Urban Farm Updates, August 17th, 2017
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? Farming originally began around 10,000 B.C., when nomadic tribes began to cultivate plants during their travels. This is when the 8 “founder crops” appear in the modern plant record. These initial crops include: emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled harley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax. I guess the nomads really liked their Legumes!
What’s Growing On?
It has been yet another rollercoaster week, with lots of storms and some much needed sunshine. Unfortunately, that combination of storms and sunshine also meant that it has been extremely hot and humid…. This kind of weather is hard on our farmers, they have no choice but to work out in the heat…. On Wednesday, the high humidity levels soared to 90%, leaving the real feel in the triple digits!!
The farm has received so much rain recently, in the form of strong thunderstorms and steady rain, that the farm is still soggy and mushrooms are popping up everywhere! I have got numerous dinner plate sized mushrooms all over the farm, popping up in the rows and walkways. I need this place to dry out a bit, so I can get a handle on all of the weeds that are growing like mad.
Last Thursday, Cooper Gerus, our new VISTA came down to the farm to put in some work hours and try and get a feel for some of the tasks that volunteers help out with on the farm. While he was out at the farm, we weeded and cleaned up one of the linear beds along the front fence; then we loosened up the soil, mixed in more Vermiculite (Thanks, Palmetto Vermiculite) and planted some fall Carrots and Beets. Stirring up the soil and adding the Vermiculite helps to keep it aerated and loose, which helps with the growth and development of root crops like carrots.
The little seedlings have already popped up, and are doing really well! I am hoping to plant another set of carrots and beets in the other front linear bed, next week, to increase my harvest season, this winter. Growing root crops like carrots and beets can also help to reduce and diminish the growth of weeds in the front beds as well, because they can be seeded and grown closer together than other traditional fall and winter crops. Fortunately, all of the recent rain, and warm weather has encouraged the germination rate in all of these new seedlings. Instead of the normal 7 to 10 day germination rate, all of the seedlings had their heads popped up above the soil by day 5! If the weather cooperates with us, I am hopeful to be able to start harvesting carrots in early to mid November, and continue harvesting through the end of the year!
Fortunately, my Okra plants are not slowing down at all, due to all of this rain. With two rows of Okra currently producing, and two new rows that are starting to produce, my fingers are crossed that I will be able to get more than 100lbs of Okra this year! In my time down here in the south, I have come to realize why Okra is such a staple. It has good flavor, and it grows reliably in drought years and in years when we get a lot of rain, and in years when the temperature fluctuates constantly. Last year, because it was such a mild winter, my Okra plants produced into the middle of November; I don’t know if they are going to produce that long this year, but I am hopeful that they will keep producing through the end of October.
We also had some excitement during all of the intense rains on Friday morning. Myself, Hannah Heacox and Cooper Gerus were able to go out and pick up the Mobile Market trailer that we ordered from Green Valley Discount Trailer, in Boiling Springs. The trailer shell is the first step to the final product, in getting our Mobile Market set up fully outfitted! The trailer will be customized with refrigeration and shelving to accommodate all of the fresh, local produce that Hannah sells on the Mobile. I am hopeful that we will be able to get the trailer full outfitted and road-ready by early October.
This Saturday, August 19th, is also the next Open Farm Saturday. The farm will be open to the public from 8:30am to noon time, for farm tours, questions, volunteers and the gardening class which runs from 10am to 11am. This months gardening class topic will be fall garden prep; preparations for those who are interested in gardening over the fall or into the wintertime. This is the perfect time to learn some new skills; if someone wants to extend their growing season a little bit and get one last planting in before any major frosts hit in November, or if anyone just wants to try and grow some plants besides the traditional summer varieties. Please send me an email to let me know if you will be coming so that I can prepare the handouts and give-a-aways (email@example.com). *Teaser- there will be some give-a-ways over the next several months, for anyone who attends the gardening class (for the first 8 people attending), so please let me know if you are planning on coming, so I can make sure that everyone is accounted for! Thanks so much! I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
As always, I will post again next week, and share more adventures and progress on the Urban Farm. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, concerns, comments (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Talk to ya’ll next week!