New Growth

Beneath a layer of rich soil, garlic bulbs are showing signs of life after a long winter lying dormant. Thin, green scapes are growing from the bulbs, pushing upwards towards the surface. Soon some of them will poke their heads out into the fresh mountain air for the first time. These garlic scapes will be the first crop of the summer, the first to be carefully harvested by campers and brought to the kitchen for use. The rest of the garden won’t be far behind.

Late June is a time of rapid expansion on the farm. As the cold of spring finally loosens its hold, it becomes a mad dash to get plants into the ground to make the most of the short Adirondack growing season. There are seeds to be sown directly into the soil, older seedlings to be transplanted, and, already, weeds to be pulled. Just a couple of weeks before campers arrive, carrots, beans, peas, and potatoes are already in the soil, while bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, and lettuce await their time. By the first week in July, everything should be in the ground, ready to be cared for by eager campers.

This time of year brings a lot of activity for the farm animals as well. Many of them will soon be moved from the barnyard out into the fields and forests of campus. The sheep and laying chickens will go to Dexter pasture. There, they can take advantage of camp’s plentiful natural resources and lessen the demand for grain. They will rotate around the field, the sheep eating the long grass and the chickens following after, consuming the smaller bits and insects that are left exposed. The goats and pigs will be moved to the forest. The trees will provide shelter from the summer sun, and, as natural foragers, the pigs will be able to find almost all of the nutrients they need among the roots and greens.

In the barnyard, four horses that come just for the summer months will soon be arriving. They will slowly be introduced to the year-round horses, new personalities finding their place in the herd. By the time camp starts, there will be fifteen horses that provide children of all experience levels the chance to ride.

In just a couple of weeks, the farm and garden will be deep in the rhythms of summer. Pounds of brightly colored vegetables will be harvested and hauled to the kitchen, appearing on the dining room table the very same day. Pigs will rest in the shade of the evergreens. The pasture grass will be mowed by roving sheep who graze against a backdrop of mighty Adirondack mountains. Campers will be involved every day, growing and flourishing alongside the plants and animals that they care for.