(Very) Hot Summer Days

(Very) Hot Summer Days

Coming Soon... Wind Power!
In spite of the heat, we haven’t slowed down!
ECO has installed a wind turbine that will be hooked up and generate electricity in the future to supplement our supply of energy on cloudy days. For now we have been getting enough energy from the solar panels alone to power everything we need. However, the wind turbine would add more reliable power during other seasons.

Christian and the Radishes
At the entrance to the farm we established a wash station. Christian is cleaning just harvested radishes, which will be sold at the Riverdale Farmers Market.

Taking a Bath

Ruby Reds

Growing Hoophouse
Inside Hoophouse #2, our tomato plants have been strung from the top poles. The tomato plants are trained to grow up the strings which is more space efficient.

Hanging Tomatoes
Here is a closer view of this method of growing tomatoes.

Lush Tomatoes
Growing big and plentiful.

Sweet!
ECO has been experimenting with growing strawberries in hanging pots. They’re very sweet!

Sunny Sonny
Among the variety of herbs growing at the entrances to the hoophouses are sunny sunflowers brightening up the green surroundings and inviting pollinators and deterring bugs.

Pea Shoots Bath
In Hoophouse #4 is another washing station. Here our intern Sammy is washing pea shoots to be bagged and delivered to Eatonville restaurant in DC.

Weighing Station
Bagged and weighed — ready to go!

Learning About Healthy Eating
ECO City Farms has partnered with Endtime Harvest Ministry’s Port Towns Youth Council to conduct a 6-week program for high school students from the Bladensburg High School. These students are learning about the differences between conventional (factory) vs. sustainable farming and becoming conscious consumers, as well as about healthy cooking and eating. The group also goes on field trips to other farms/gardens, such as the Youth Garden in the National Arboretum, and has even gone kayaking with the Patuxent River Keeper.

Classmates, Volunteers, Interns, Staff. All Farmers!
On Thursdays, the students in the program cook a fabulous meal for the volunteers and interns using produce from the farm and other organic produce. Here we are!

Sharing and Eating

The Meal
Basil pesto pasta, barley soup and salad. Yum!

Yum.
Any scraps left over from cooking go in the compost piles to produce the soil that keeps our farm going. Here are two of our Material Resources Sustainability Interns from Howard University turning the huge compost pile to keep it aerated and properly decomposing.

Benny -- King of Compost
And our a new compost king — Benny Erez (Senior Technical Advisor).

HOT
Not to worry, Benny has a foolproof way of testing whether the compost piles are hot enough…. And YES, they are, almost 170 degrees Faranheit! Ouch.

For the animal lovers–

Chickens in the Heat
The chickens are surviving the heat by digging into cooler soil in shady areas.

Closer
The bees are busy. The two hives were split to create a total of four hives. We harvested 40 pounds of honey at the end of May. For now we’re leaving the bees alone before we harvest honey again at the end of August or September.

Bees in Action
The buzzing bees at the entrance to one of their hives.

Space Object??
And what could this be? Not a space object, but surely as cool as one. This mirrored contraption is a solar cooker that cooks rice in 90 minutes using only the power from the sun! It was successfully tested.

Visit us at the farm for Thursday volunteering and lunch or at the Riverdale Park Farmers Market on Thursdays at 3-7pm!

Peace and Other Veggies,
Natalya