Urban Farm Updates, March 15th, 2018
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? Dark leafy greens are among the vegetables that contain high quantities of Vitamin C, most of which actually contain more Vitamin C than an Orange. Here is a rundown of the fruit and veggies that contain more Vitamin C per serving than an orange, which has 69.7mg of Vitamin C: Kale (80.4mg/cup), Strawberry (84.7mg/cup), Papaya (88.3mg/cup), Chili Peppers (107.8mg/cup), Green Bell Pepper (120mg/cup), Mango (122.3mg/cup), Cauliflower (127.7mg/cup), Broccoli (132mg/cup), Kiwi (137.2mg/cup), Red Bell Pepper (190mg/cup). Those are some pretty powerful fruit and vegetables!! Next time you get sick, try making a Green smoothie out of kale, kiwi and Mango, for a true Vitamin C boost!
What’s Growing On?
It has been a very good and productive week at the Urban Farm so far! All of my little seedlings are popping up inside the Greenhouse, so one long section of the Greenhouse benches is covered with new seed starts for the spring transplanting. My okra, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers and melon seedlings are all sprouting left and right; covering the brown benches in a multi-dimensional sea of red and green! Hannah Heacox is expected to have a Mobile Market booth set up at the last winter market, this Saturday, at the Ciclops Cyderi & Brewery in downtown Spartanburg; so the warm weather at the end of this week is a wonderful respite for the time that will be spent harvesting and prepping produce.
Last week, my Wofford students and I set about laying out all of the Water Donuts for my perennial fruit trees and staking them into the soil. These water donuts, while not necessary at this very moment (we have gotten plenty of rain to water these trees naturally), however, I am expecting it to dry up a little going forward and having these automatic watering features ready will help ensure that these trees have consistent access to water, especially during their first year, here. These watering rings can hold 15 gallons of water, and there are emitter at the bottom of the bags, which deliver a slow, controlled source of water right to the roots where the tree needs it to be. The bag also helps to reduce water evaporation and loss to the air, while reducing weed pressure immediately around the tree as well. I am confident that it was a good investment and rather hope that this style of water access will positively benefit our trees.
Luke has been sick, so it has just been Cat and myself on the farm this week, but we have been very productive and gotten quite a bit accomplished; including rolling out a few more rows of fresh plastic for the spring planting. As I mentioned last week I will be experimenting with the impact of red plastic on my tomatoes and peppers. Red plastic is supposed to help tomatoes and peppers perform better and better resist pests and diseases by increasing overall plant vigor; however, I do retain some concern over how the darker plastic will impact the temperature of the soil below it, and if I will have any root damage or plant loss due to the increased temperatures. White plastic is the coolest of all of the plastic film mulches, and maintains a lower soil and plant temperature, compared with any of the other colors. Time will tell whether or not this change will be beneficial, or not. I am hopeful that it will be beneficial; but either way this will certainly be a learning opportunity and I will be able to better recommend any changes to our local farmers based upon my experiment.
I went to a SCFMNP re-certification meeting on Tuesday morning, so now we are just awaiting approval to continue with our Seasonal WIC and Senior Voucher acceptance. This program allows WIC and Seniors who qualify to be able to spend their seasonal (June 1st through October 15th) Vouchers with us at the Mobile Market booth during the Wednesday Market and Saturday Market. This seasonal program is run through the USDA, SCDA, DHEC and DSS, in partnership with local organizations in 38 counties throughout South Carolina. The WIC and Seniors who qualify, are given the opportunity to access their local resource office (participating sites are listed in DSS’s website in May), to apply for the first come, first serve Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers. These vouchers are given out to those who qualify, until the vouchers are all used up, and those who have received them are able to go to approved farmers markets, farm stands and mobile markets, to redeem these vouchers for fresh South Carolina grown fruits and vegetables. It was very encouraging to see several of our vendors attending this training, to providing a positive outlook on this summer season! If we can even have an impact on just a handful of families, we will have made a difference; one step at a time, one partnership at a time- we will continue making a positive impact on our local community!
As always, I look forward to sharing more Urban Farm adventures with you again next week! Feel free to email me with any questions or comments that you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org). Bye!