Urban Farm Updates, July 20th, 2017
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? Carrots that are grown over the winter are sweeter than those grown in the spring time? That is because sugars in the carrot act as a natural antifreeze, and prevent the cells of the carrot from bursting when the temperatures drop. The colder the winter, the more sugars the carrots stores up in it’s cells to prevent frost damage. In other words, colder winters produce sweeter carrots. Yet another reason to get your carrots in during the fall!
What’s Growing On?
It is hard to believe it has already been a week, since my last blog! I had a wonderful week, and enjoyed some company my Grandmother, who came down to visit from CT. She hung out with me this week and even put in some volunteer time on the farm! It was great having the help because it has been taking twice as long as usual to wash all of the produce, due to all of the dust from the construction. Since the rain has let up a little bit these past few weeks, and the ground has had the opportunity to dry out a bit, the dust over at the construction site has been something terrible. I often come in, in the morning and see a thick layer of red, clay dust over all of my plants. This has slowed the growth progress of some, and certainly slows the cleaning progress after harvesting, by a lot! Didn’t think that I’d be saying this, but we need a few decent rains to keep all of that dust down.. It is going to make for a very long and dirty summer!
One afternoon when my Grandmother was here, we ducked out of the heat for a little while and hung out in the shed at the farm, stripping some harvested fruit for their seeds. Saving seeds is quick, easy, super simple and cost saving. Saving the seeds of fruit that gets away from you, or is intentionally let go, can be a great way to save on the seed budget each year. Hybrid species are the only ones that I won’t save the seeds for, because you can get sterile plants out of the seeds from a hybrid fruit. Hybrids will produce great fruit, but the plants that grow out of the seeds of that first plant are often times sterile, which means that they produce a beautiful, healthy plant that doesn’t bear any fruit. And generally, the fruit or berry is the part of the plant that is coveted and eaten. Can any of you guess what seeds we stripped last week, that are in the photo on the left?
I am getting prepared for a group of little ones that will be joining me out on the farm for a ‘farm adventure day’ in roughly 2 weeks time, and I am finally going to get to make use of the disposable water bottles that I have been saving for quite some time! Disposable water bottles can be used in a varieties of ways in a garden; as slow waterers, as a sprinkler above ground, to save and store seeds, to frost protect fragile seedlings, and as mini greenhouses, to name a few. We will be using these disposable water bottles as clear planters, so that the kids can watch the seeds germinate and grow, before they even reach the surface.
The pepper plants both outside, and in the greenhouse are doing really well, despite all of the dust and debris everywhere, and they have been happily producing peppers for a while now! I am excited by the number of buds and flowers that I am still seeing on my pepper plants, and am super happy with the harvest each week! Last year almost every pepper got bugs in it as soon as it was just ripe enough to harvest; it was so incredibly disappointing. This year, because of the homemade bug deterrent sprays that I made, I have only lost 4 peppers to bugs, and I call that a win! You can make your own homemade bug deterrent spray solution out of cayenne pepper, minced garlic and boiling water; the solution helps to prevent bugs from feasting on your plants. Once cold, the solution can be sprayed on your plants, and any remaining spray can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks and applied again as needed.
As you all may, or may not know, our staff has also be busy preparing for the 2nd annual Peach Jam event out at Harvest Park on July 22nd! The event will run from 6pm to 10pm and is a fundraiser to benefit the Hub City Farmers Market. The 2017 Peach Jam will feature Jamarcus Gaston as the host, The Consumers as our local music; and there will be a peach recipe contest, food tasting, the Farmers Table food truck, Bounce Houses, face painting, raffle prizes and much more! Come on out to help support the Farmers Market and all of our local peach farmers! Attendance is free, tickets can be purchased ($1.00 per ticket), which will be redeemable throughout the evening to by drinks, for the food tasting, dinner at the food truck and to enter into the raffle drawings. For more information please see our HCFM facebook page, or email Heather Raines (firstname.lastname@example.org). It’ll be fun ya’ll! You don’t want to miss it!
As always, I will be posting again next week and I look forward to sharing more with you guys then! Please feel free to email me any questions, comment or thoughts you might have (email@example.com)! Thanks again!