Shannon Raider-Ginsburg, Common Ground’s Farm Manager and Director of Agricultural Programs, looks toward the coming growing season and the work that goes into it:

As this stubborn winter slowly thaws and the day length slips past the 10 hour mark, the smell of earth returns as earthworm cairns signal the soil is warming and the light itself feels yellow again.  A winter full of work readying for spring pays off!  In the past month, 1,000 seedlings have burst from their greenhouse trays. The first batch of baby chicks arrived Monday and piglets come next week.  The turkeys laid their first egg last week and the rain barrels are set up as the deep freezes subside.

From tender seedlings to baby farm animals, the farm requires daily attention. Our Environmental Ventures students begin meeting after school to sift compost, raise broiler hens, and wash the ever increasing numbers of eggs from our girls in the chicken yard. The Green Jobs Corps farm crew, taking on paid work on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays, has mucked a winters worth of deep bedding from the animal houses and planted the first transplants in the high tunnel. Wednesday the sweet peas hit the field and we will dig around to see how our carrots and leeks overwintered.

The farm really is about to burst with activity. By the month’s end many garden beds will be prepped and amended to receive kale, onion, lettuce, radish and carrots plantings. Many hands make this work possible — from students, to farm interns, to our amazing team of volunteers. The farm welcome volunteers (individuals and groups) to participate in growing this urban farm oasis. Every Saturday from 10:00 am -1:00 pm we welcome folks who want to lend a hand. Contact me if you would like to join in or schedule a group – contact info below!

Planning for every bed of vegetables also means planning for who will be enjoying them come harvest time. We are excited this year to continue our Common Ground Garden Share program for our high school student’s families, provide the CitySeed mobile market, feed our school cafeteria, and participate in various farm stands throughout the season.

Students on the farm crew seeding peas, to mark the first seeding of the season!

Students on the Green Jobs Corps farm crew seeding peas, to mark the first seeding of the season!

Students transfer baby chicks into the their new coop as part of the environmental ventures program.

Students in Environmental Ventures after-school program transfer baby chicks into the their new coop as part of the environmental ventures program.

For more information about the farm and farm products please contact Farmer Shannon at 203.389.4333 xt.1217 or email at sraider@commongroundct.org