As the colors turn to their autumn brilliance and the cole crops slow down, patiently taking in the cool temps before a true freeze, the Market Garden Crew is working in full force to wrap up the season. The youth intern crew works after school two days a week since the beginning of the school year and weekend shifts at the market. The focus has largely been dedicated to the CSA, Roots for the Home Team and Mill City Farmers Markets with shifts undertaking lots of harvesting, washing, prepping and packing for sale and distribution to those outlets. Now with most of those programs wrapped up, the real gardening begins! With unpredictable fall temps there is always a push to finish outdoor work and the intern crew works hard in the tasks of final harvesting, food preservation, drying herbs, food donations, garden tear down & clean up and spreading compost & mulch. Yesterday however, the crew had the opportunity to switch things up with a hallmark fall task…garlic planting!
Urban Roots has a growing seed stock of garlic, that we have been saving for over 12 years! Each fall youth interns have planted garlic in our gardens, harvested the bulbs in mid-summer to cure and then distributed some through our CSA, the Cooking and Wellness program and then saved enough stock to replant all over again. We do not embark on a ton of seed saving here at Urban Roots because of the amount of seed we need and proximity of crops that would be subject to cross-pollination, so it is really cool that we have continued to keep our own garlic seed for many years. We planted a few beds of garlic yesterday and plan to take on a few more next week. Youth interns said they felt like it was spring because of the opportunity to plant something in the ground and watch it sprout, although spring seems a long time coming, the energy and excitement is already there!