Here at Winthrop High School we have a very beloved and well known English teacher named Mr. Parsons. You may know him from teaching you English or Lit and Film, coaching lacrosse, or from the halls of our high school. This school year, I have him for AP Language and Composition. This has been one of my favorite classes since the beginning of the school year, and I would definitely recommend it to any rising juniors. Occasionally, my class gets off topic and we start conversations about anything that comes to mind. Mr. Parsons, being a very enthusiastic and passionate teacher and person, always chimes in. One of my favorite things about the tangents that Period 3 AP Language and Composition is known for is learning new things about classmates and our teacher. Recently, the class learned of a garden that Mr. Parsons has been keeping for a while. Having many house plants myself, my interest in the story and process behind this garden was instantly sparked. That is why I decided to ask Mr. Parsons a few questions about his garden, and his plans with it in the future. I specifically asked about building it, what he is growing, tips and tricks, etcetera. I hope his answers amaze and interest you as much as they did me!
Zoe: How long have you been gardening?
Mr. Parsons: This is my third year at Parsons Farms!
Zoe: What types of plants do you have in your garden?
Mr. Parsons: Mostly vegetables… carrots, lettuce, eggplants, leafy greens, thai chilies, golden beets, herbs, and strawberries. I also have some sunflowers and zinnias!
Zoe: What is your favorite plant you have right now?
Mr. Parsons: Chinese Eggplant!
Zoe: What techniques do you use to make sure that your garden runs smoothly? Such as fertilizers, pest protection, etc?
Mr. Parsons: I actually make my own soil bacteria which I use to help provide microbes to soil, use a fish and seaweed fertilizer and I use a no till method to help keep.
Zoe: You recently got chickens, how many and what’re their names/genders?
Mr. Parsons: I have 4 laying hens! Their names are Zeus, Duck, Rosie, and Albert Einstein. (My daughter named them.)
Zoe: Have the chickens been helpful to the productivity of your garden?
Mr. Parsons: I have been putting their poop in my compost…. but they are still small and live in my basement so they will be more of a help next year.
Zoe: Are you planning on getting any other animals?
Mr. Parsons: Hopefully rabbits and maybe one day a goat!
Zoe: Have you always known that you wanted to start a garden, or have these animals? Did you ever have any house plants in your past?
Mr. Parsons: This came out of nowhere…my grandpa and dad both had gardens when I was growing up but I wasn’t into it at all as a kid. I was 30 and was looking for something new. I got a raised bed and some basil and before you knew it I was obsessed.
Zoe: Do you think that gardening outside or keeping these types of plants and animals can help with a person’s mental health?
Mr. Parsons: 100%. I think a huge part of the mental health crisis has to do with a lack of purpose and nothing gives you more of a purpose than the daily taking care of a garden.
Zoe: Are you planning on eating the eggs of the chickens or the chickens?
Mr. Parsons: Of course! Omelets for days!
Zoe: Do you feel that your garden helps you live a more sustainable lifestyle?
Mr. Parsons: I have been composting all food materials for almost 3 years and have so many fresh veggies to eat!
Zoe: What was the process of building your garden?
Mr. Parsons: I learned a lot about carpentry and built my raised beds. I also just built a chicken coop for myself. I order local seeds and plan everything out. I have a bookshelf of gardening and homesteading books!
Thank you so much Mr. Parsons for sharing some of the behind the scenes magic of your garden. Can’t wait to follow up in a few years when you have 20 bunnies and 40 chickens. Wishing you tons of luck in the prosperity and growth of Parsons Farms!