When jackets and caps become familiar sights on campus and we can’t keep ahead of the ripening vegetables in the garden, it’s a sure sign that summer is coming to a close and that a new cohort of Conserve School students are about to arrive.
Graduate Fellows Mandy Lundmark and Pete Gizyn joined several other staff members this Wednesday to weed and mulch raised beds in the Conserve School garden and harvest vegetables for the school kitchen. Thinking they might get lucky and find a few carrots big enough to pull, Mandy and Pete were startled to pull up the impressively proportioned, purple specimen you see in the photo above. While our sandy soil can make growing some crops a challenge, it’s perfect for growing carrots.
Despite the temptation, we’re holding off on harvesting more carrots until our new student cohort arrives, in about a week. Pulling carrots is one of those simple but delightful outdoor experiences that we want our students to enjoy. Every carrot is a fun little surprise. You never know what size or shape the next one will be, and, as you move down the garden bed and pull more and more, a wonderfully sweet, strong carrot-y aroma rises from the soil.
Carrots in a variety of colors make the harvest that much more entertaining. Some of my favorite online seed catalogs are Seed Savers Exchange, which offers the purple carrot variety you see in the photo, Dragon, and Seeds of Change, which offers a yellow variety called Yellowstone.
As you can see in the photo, Mandy and Pete are working in the garden in rain gear. The weather has been contrary lately. As in most of the country, it’s been dry, but during our garden work session this week, rain clouds opened up. It’s been hot, too — except for during our staff in-service camp-out last night on the shore of Big Bateau Lake. Staff members pulled fleece jackets, wool socks, winter caps, and long underwear out of their packs as the temperature dipped into the 40s.
Conserve School students, be sure to bring your woolies! We’ll have many warm days in the coming semester, but the first frost is probably just a few weeks away.
Mary Anna Thornton, Assistant Head of School