Saving the Lenape Blue Flour corn seeds for next year. Half of the seeds are going to Tony West in Ohio -- the farmer who donated the Lenape corn seeds to the project. We are going to plant the rest in a plot in Williamsburg next spring. Stay tuned!
The winter rye has been coming up nicely with the exception of the swath of destruction wreaked by the rogue Brooklyn street pigeons. Every time we put down some fresh seed a gang of pigeons lurk on the sidewalk and on the rooftops waiting to swoop down. Today Jeff and I reseeded once again and decided to try a couple methods to discourage them. Christmas tinsel and bird netting. Will it work?
It's been a while since I posted something. The project is winding down and I started a new artists residency on Governors Island. But the gardens have continued producing squash (in Canarsie) and beans. An ear of Lenape Blue was auctioned off at "The Art of Farming" event on Sept. 23rd at Sotheby's (along with a Brooklyn Maize Field Map). $75 was the final bid for our beautiful Lenape blue. The lenape blues and gigi hills are still hanging to dry in my studio. We got a decent bean harvest from the Canarsie garden in the end, and two big squash. Even the Boerum Hill garden produced a few beans. A hail storm decimated what was left of the squash in the Boerum Hill patch. On wednesday Jeff and I winterized both gardens -- taking out the plants and seeding the gardens with winter rye.
Check out this beautiful cob of Lenape Blue Corn I harvested a few days ago. Grown on East 91st, btw Avenues L & M in Canarsie -- an area that once part of the Canarsee Indian Planting Lands.
Lenape Blue Flour Corn is actually named "Sehsapsing" and was originally brought to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) by the family of Sarah Wilson Thompson, a full-blooded Lenape who lived on the Delaware Reservation. Her family migrated from their original homeland in what is now New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware.
The Lenape Blue Corn seeds for this project were generously donated by Tony West from Appalachian Heirloom Plant Farm, Winchester, Ohio with the agreement that I will return a portion of the seeds back to him.
I love this cob of corn!
I have some drawing and pictures from Maize Field this show which is opening tonight.
Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City
Exhibition Dates: September 16-December 12, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 16, 2010 6-8pm
Gallery Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 11am-4pm or by appointment
Location: Old Stone House 2nd Floor Gallery
5th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Street,
Park Slope (take R train to Union Street or R/F train to 4th Avenue/9th Street)
Featuring artwork by:
Andrew Casner, Hernani Dias, Kate Glicksberg, Katherine Gressel, Hugh Hayden,
Kim Holleman, Christina Kelly, Jess Levey, Mary Mattingly, Eve Mosher, Scott Nyerges,
ORPH, Mathilde Roussel-Giraudy , Dan Sagarin, Eric Sanderson, Tattfoo Tan, Work.AC
Katherine Gressel and Derek Denckla, curators
Please visit http://farmcity.us/category/brooklyn-utopias/ for more information!
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Utopia: An ideal place or state.
What would a “Brooklyn Utopia” look like? What is the role of artists in shaping an ideal Brooklyn?
Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City invites artists to respond to urban agriculture, or the practice of farming in or around a city, as a “utopian” solution for Brooklyn. How successful are Brooklyn’s existing urban farming attempts and what additional innovations and collaborations are possible? How can the borough’s rich agrarian past inform its greener future? What about questions of scale, universal access, diversity and feasibility for urban farming that determine if this is a fad or a lasting practice in Brooklyn? And finally, how can the past, present and future of Brooklyn farming inform future “farm cities?"
To address such questions, the artworks in Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City will range from the symbolic and visionary to the literally alive and dirty. These include: sample plant modules from Eve Mosher's Seeding the City rooftop garden networking project, early drawings from Christina Kelly’s Maize Field project that harvests corn in Brooklyn streets; never-before shown plans and sketches by Mary Mattingly (of the Waterpod project and Flock House); a painting by Andrew Casner made from garden compost; a rendering of an idealized agrarian Brooklyn in year 2409 by Eric Sanderson, author of the best-selling Manahatta; and, during opening weekend, tours of actual mobile farms by Tatfoo Tan, Kim Holleman, and Ian Cheney & Curt Ellis.
Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City is part of the Crossing the Line 2010: FIAF Fall Festival, with various events taking place over the next 3 weekends. Please visit http://www.fiaf.org/crossingtheline/ for more information.
That rag the Cobble Hill Courier described the patch as a "dust bowl" in last week's paper? Honestly, does this look like a dust bowl? I don't know why they like to pick on this project -- but one must remember they are an affiliate of the NY Post. Sigh. Anyway, I love the way the garden looks right now with the dead stalks amongst all the green -- flowering mountain mint, wild flowers, blossoming squash and there are even beans tangling themselves around the yellow stalks and up the bamboo sticks. The garden is full of life. At some point we will plant the winter rye, but right now I'm enjoying it as is. I hope the neighbors (besides those grumps at the Courier) are too. When I'm at the patch people keep asking me if we got any corn. So now I'm thinking that I should display the harvest at some point in the patch. But how?
