Fifth-Graders Help Prepare the MCS Farm for Spring
The last of the snow has finally melted at the Manhattan Country School Farm. We’ve wrapped up our maple syrup season with a respectful 20 gallons produced. The greenhouse is bursting with salad greens and winter-grown tomatoes and cucumbers, which were all added to meals and recipes. Onion, broccoli, tomato, pepper and lettuce seedlings are ready to be transplanted to larger containers or straight to the garden beds. Cows, which have spent most of the winter in the barn, are now grazing on the greening pasture.
Our fifth-grade students had the huge responsibility of transitioning the MCS Farm from winter to spring. They transplanted dozens of broccoli plants and hundreds of onion seedlings to the rich soil of our garden beds. These broccoli plants were seeded by third-grade students from The Neighborhood School, a progressive public school on the Lower East Side, during their first visits to the MCS farm in March. This partnership is an example of Manhattan Country School’s public mission.
The fifth-grade class also dug deep holes and planted pounds of Kennebec potatoes. These early or “new” potatoes will be ready to be harvested during Farm Camp in July.
A unique, but expanding crop was also planted this week. Several kids inoculated poplar logs with mushroom spores. We have several other logs that are producing shiitake and lion's mane mushrooms and we’re increasing this by growing several varieties of oyster mushrooms.
The kids covered the top and bottom of each 12-inch log with sawdust, which has the spore mixed in. Stacking logs totem style, they are wrapped in plastic bags and placed in our cool, dark cellar. In a couple of months we’ll move them outside where they’ll fruit.
The warm weather and sunshine put smiles on everyone’s face. We now say goodbye to a long and snowy winter and hello to spring—or what we call mud season.