Rosella’s Journey with Farm School

Blog written by Rosella
November 7th, 2017

Part of my retirement plan was and still is to pursue a higher education. While taking one of those classes at KPU in Langley, a video about KPU’s Tsawwassen Farm School showed up. Well, it sure got me intrigued. I have never heard of a farm school before.

I arranged for a visit to the farm in February 2017. The moment I stepped onto the farm, I knew that I was going to attend Farm School. This was when I met Archie, the red-coloured piglet. The farm school staff got us immersed into helping right away.

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Archie at 3 weeks old

I learned so much, and still, I want to learn more. What Farm School has taught me is being a farmer is a lot more enjoyable than being in an office. Farmers are generally more happy even with the ups and downs of weather (we had a wet spring), the pests (flea beetles, loopers, etc.), and trying figure out what is happening to the plants (not enough nutrition, powdery mildew, too much water, not enough water, etc.).

I have more appreciation of what farmers do in order to get vegetables and fruits ready for us to enjoy. I never knew what a CSA was until this year (Community Support Agriculture). If I really had known what that entailed, I would’ve signed up for one of these weekly boxes for a season’s worth of vegetables and fruits a long, long time ago. Organic vegetables sure do taste good!

Farm school has shown me what farmers need to know in order to run a successful farm. Direct seeding or in trays, what kind of soil the seeds like to germinate in, the biggest thing I wanted to know was why my home garden did so well the first year and not the next. It was the nutrition of the soil! Whatever was taken away should be put back. This was something I wish I knew a long time ago.

I have learned about:

  • pruning fruit trees
  • driving a tractor
  • welding
  • taking care of the farm animals (pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and cats)
  • irrigation
  • bees
  • pests and how to manage them
  • soil, how to get it alive for healthy vegetables
  • how to plant by direct seeding and with transplants
  • weeding
  • how to sell your produce
  • don’t put tomatoes in the fridge

So many new vegetables I got to try, I did not know you could eat so many parts of the plants, like the scapes, before they bloomed, from garlic. I did try most of everything, even the ones I wasn’t very fond of (beans).

We visited quite a few places to see how they farmed, some of which gave me a good idea of how I could continue with the farming experience.

Even though this was a Farm School, learning how to become a farmer, I felt more alive and a part of a community. One of my favourite things to do on the farm was weeding.

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Rosella weeding potatoes
rosel 1
Rosella getting some of the 10,000 onions ready for transplanting

I am feeling a sense of loss with farm school coming to an end. I have met a lot of very nice people. Overall it was an enjoyable experience. I am so glad I took the time out of my retirement plan of furthering my education to include attending KPU’s Tsawwassen Farm School.

Rosella

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