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May 2022 Newsletter

A week or two ago, I had just removed a piece of landscape fabric—which we sometimes place on beds temporarily to kill weeds—when I noticed the bed was covered in slugs. Apparently, the dark moist environment was perfect habitat for these slimy little creatures. Since slugs are considered a garden pest, my first thought was to try to dispose of them before they could find their way to a nearby lettuce bed. I walked away for a minute and when I looked back at the bed, there were a pair of robins pecking away at the soil, apparently happy with the feast that had been uncovered for them.

The experience was a humbling reminder for me as an organic farmer. I find that trying to farm with nature is often like walking a tightrope, a constant struggle to find the appropriate equilibrium between the wild and domesticated. Our decisions to plant certain varieties, to prune, to irrigate, to weed, or to favor certain insects over others, are all examples of how agriculture is largely an effort to exert our control over nature. Yet, on occasion—perhaps more often than I feel comfortable with—the proper action may be to step back and simply let nature find the balance on her own. 


In gratitude, 
Matt Jones
Farm & Outreach Coordinator 
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To further support Little Portion Farm, you can make a donation here.

What's Growing

Spinach bed
A little over a week ago, we harvested 70 pounds of spinach from one bed that we planted on November 9th last year. The plants sprouted a couple weeks after planting in late fall and remained very tiny for the rest of the winter and early spring, completely uncovered. Late plantings like these are one of the ways we try to fill in the “hungry gap,” which is considered the period of time, usually April, May and June, when fresh produce is least available. By this time, most overwintered or storage crops have been exhausted and spring plantings have yet to mature. We are proud to say, however, that, with this month’s harvest, we have now harvested food from the farm for 25 consecutive months! 
Our asparagus forest, of sorts
Since the last newsletter, we started and stopped harvesting asparagus for the season. The short harvest window is due to the fact that our plants are only in their third year of growth, so we have to limit the number of spears that are cut. Allowing the plants to grow helps feed their root systems so they are more established for future years’ harvests. 
Wildflower plugs ready for planting
In the last month alone, we have planted nearly 3,000 plants on the farm by hand, not including the many beds directly sown with seeds. This total includes many warm-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, as well as 1500 native wildflower plants put in the ground earlier this week (see above)! These small wildflower gardens around the farm will provide crucial habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects that help control pest populations. 
Wild lupine in one of our established wildflower gardens

Sustainable Agriculture Film Series

Our second film in our sustainable agriculture film series will be held on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7pm in the Shrine of St. Anthony’s “Glass Room.”. We will be screening Kiss the Ground, an inspiring and groundbreaking film narrated by Woody Harrelson, that reveals the power of regenerative agriculture. More details about the film, as well as the trailer, can be viewed here

Tickets are being sold for $10 to help us cover the costs of the licensing fee to screen the films. If you know you would like to attend, please purchase a ticket here to reserve your spot. 
Get Tickets
Watering Volunteers
We often need people to hand-water newly planted seeds on the weekends and weeknights to keep the soil moist. We are seeking new volunteers who are interested in helping in this capacity. It is worth noting here that this task is a bit more strenuous than typical backyard watering (our hoses are several hundred feet long, so it can be difficult to move them to multiple locations around the farm). For those who are interested, there will be a brief orientation on Saturday, June 4th at 11am to train new volunteers. Please email Matt at matt@littleportionfarm.org if you would like to attend!

Food for Thought

Chamomile flower in our herb garden
"If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness" 

- St. Therese of Lisieux 
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Donate to Little Portion Farm
Cash or checks can be addressed to:
Little Portion Farm, 12290 Folly Quarter Rd., Ellicott City, MD 21042
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Copyright © 2022 Little Portion Farm, All rights reserved.

Little Portion Farm is a ministry of the Franciscan Friars Conventual, Our Lady of the Angels Province.

Visit us at:
12280 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042

Contact us at: 
(443) - 585 - 8005 or info@littleportionfarm.org

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