Connection, Companionship and Community

That late summer BLT will drip off the corners of our mouths and our yellow, orange, red and purple tomato salads will refract color like a sunset…heirloom tomato display

This week at the farm, Darienne achieved a critical milestone toward these lovely moments. The deeply green, sturdy and tall heirloom tomato plants she seeded on  March 21 and potted up on April 16 were planted out in our West hoop house.


tomato starts greenhouse



Through the chilly weekend and Monday’s snowy morn they settled in cozily tucked between the greens who have occupied those beds for the last couple of months. Not only have they shown no sign of transplant shock, they have kept on growing!tomatoes interplanted with lettuce






Some lettuce had to be pulled to make real estate available for these beauties. In fact more than one would think! Because these plants which had achieved 18-24 inches of growth were laid out on their side in the sun the day before they were planted.



tomatoes shifing perspective







Up to a foot of their former stem kept its form but the last several inches of growth started to reach up to the sun.

This enabled Darienne to use the trench method to plant not only a well formed root ball into the ground but also the stem in that plane, and with soil contact that stem by now has sprouted lots of roots, increasing the plant’s foundation. You will need to wait an extra week for that first BLT since plants that were tall have only 6-10 inches of leaves above the soil. But each time we “fertigate” with Advancing Eco Agriculture’s mix of macro and micro nutrients there will be so much more connection to the soil and its thriving community of microbes who make nutrients available to plants.

And even after the lettuce and greens bolt due to the hotter temps coming soon to the hoop house, the tomatoes will still have companionship as Darienne seeded some carrots, a partnership made famous in the book on Companion Planting.


Word came across the wires that an inspiration to Laura and leader in her former work world passed away this week.  A man who understood, seeded and nurtured connection, companionship and community.  Our heads spin with his jingles and our hearts and souls are deeply thankful that he so valued open space.

fauquier paper story on bill backer imageThanks Bill Backer for all you did for Conservation, to preserve agricultural land and keep all of our hope alive about what is possible… And wow, where would the world be now if in his early years he worked for the heirloom tomato league and instead of Coke?

Regardless, he encouraged us all to embrace the feeling of connection and the vision of perfect harmony.  This week we are seeing it in the West hoop house and hoping for it in our world.