Crystal was one of the most dedicated volunteers I’ve ever met; she called me weekly to check for volunteering opportunities and would stay until the bitter end of a work day. Sadly for me, but for awesome for her, she’s in Alaska this summer and I miss her company in the garden.
My name is Crystal and I started volunteering at Little River Market Garden in the fall of 2010. I continued thru most of 2011. I am a pastry chef by trade and I love gardening. My parents are huge gardeners, although mostly ornamental plants and flowers, they got me in the soil at a young age. Being a chef it is only natural to want/ need a connection to the food I am preparing on a daily basis. I have always dabbled in container gardening of herbs and the occasional cucumber on my small balconies of my many apartments over the years, but I had never really known much about growing food on a larger and more diverse scale. After meeting Muriel at a small farms convention in the summer of 2010, I approached her about volunteering on her small urban farm. She was kind enough to let me come and leech information and knowledge from her in return for some hard labor and good conversation.
What I learned from my experience is priceless. It even got me to face my squeamishness around worms, lizards, and other bugs! I have learned about the importance of cover crops, different watering techniques, organic fertilizers (worms!) and of course composting! It can be back breaking work and some days will drain you of more energy than you started with, but when you pull a radish out of the ground or a peanut, or pick a tomato and pop it into your mouth while standing in the middle of the garden it’s the most rewarding moment to me. I have never felt so connected to the flow of nature and life as when I am pulling weeds and forming beds.
I am now on a seasonal contract in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, I have access to a greenhouse and a few outdoor beds. For the first time I have been able to put the skills learned at Little River Market Garden to the test and I am happy to report that most of what I planted for this short summer season is thriving!