Harvesting at our Mondragon Field

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A difference between traditional and conventional agriculture is that traditional agriculture operates in a time frame that is defined by diversity: some crops ripen faster than others.  Though much of our maize is still green and maturing, it became clear that some of it was mature and ready for harvest.  Some of the plants are drying out and even more telling is that some of the ears on the corn plant are completely dry and even leaning or falling over from the plant.  It is important that we pay attention to the status of the corn and the weather in that it rained last weekend and our maize that is mature is susceptible to mold.  If the plant is green and vibrant, it can dry out and fend off mold for itself.  So today we went on a harvesting mission to remove and dry the crops that were ready.20130917-115752.jpg

We planted two varieties of white corn in the same field and only harvested members from one population:  the population that is more locally adapted and has been grown in Taos for almost 10 years.  The other variety is from another watershed and has only been grown in Taos for 1  year besides this one.  There are other factors that determine the number of days to harvest, but it is interesting to note that the maize that was ready was from a population that has been selected for a shorter maturation time.  Since we typically have about 30 months to grow crops, having a shorter season variety might serve us well to avoid late and early frost in our short growing season.  In continuing with this selection process, the corn that we harvested now, the fastest maturing corn, we will have preference for these seeds for our next years’ planting.20130917-115809.jpg

We are also harvesting our dry peas and fava beans.  We are removing the dry pods (legumes) from the plant and placing them somewhere to dry completely.  We will then thresh and winnow them to have seeds and dry peas for next growing seasons’ planting and for food over the winter.20130917-145910.jpg

We also have some root crops that are ready like potatoes and onions.  Here you see Angelo Chavez with some red potatoes and yellow onions.  We also have golden potatoes as well as red and white onions that will be harvested later.  We will be cooking these up for our “All School” breakfast in addition to our Thanksgiving Feast event.20130917-150338.jpg

20130917-150406.jpgHere you see Chris Duran and Kiko Pacheco digging up some potatoes.  We call this digging in to your hands-on education!

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
This entry was posted in Acequia Culture, AIRE, Chrysalis Alternative High School and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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