By: Nyssa Collins, NC State Correspondent
A few days of rain followed by days full of hot, clear sunlight: the recipe for vegetables growing like weeds! Come see bulbous green tomatoes with their first blush of pink, tiny baby squash peeking out from under giant leaves, and peppers, which all start out green, but will soon distinguish themselves in a rainbow of reds, oranges, yellows, browns, and purples. The entire new field is teetering on the edge of abundance.
And because of the eclectic nature of donations, the IFFS farm is a model of diversity in varieties. Planted in one row are twenty-seven varieties of peppers:
Organic farmers rely heavily on the merit of diversity. Some varieties is more susceptible to a certain disease or pest, or if it is not suited to the particular environment. When a farmer plants many varieties, the loss of a single variety is not so overwhelming. Another variety, growing at the same time, is likely to be more successful. Accepting some plants as a loss, or sacrificing some varieties to pests (to distract them from other varieties) is a way to ensure moderate agricultural success. In contrast, a conventional farmer that plants only a single variety could lose his entire crop due to a selective misfortune. (For instance, a disease that affects only ‘Big Boy’ Tomatoes) A conventional farmer also may depend more on inorganic pesticides and fertilizers to protect his fields, because he does not utilize the natural protection of diversity.
Stay tuned on the blog later this week when Nyssa gives step by step instructions (with pictures!) on how to transplant a pepper plant!
The Food Shuttle's Farm staff needs volunteers on the farm in Raleigh Monday-Saturday! Click here to sign up as a farm volunteer and join us in providing wholesome veggies to countless people in need here in the Triangle.