Dayle is a grade 11 student at a Guelph high school, and has spent the last two weeks as a co-op student at Backyard Bounty where she has been a tremendous help with weeding, harvest, and planting.  What follows is her review of what she learned during her first week with us in the fields!

During my first week of work at Backyard Bounty, I have had the opportunity to learn many new things. I learned that soil has different sized particles that make it up, I also learned that top soil can’t be moved when it’s wet because it would clump the soil and make it harden. Top soil needs to be squishy in a way so that the roots can easily move it when they are forming. Soil also needs to be mixed with compost to get the best soil quality possible for the plants.

I learned how to thin and harvest many different plants. Plants such as carrots need to be planted in heaps because they don’t always germinate well. Therefore, they need to be thinned afterwards so that the roots aren’t competing for space and resources. Beets also need to be thinned but that’s because the seed they’re grown from germinates several different beet plants. Seeds that grow only one plant (monogerms) are available but are more costly.

I learned how to properly harvest bok choy with the harvesting knife. You need to be careful because the leaf stems are fragile. You move the stems out of the way very carefully and then take the harvesting knife and place it underneath, where the root is. I learned that when picking peas from the plant you have to look under almost every branch to ensure that you got them all.

I learned that bindweed grows very fast and no matter how many times you pick it from the roots it will still grow back. I learned that they coil themselves around the plants and suffocate them. I learned that bok choy are susceptible to the flea beetle so they need to be covered in row cover. I learned that construction should be cancelled, so that the deer will be able to return to their home and quit eating the crops. I learned that one of the deer is named Robert Munch because it enjoys munching on the crops.

I learned that onions are ready to be picked when their leaves turn brown and die, then you can collect them from the soil, dry them up and package them away. I also learned that there isn’t much farmers can do when it rains aside from weeding. I learned that working in the rain is very difficult when there are mosquitos by the hundreds there to swarm you.  I learned how much work is done to make crops grow, as well as how much work adults do a week. I also learned that when construction and sirens are removed from the equation that working like a farmer is very peaceful and calming.