Urban Farm Updates, June 22nd, 2017
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? Urban Farms are sprouting up all over the world providing people, living and working in cities, with access to fresh local produce all year round. Urban Farms are currently producing enough fresh fruits and vegetables to support 15 to 20% of the world’s food, each year; and some 800 million people are involved in community gardens, city gardens and rooftop gardens worldwide!
What’s Growing On?
Big news on the Urban Farm front, this week! After a meeting with the individual responsible for the Butterfly Creek Project, I learned that they are not going to need to impact as much property from the farm as we had originally been told. They worked very hard to minimize the impacts to the the Urban Farm property, and after all is said and done, we will only be losing 6 garden beds, instead of the 6 we had originally been informed about. This is exciting news, because this means that we will end up with another ~300 square feet of raised beds that I had not originally planned on, as well as the potential for a hillside garden, in the back corner of the farm.
I have also been working hard this week to start reclaiming a portion of the back side of the farm, which previously contained a gravel berm. After clearing all of the weeds out from the berm area, I will be mixing in compost material, and creating a lasagna layer with newspapers, organic compost, green plant material and a finely ground mulch mix. I will top it all off with a double layer of plastic and then let it sit to decompose until the spring time, when I am planning on planting some perennials there. I am excited to be able to use the space for production and education because it will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the farm, and will reduce the amount of space that needs to be weed-wacked (I know, you all called it “weed eating” down here!) on a regular basis.
I am really getting hopeful that the storms will pass soon and that we will get some decent weather and some sun for a change. There are mushrooms everywhere, popping up on the farm, because it has been so wet for so long. I have been having a hard time getting my transplants to take, outside, because it is just so wet. The only thing I can say is, hats off to The Farmers Almanac, because they were right that this year was supposed to be a wet one for the southeast. I can’t imagine how they can be so accurate, so far in advance; right down to the daily weather.
On a positive note, one of my little Artichoke plants has produced a blossom already! This is the first little Artichoke of the year! I don’t anticipate that we will really get any more until next year, and by then I hope to have quite a few more plants in my large Artichoke bed!
I spent some time on Wednesday cleaning up one of my winter onion beds, clearing away the weeds and preparing it for replanting. I have removed most of the weeds, except for the few that were right around the fire ant mounds that I disturbed (I’ll go back for those later)…. I will lay down and incorporate a little bit more compost to freshen up the soil and add more nutrients, and then I will add a fresh layer of plastic to the row. You can see in the photo, the trail of weeds that I pulled, lining up along each side of the bed… Applying the plastic to most of my rows, has made a drastic difference in the amount of weeding, and how difficult it is to pull up the weeds. The weeds around the beds with plastic, come up so much easier and faster, and the plastic has worked wonders in ensuring that the row transitions from one crop to another is smooth and as effortless as farming ever is.
My summer marigolds are doing their job around the farm, providing a nice pop of color in a drab world of rain, as well as preventing pests, and providing a welcoming environment for pollinators and beneficial insects. Some of the drawbacks to all of this wet weather, in addition to the problems with the produce and plants rotting, are the additional challenges that myself and other volunteers face. Anyone working out on the farm this spring, can attest to how humid and buggy it is this year. Last year, the temperature was higher on average, but the actual feel of the farm wasn’t quite as bad because it wasn’t as humid last year. Additionally, I went the entirety of last summer without using any bug spray at the farm; this year I have to spray up as soon as I arrive in the morning and then again at multiple points throughout the day. I will certainly not miss it once mosquito season is over!!
This past Saturday was the most recent Open Farm day at the Urban Farm, where we hosted Palmetto Vermiculite as a farm sponsor. Jacob and Hunter had a tent popped up out in front of the farm, to let people know about their product and provide them with Vermiculite demonstrations. Even with them out front welcoming everyone to the Saturday Market and engaging with the public, we didn’t have very many people from the public coming over to ask questions about their organization or check out the Urban Farm. Unfortunately, the whole day, we only had 3 visitors to the Urban Farm, so next Open Farm Saturday (July 15th), come on down and help to make it a better turn out!! I will be on site to answer any questions that you might have and be an gardening resource for you!
As always, thanks for checking out the blog, I look forward to sharing more adventures on the farm, with you next week! Feel free to email me if you have any questions, comments or concerns (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Thanks so much!