New Beginnings!

22 Dec

I suppose I will start with how I began digging in the dirt and how I eventually ended up landing at the Greyfield Inn. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and have gardened with my family since I was a kid. I have held various jobs in the landscaping and horticulture field and have always found working in the dirt very therapeutic and rewarding. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Landscape Architecture in May of 2009 I spent the next year and a half working seasonal jobs and traveling around the western US. Having worked in the landscape maintenance and construction industry for the majority of my life I decided I wanted to try something new, pursue a career in which I could see direct results and be rewarded for my hard work. A career in which I knew I was making the world a better place. Realizing the impact that sustainable agriculture can have on our environment, economy, and society I began looking into opportunities to learn more and get some experience growing organic produce.

Upon returning to Georgia, I applied to a nine-month apprenticeship at Serenbe Farms in Palmetto, GA. After working at Serenbe for a season I had built a solid understanding of sustainable agriculture and how to make a living, essentially growing food. My apprenticeship covered everything there is to know about organic farming, from starting seeds in the greenhouse to growing, marketing, and delivering vegetables to local restaurants and families. By the end of it farming just made sense. I get to wake up with the sun, watch the day go by in the garden, experience natures’ rhythms, and witness them completely transform with the seasons. I get to watch plants grow from a seed into a thriving plant that can nourish my community and myself. I get to get dirty, and harvest, wash, and deliver sparkling produce to happy chefs, grateful families, and smiling community members! I get to participate in this huge juggling act that I have come to know as farming! What a life!

Confident that farming was the career I had been looking for all along, I began applying to opportunities to manage a farm or garden in the Southeast. That’s when I contacted Donn at Greyfield Inn about a gardener position on Cumberland Island! The Greyfield Garden is completely different than what I experienced while working at Serenbe. The scale, climate, soil, and environment are all very different but also great for growing delicious organic food. I look forward to a wonderful and productive season and watching the ebb and flow of this beautiful place while growing delicious food for our guests and staff!

For the past month I have been wrapping my head around the whole space and coming up with a solid idea of how I want the space to feel and function. I spent time weeding and shaping beds. I took an inventory of how much bed space was available, and got an idea of what crops I wanted to grow. I observed how the sun moved over the garden…where my shade was and where the best sun was. I also observed the wind patterns off of the marsh and the daily routine of marsh insects. I spent time figuring out how I wanted to lay out the drip irrigation system, where I wanted to situate the compost piles, and organized, sorted and inventoried seeds and other materials. I sent off a soil test, started transplants in a makeshift greenhouse, direct seeded some crops, spent time weeding, coordinated harvesting with the Greyfield Inn chefs, and am already seeing my hard work pay off.

Things are germinating in the field and the greenhouse quite well. I hope to be harvesting kale, Swiss chard, radishes, lettuce, carrots and other cool season crops in about a month or so. The plants seem to love this unusually warm December weather. The crop of dill, rosemary, green onions, arugula, turnips, beets, lettuce, radishes, peppers, and tomatoes (In December!) continue to make an appearance on the dining room table at the Greyfield Inn. I hope to blog more in the near future and share what’s going on in the Greyfield Garden.

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