Urban Farm Updates, February 1st, 2018

Urban Farm Updates, February 1st, 2018

Fun on the Farm!

Did you know? Produce is not always sold for the bargain prices that we are familiar with?! In 2008 a 17lb Densuke Black Watermelon sold at an auction for $6,100! Now that is one expensive Watermelon! And melons are not the only thing fetching extremely high prices at fruit auctions (who even knew there was such a thing?!)! In Japan, the Sekai-ichi apple is sold for $21 per apple! Each Sekai-ichi apple tree is hand pollinated, and each apple is individually inspected for any blemishes before being washed in a honey mixture to give it an edible wax-like coating; hence the outrageous price!

What’s Growing On?

New seed starts have taken up residence in the Greenhouse.

I can’t get over the fact that it is already February! I was writing out plant markers at the farm yesterday, and writing out the date over and over was a stark reminder that this year is already flying by! Cat and Luke are on their finite break between their January term and the start of their spring semester, so they are back in their perspective hometowns for the rest of this week. Leslie Rodgers (from Atlas Organics- an Urban Farm sponsor)and I met out on the Urban Farm, yesterday. We spent much of the morning engrossed in a very long, but productive conversation about the local agriculture/food movement going on in Upstate South Carolina. There is so much exciting stuff going on with the food movement right now, and I am excited to be able to continue building and growing partnerships with other farms, agriculture entrepreneurs and community foundations throughout the upcoming year!

Banana Peppers celebrating their first Birthday!

Inside the Greenhouse my banana peppers just celebrates their first birthday with an aphid bath. I noticed roughly 3 weeks ago that there were a few aphids on some of the leaves of my pepper plants; I removed the leaves, killed the aphids and kept a close eye on the plants. Over the following few days, I noticed a few more aphids and and a few more aphids; and my plants showed it. The leaves yellow and became limp, the fruit/flower production slowed down and the plants looked generally sad. This meant war! I was not going to lose my one year old (and highly productive) pepper plants to some troublesome aphids! So, Luke and I made up a fresh batch of aphid pest repellent and applied to the plants, following it up with a second application a week later. Tomorrow will be my third and last follow up application, although upon last inspection there were no living aphids to be found. Aphids and white flied will always be something to contend with inside of a Greenhouse, and that is why regular plant inspections of plants are essential. All of the white flecking that you can see on the leaves in the photo to the left, is residue that is left from the last pest repellent application.

Our Valley Girl Tomatoes are coming along beautifully!

One of the first things that Leslie (Atlas Organics) commented on when she came into the Greenhouse yesterday morning was my pepper plants! She had come to the farm last spring around the time that they first began producing, and she was incredibly impressed with the fact that they were still super productive and bigger than ever! The second thing that she commented on were my gigantic Tomato plants! After harvesting a little over 6lbs of Green tomatoes for the latest Saturday Market on January 20th, Luke and I went through and counted all of the little tomatoes that are currently growing in the Greenhouse. We counted over 130 tomatoes, ranging from the size of a quarter, to tennis ball sized. My hope is that quite a few of these tomatoes will be ready in time for the next two Saturday Winter Markets, on February 17th and March 17th. Tomatoes that ripen up in between the Winter Markets will be sold on the Mobile Market, that is up and running, making 6 stops each week all throughout Spartanburg County. It is shaping up for a good start to the year already! We are excited to shake things up this year, and jump straight into the spring growing season! No down time on the production front!

The weed pile is progressively shrinking.

Things are getting progressively cleaned up on the Urban Farm; all of the debris has been hauled away, and the remaining pile of winter weeds is slowly dwindling down in size. After already hauling away 4 truck loads of random garbage from the farm, we still have several more to go before the farm will be in peak spring condition! The work has certainly gone a lot quicker and been so much easier with the help of Cat, Luke and Hannah (when the Mobile Market was on holiday hiatus)….. I am so grateful to have the help and to be making steady progress in getting the farm ready for increased education and community programming.

Thanks for checking out the weekly Urban Farm blog; as always, I look forward to sharing more Urban Farm Adventures with you again next week! Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments that you may have (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org)! Thanks so much!