Urban Farm Updates, April 27th, 2017

Urban Farm Updates, April 27th, 2017

Fun on the Farm!

Did you know? The first greenhouses were built in Rome, in 30 A.D.! The first greenhouse that was built in the United States, was built in Boston in 1737, by Andrew Faneuil. Currently in the U.S. there is an estimated 22,500 acres of land that is under greenhouses! That is the equivalent of 10% of the state of South Carolina being under a greenhouse! Pretty impressive!

What’s Growing on?

Donation of Vermiculite from Palmetto Vermiculite...

Donation of Vermiculite from Palmetto Vermiculite…

My what a busy and productive week it has been! I was able to clean up the farm and get it ready for the volunteer day on Saturday, which included receiving several deliveries of supplies. We got an order of mulch from Henson Mulch and More; we got a delivery of lumber from Lowes; and a donation of Vermiculite from Palmetto Vermiculite. How Hunter managed to fit so much Vermiculite in his truck is an incredible feat of engineering!

I harvested off 45 lbs of produce on Thursday, which included Snap Peas (the first of the season!), Bok Choy, Kale, Collards, Lettuce, Arugula, Spinach and Cucumbers! The very first of my Sungold Cherry tomatoes are ripening up, so the little kiddos who volunteered on Saturday got to taste test them for me before they left! Kid approval rating: 10 out of 10!! Can’t get any better than that!

Spartanburg Water Work Crew!

Spartanburg Water Work Crew!

Busy at work!!

Busy at work!!

Finishing the Vertical Grow Towers!

Finishing the Vertical Grow Towers!

Building the Arbor

Building the Arbor

And, that segues into our Volunteer day on Saturday! We had a total of 22 individuals make their way to the Urban Farm on Saturday morning to pour some life and love into the farm! With the help of the very enthusiastic volunteers, we were able to install the framing for a growing Arbor, build and install several vertical PVC growing towers, and build and install two long linear grow boxes for the front of the Urban Farm. These features will help to increase our growing capability, as well as allow me to visually introduce several new growing techniques here at the farm. The rest of the grow boxes for the Arbor will have to be built and installed at the next Open Farm day in May, once the concrete has had a chance to successfully dry and set, stabilizing the arbor. Volunteers also mixed vermiculite with the compost from Atlas Organics, and helped to fill the front linear beds, as well as the vertical PVC towers. The vermiculite will help with water retention and water availability when plants are growing in the beds. Vermiculite is a crystaline mineral that expands as it absorbs and retains water, and then later releases the water, as the soil dries out. This helps plants by ensuring that the soil maintains a certain level of moisture, and prevents the flood and drought conditions that gardens normally experience. More vermiculite will be added throughout the farm as I transition the outside rows from the current winter/cold crops, to summer crops.

Below I will include before and after photos, of the the farm, once the volunteer day concluded and the projects were completed. This work would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of all of the volunteers, so a big shout out to everyone who came out and gave of their time and energy to help accomplish these projects! Ya’ll are awesome!

I also want to send a shout out to all of the businesses and organizations who donated money and materials to these projects, Spartanburg Water, Palmetto Vermiculite and Atlas Organics! Thank you all so much!

Please feel free to stop by the farm some time to check out the changes, and keep posted with the blog each week to see how I end up using these new added features! Some time soon the grow boxes for the Arbor will be built and installed, and then the Artichoke bed will also be built and installed, and I will have even more usable space on the farm to make the space more efficient and educational! As you may remember, we will be losing quite a bit of space on the left hand side of the farm, due to the daylighting of the Butterfly Creek, so I am planning new and creative uses for the limited space that we have left on the farm, which was not previously utilized. These new additional features are one component to that plan; I am also working with a student from Wofford College to develop a growth and development plan for the farm, which will not only maximize the use of the remaining open space, but will also include the implementation of new features all in the effort to make the Urban Farm more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

I am excited to continue sharing these changes and developments with you guys! Please feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, comments etc (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org)! Talk to you again next week!!

Before

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After: Arbor, stage 1 Complete!!

After: Arbor, stage 1 Complete!!

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After

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After!

After!