Urban Farm Updates, June 21st, 2018

Urban Farm Updates, June 21st, 2018

Fun on the Farm!

Did you know? Coffee beans are not a bean at all; they are actually the seed of trees within the coffea family. The fruit of these trees are harvested, the seeds are removed, roasted and ground up to form what we know as coffee. Coffee trees grown at higher elevations tend to produce fruit for more years than their counterparts which are grown at a lower elevation. The average productive lifespan of a coffee tree is 50 to 70 years! Black coffee is also a naturally calorie free drink… Interesting.

What’s Growing On?

The first series of Summer Squash have really taken off recently!

Well folks, it has been another hot week here in upstate South Carolina! This hot dry weather definitely impacts gardens and farms, making efficient and effective watering methods an essential component of farm operations. My in ground plants have been surprisingly tolerant of all of the hot weather, dipping down into the water reserves in the soil, from all of the overly wet weather that we received last month.  Despite getting a slow start due to the series of unusually late frosts at the farm this year, my squash are coming along well and already producing some beautiful fruit! I have got a second bath of summer squash that was started a little bit later as well, trying to keep production going well into the summer.

Summer tomatoes are coming along beautifully!

All of my Beefsteak tomatoes are taking off and producing a ton of flowers and baby tomatoes. After plying the tomatoes with a little bit of organic cal-mag to give them a boost, I expect that I will see even more rapid growth despite the oppressive heat of recent days. It is amazing to watch the leaves of the tomato plants react to the heat of the afternoon by curling up their leaves protectively, and then unfurling them during the cooler nights. The tomato pictured here is one of the Carolina Gold determinate tomatoes from Cat’s Raised bed at the back of the farm. This tomato will grow to a predetermined size and produce a set number of fruit and then be done for the year. Of the three large tomato plants that Cat planted in her 4×8 raised bed, one is determinate, the other two are indeterminate varieties, which will continue growing throughout the summer season, up until the first frost; and they will steadily continue to set fruit throughout that entire time period. I am excited to see how much is produced and how they turn out, despite being in a raised bed during the heat of summer. I had several different pepper varieties in that same raised bed last year, and they continued to produce really well up until early November.

Melon vines are growing and the little melons are forming everywhere!

My melon plants have been setting vines out like crazy, growing over a foot each week, and producing countless flowers and fruit. There are little baby melons littering the fence line and climbing up the trellis. Besides Green beans and cucumbers, melons are some of the most exciting plants for me to grow! From watching the plant go from a little tiny seedling to a vining monster taking over the farm in just a matter of weeks; to witnessing the massive production of flowers and the development of the tiny, fuzzy little fruit through maturity. There are few things more rewarding and exciting!

As always, I look forward to sharing more adventures with you all again next week! Please feel free to email me any questions or comments that you may have (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org)! Until next week, take care and try to stay cool!