am faced now with a digital mountain of photos and a near-constant whispering internal chorus of potential posts. I won't be able to post everything before the end of the season, so I will preserve posts for later. Perhaps digital photos of produce in winter will evoke summer like a freshly opened Mason jar of canned tomatoes.

Some news:

1. The 2011 harvest may prove to be the worst of the last four years. Our harvest this year was varied—featuring tomatoes, potatoes, greens, garlic, and winter squash, among other vegetables and fruit—but sparse and late. I had half-hoped that we might exceed a ton this year; as the following image shows, as of the end of August, we were facing the possibility that we might not make even half a ton. The final yield may improve because of our banner yield of butternut squash, but not by enough to make up for the low haul of tomatoes, peppers, and tree fruit.

We are not sure if the low yield was a result of the cold spring or the rainy July. Some of us suspect that we've been coasting on our soil's steadily dwindling fertility, and have resolved to amend our beds extensively in the fall and spring.

2. We now have a Twitter feed. Of course we do. We've had a FaceBook page for a while now. Follow us, Like us, Friend us, buy us virtual Cosmopolitans, pester us to play FarmVille, write on our Wall, RT us, DM us, show us tiny photos of shoes sold by Kim Kardashian, offer us the magic formula discovered by a mother in Chicago that whitens our teeth, mine our  preferences and sell our personal information for marketing purposes.

3. Michael Leck is a videographer who lives near the garden. Michael approached us a couple of months ago to ask whether he could produce a short video about the garden and its mission. A number of journalism students from institutions such as Loyola or DePaul have filmed or interviewed us over the years (usually without showing us their work afterwords), so it wasn't much for us to agree to another project. We weren't expecting the professionally-produced treatment that Michael sent us. As soon as we figure out the details of where to store it, we'll host the video ourselves.