It was chilly down at the Canarsie garden yesterday. The wind was whipping through the plants and I had to wear a sweat shirt! I harvested a good amount of corn. Actually one of the ears was nearly perfect. It is so beautiful -- a deep blue/black. I opened the husk in my studio and nearly cried. I need to take a picture of it that does it justice (so stay tuned). Anyway, in the garden the beans are still marauding over the corn but I only harvested two pods. I don't see any more among the tangle of vines, and very few flowers even. A couple more squash are developing, but the leaves are continuing to die off. Autumn is settling over the garden. I've grown attached to this spot and these plants. I know I'll make visits before the end of the harvest. There is still corn on the stalks. The plan is to set it up nicely for the winter so the school can use it as a garden again in the spring. In the meantime let's see if we get any more perfectly formed Lenape blues...
Jeff and I worked the table at Farm City where we displayed the harvest from the Smith and Bergen patch. We each made two kinds of cornbread using a farmer grown and ground Iroquois white cornmeal from Spence Farm and a flint/dent blend from Cayuga Pure Organics in Ithaca.
My recipe came from the folks at Spence Farm and Jeff's came from the "Settlement Cookbook The Way to a Man's Heart" by Mrs. Simon Kander, Mrs. Henry Schoenfeld.
There was no time to take a picture of the cornbread as the three loaves and a bunch of muffins were snapped up in about an hour.
Later on in the evening Marie Viljoen came over with the most delicious hominy made from the Iroquois shortnose white corn I grew last year in Prospect Park. It was cooked with fresh, slow-cooked pork belly. We had originally planned to serve the hominy at the Farm City table but city regulations prevented it -- even though Marie, I'm sure, wore a hairnet at home while preparing it! Too bad for the Farm City folks -- but good new for us who got to enjoy it later. Once again there was no time to take a picture of the delicious dish as we were too busy eating it. Incidentally Marie also won several blue ribbons in the Green Thumb harvest competition yesterday. Check out her cool blog and her ribbons at 66 square feet
Tomorrow at the Farm City event we will pull out some of the corn stalks to be composted. I'll have the Gigi Hill blue flint corn harvest on display. And Jeff Huchison and I are making cornbread from Iroquois white cornmeal.
Come on by from 11-5 all along Bergen btw Court and Smith. Lots of new art, food and excitement all day long at:
The Invisible Dog Art Center
51 Bergen Street
See you there!
Once again I don't really know what's going on. Just a couple weeks ago down in Canarsie the squash were vigorously taking over. On this last visit the plants looked a little wilted and thinned out. Could I actually be over watering, I wonder... I started to cut off some of the totally dead leaves for compost. A passerby stopped and told me that it wasn't necessary to take off the leaves. He said to just let them be. The plants, in his opinion, only needed some fertilizer. "Just let them be", he said again, "and enjoy." He walked away, smiling.
I spread around some more compost. And let them be.
Two more squash are forming near the playground gate.
I've got my eye on this plump Lenape blue ear right here. I hope those small little insects don't get at it. Or the squirrels. I sprayed a some of the organic concoction Jeff gave me around the area. It's supposed to keep the squirrels away. I think the independent-minded squash are also creating a natural barrier. And goodness knows the beans are burying the corn under an avalanche of leaves. So we'll see.
The beans, sigh, are still running wild over the corn in Canarsie. I guess -- as in all families -- there are "issues" between the siblings. The bean is clearly the bossy sister in this dynamic. The squash is independent -- carving out space for herself. And the corn is very, very tolerant.
I picked my first Lenape blue. A stubby ear that was already half undressed. I pulled back the husks and found gorgeous, dazzling deep blue kernels.
Carl stopped by to say hello again. I gave him three kernels for good luck.
Also on Friday Doug and I noticed something. One of the granite blocks had been moved! It might be hard to see in the photos but this middle block (pictured) has definitely been shifted. It shifted so much so that the crack plants fell deeper into the crack. We puzzled over this situation for a while. We also noticed that the two back blocks seemed to have shifted very slightly as well because there are shadow-like marks left from where they once were. These blocks are really heavy. I think the guys that helped install them can vouch for that. It's hard to believe that they can be shifted without the aide of something. They were originally nudged into place with a forklift. We decided that perhaps a car or some other vehicle may have accidentally backed up into the two rear blocks which caused the other block to shift.
If anyone saw what happened let me know.
Part of my maintenance routine includes sweeping up around the patch. There is something relaxing and satisfying about a nice patch sweep. On Friday my friend Doug volunteered to help out. He also harvested the last decent ear of corn. I think now the total ears harvested comes to 12. You can see the corn and maybe even eat some too on the afternoon of Sept 12th at the Farm City event at the Invisible Dog and all along Bergen Street.