Urban Farm Updates, July 13th, 2017
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? Grapefruit, watermelon, berries, plums, celery and eggs are all fat burning foods? This makes me excited to go back to the market on Saturday!
What’s Growing On?
Hello again, hard to believe it has been a whole week already! I have been so busy over the past several weeks working on getting things in place for the HCFM Mobile Market; as some of you may know, this week marked the first full week that the Mobile Market is back on the road, making stops throughout Spartanburg County and selling produce to those who may not have access to fresh, local food otherwise. I have been helping with the process of acquiring the new Mobile Market truck (a Ford F-350), as well as working through the long and arduous process of getting everything organized for the trailer portion of the Mobile Market set up. The trailer is being ordered as I type, and it will be a made-to-order set up, customized according to the needs of our Mobile Market. We will be unveiling the finished product at stops all over Spartanburg County later on this summer. Over the past several weeks, I have also been getting things in the works for the Community Garden that I oversee on Church Street. I am working on putting together some final pieces to the whole ensemble, and sometime in the near future we will have a shady area out there with some nice bench seating for all of the renters at the garden! The garden has made progress in the last year, from an empty lot, to a vibrant and thriving community garden with 12 garden beds that are shared by active community members. I am excited to see all of the growth and improvements there!
Over the past 3 weeks or so, I have been adding all of the rotten produce, old plants, kitchen scraps and unseeded weeds to these compost tumblers (thank you again, Tumbler Fairy!), and it has been incredible to see how fast the Compost Casserole has come together and how quickly it is breaking down! Within 24 hours of adding the first batch of kitchen scraps, I had a tumbler full of fruit flies, and within a week I had larva of all kinds and a multitude of different bugs doing their thing to help break my scrap material down. In another month or so, the composting process should be completed for the first compost batch and I will have a usable product to spread in my raised beds.
There is still ongoing construction on the property adjacent to the farm, as well as the piece of property across the street now, for the Butterfly Creek project. It is a bit dusty, and quite noisy right now, but it is definitely not as bad as it could be and it has not affected my work at the farm quite as much as I had anticipated.
On Tuesday, I spent some time reorganizing and cleaning up the shed at the Urban Farm, which had fallen into disarray over the past month, while I have been juggling the Mobile Market project, the Community Garden planning and development, as well as the basic upkeep of the Urban Farm. Now that things have been cleaned up a bit in there, I feel relieved and it is a happy place to work again! The process really does go much faster when everything is neat and tidy and in its’ place. I am hoping to be able to bring in a filing cabinet sooner rather than later to help keep all of my farm business paperwork organized, and help keep my educational program materials within quick, easy reach. Having those helpful materials right on the farm will be a massive help, and will help to keep me organized as I am going about the day to day operations. It is amazing how much of a difference having some organizational tools can make!
About a month ago I thought that I had lost some of my pepper plants which are planted in the ground outside, due to all of the rain. The plants got all bleached out and anemic and I wasn’t sure if they would make it or not. But incredibly, they have held on and after a few weeks now of drier weather, they have perked up, gotten back to their vibrant green coloration and have even started producing flowers and baby peppers! I am so impressed with how well, and how quickly they have rebounded!
My bean plants are reaching for the skies and sending out tendrils left and right; which means I will have to be putting up t posts and running twine tomorrow to keep them from spreading out along the ground. It makes me happy to see my plants doing so well, but it also speeds up the timeline on my to-do list! It is funny how I always think I’ve got it figured out and organized at the beginning of the week, and everything is going to happen on schedule that week… And then Monday hits… Without fail, every week, something happens to throw everything off course and I spend the rest of the week just trying to go with the flow and keep up as much as I can… Oh the joys of farming! Between mother nature, the plants themselves, pests and everything else going on, it is a constantly moving puzzle that we have to always flex and move with.
On the other end of things are all of the rewards that happen along the way; everything from escaping bad pest damage during the season, to harvesting your first pepper or cucumber of the summer! Those little successes are what keeps me and most other farmers going! I was able to bring a whole bunch of fresh cucumbers, that I had not anticipated, to start Hannah off on her Mobile Market runs on Monday. I took some time late in the week last week just to check and see what the status was on the flowers and baby cukes on my first cucumber row outside, and much to my surprise, there was quite the collection of cucumbers ready to harvest! So, needless to say, the cucumber harvest has begun, and I am excited to see how many cucumbers I get this year! I love the challenge of “cucumber hunting” every day, and making sure that I didn’t miss any that are ready! The little green reward is always worth the time spent on hide and seek!
Now, for those of you who read the blog regularly, you’ll remember that I posted last week about the upcoming “Open Farm Saturday”, so this is another friendly reminder! This Saturday, July 15th, is our next Open Farm Saturday, when the farm will be open to the public from 8:30am to noon. Anyone from the public is welcome to come down to the farm for a farm-tour, to volunteer or take the gardening class from 10am to 11am. July’s gardening class topic is “You Bug Me: strategies for organic pest prevention and control”. The class is $5.00 per person, and usually runs for about an hour, sometimes less depending on how many people attend and how many questions are asked. I always provide handouts for everything to take home with them, so they can refer to the materials again, at a later date. If you are interested in attending the class on Saturday, or if you have any topics that you’d really like to see a gardening class cover, please send me an email and let me know! I like to get a head count ahead of time, so I have some idea of how many people are coming so that I can more accurately prepare for the class. If you have any other questions or comments, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), I look forward to hearing from you! As always, I hope you all have a most wonderful week, and I look forward to sharing more adventures with you again next week!