A photo of Alison Spaude-FilipczakOur field is one big grid. It is divided into rows and columns — into numbers, and letters, and more numbers. Organized. Mathematical. Necessary. The tomatoes are in C3 beds five through ten; the first planting of broccoli is in B5 bed nine while the second planting is in C2 beds three and four. If you were looking at our log book, you would know that you could find Shiraz beets, planted on June 17th, in the first 30 feet of the of the second bed of row three in section B. They will need to be harvested on July 31st, and they should all be out of the ground by August 14th. This is all good information ... if you need to weed, water, harvest, plant or prep.

When farming five acres, it’s good to have a plan. It’s good to be organized. It’s good to be a little bit anal retentive about it all. Grid. Map key. Logbook. This keeps a farm functioning. But, there is one important food that doesn’t grow well in these conditions, and that is food for the soul. Get rid of that map, we’ve got to keep the creative spirit alive.

This is where I believe the home gardener has one up on the production farmer. Inventiveness. Imagination. Artistry. A vision free from the constraints of yield and maximum efficiency. I’m not saying it’s a free-for-all out there in the home gardening world. I know many home gardeners who are highly organized and create their garden plans months ahead of time, taking in a complex variety of considerations from companion planting to water requirements. However, there is an element of originality and freedom that is difficult to duplicate on a larger scale.

Joe in his unpredictable personal plot.

Born out of the necessity to express ourselves as individuals and creative beings, it was decided to give each participant at the GFTC a one-hundred foot long by three and half foot wide bed to do whatever our hearts desired with. Yes, this was just one long and skinny bed, but suddenly we all had options. You could almost see the visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.

Seed catalogues were obtained. Unique and obscure growing methods were researched. Extra transplants that had been thrown into the compost weeks ago were rescued. Our creative spirits began to manifest themselves. Our personalities popped like the poppies in bloom.

Nebraska Dave
8/29/2010 10:42:40 PM

@Alison, I’m always amazed at the progress of your well planned and organized CSA project. Now I’m even more amazed that you would think about the creativity aspect to keep those involved with this experiment and training inspired. Organization to the Nth degree does kill the creativity. Your CSA gardening truly has benefits to the body, soul, and mind as well as to the logical, emotional, and spiritual. I can hardly believe that it’s week 24. I hope you will continue to write about your CSA experiences when this training is completed. My three raised beds are not even as big as a 100 foot bed used for your creativity, but I am already planning changes for next year. I definitely know that cucumbers need a little more space than I gave them this year. They do like to go vertical but they also like to latch on to the close tomatoes. However the tomatoes retaliated by invading the cukes territory during the night. The tomatoes actually won the race to the top of the 7 foot support. Imagine that. The cucumbers are now starting to run out of gas and the tomatoes are just hitting their full stride. It’s been a wonderful year to garden. I expect with commercial CSA gardening the profit aspect takes some of fun out of the garden but to have a successful profitable year would make it all worth the effort. Keep those posts coming. I thoroughly enjoy your writings about the CSA gardening.

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