Fun on the Farm
Did you know? Vanilla flavoring comes from the pod of an orchid, Vanilla planifolia. And although the pods are called vanilla beans, they’re more closely related to corn than actual green beans.
What’s Growing on?
This has been a super busy week on the Urban Farm, from getting rows prepared and planted with cold crops and transplanting dill and cucumbers in the greenhouse, to hosting open farm hours and a Gardening class on Saturday! We had 6 adventurous volunteers who put in a total of 13 volunteer hours at the farm this Saturday; they helped transplant cold crops outside, tack down weed barrier between the rows, and set up more low tunnels to protect the salad greens planted outside.
We had 3 brave souls who came out for our winter gardening class; where they learned about greenhouse care, house to prevent diseases and pests on their seedlings, growing and harvesting microgreens, as well as methods for helping rootbound seedlings to succeed.
Inside the Greenhouse I have a multitude of good quality greens and veggies that I will be using to produce salad mixes and fresh herbs.
This week, I will be installing more landscape fabric, in between my rows, to help cut down on the weeds at the Urban Farm. I use heavy duty landscape fabric, which I cut into strips and staple into the soil with 6 inch landscape staples to the walkways between the rows. Once all of the rows have this barrier tacked down, I will go back through and lay down 2 to 3 inches of wood mulch on top, to help keep the fabric from shifting, and create an additional barrier to keep the weeds down. Remember, when preparing to plant in your own garden, there are measures that you can take to prevent weeds from even popping up, and reduce the amount of manual labor as the season goes along, without spraying herbicides. If you are looking to maintain an organic garden, you can use a weed barrier fabric in between your rows, add plastic sheeting where you are planting, or use grass mulch from your lawn (if you don’t spray any chemicals on your lawn, and cut it regularly before any weeds flower) to mulch around all of your plants. The grass mulch creates a physical barrier against the weeds, and as it decomposes, it helps to feed your garden; using grass or hay mulch also helps to prevent your soil from drying out completely by trapping moisture and preventing evaporation. Down here in the south, it is vital to take measures to maintain moisture in your garden soil, including adding composted material at regular intervals, to your garden. This can help provide fresh nutrients and beneficial bacteria for your veggies, as well as increase the moisture retention capabilities of your soil.
On a completely different note: several weeks ago, I learned about some changes to the local area, which will directly impact the footprint of the farm. These changes will be going into effect over the next several months, and will permanently change the shape and structure of the farm. Butterfly creek runs adjacent to the Urban Farm, and has been piped for the past several decades, following the removal of the textile mill which was across the street from where the Urban Farm is currently. Due to the daylighting (returning the creek to its’ original pathway) of this creek, we will be losing a section of the farm. We will be losing 6 rows from the farm, and will have to relocate the compost bins from their current location on the left hand side of the farm. You can see the part of the farm that we will be losing to this project, in this photo to the left. I am trying to utilize this impact as an inspiration for increasing the efficiency of the space, here at the Urban Farm. Over the next several years, we will be turning the Greenhouse into a 12 month growing space, and adding additional vertical gardening features to the farm. I am excited to use this transition as a stepping stone to improving and growing our Urban features as well as developing new growing methods for the 0.5 acre site.
I will do my best to keep you updated as the changes are made, and as we settle into the new Urban Farm layout.
Please feel free to send me any email me at (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you have any feedback or comments!