Urban Farm Updates, March 30th, 2017

Urban Farm Updates, March 30th, 2017

Fun on the Farm!

Ok guys, so this week I have a fun one for you!!

What do we wear, brush our teeth with, and use as currency??

 

Did you guess it?

 

 

The answer is cotton!!

Many people know that cotton clothing is good to wear in the summertime, because the material allows the skin to breathe, but a lot of people don’t know that cotton seed is used to make cottonseed oil which is a key component in toothpaste! Cotton is also used to make dollar bills, and makes up 75% of the material used in each “paper” dollar. The other 25% is made of linen, which is made from flax; yet another plant!! So the next time someone says “money doesn’t grow on trees”, you can say “no, but it does grow on plants!”!!!! And now you know the rest of the story!!

What’s Growing on?

Growing bigger by the day!!

Growing bigger by the day!!

Oh my goodness, what a week!! I hope that you all have been enjoying your first full week of spring!!! Mother Nature has certainly delivered, with beautiful skies and warm temperatures!!

As you may have ready in last weeks blog, I hosted an “Open Farm Saturday” at this farm this past weekend. The farm was open to the public for anyone interested in taking a farm tour, attending our gardening class, volunteering at the farm, or just asking questions. We had a total of 5 individuals who graciously came and volunteered their time, helping me to weed between the rows, cut and tack down the last of our week barrier, and give the plants a much needed drink!

I gave several farm tours, and co-taught a class about spring garden preparation to a small group of interested backyard gardeners, with Leslie Rodgers from Atlas Organics. It was a blast, and for those of you who didn’t come out, you missed a great class and some really useful information from Leslie; who is a rockstar when it comes to providing information on composting and the role that it plays in your garden!

Cheery Spring Microgreens!

Cheery Spring Microgreens!

Fresh produce from the Urban Farm was also available for purchase up at the Mobile Market booth, at the Saturday Market. The cucumbers sold like hotcakes, and the salad greens and herbs went over really well, too; so, thank you to all who has supported us through the purchase of those items, and I hope that you have enjoyed your produce this week! I am really excited for some of the cold crops to be ready in another few weeks, with all of this warm weather giving everything and extra boost…. So far, for the month of March, I have harvested over 85lbs of produce, and we are just getting started here! Starting next week, I will be able to start harvesting some spring greens from the outside garden; up until now, everything we have been selling has come purely from the Greenhouse.

Homemade Cayenne Pepper Bug Repellent!

Homemade Cayenne Pepper Bug Repellent!

Along with my crops, however, the pests have also been crawling out of the woodwork, and starting to wreak havoc on my crops. I am spending more and more time each week, combating the cabbage moths, harlequin bugs and occasional grasshopper; while my healthy Lady Bug population chows down on the emerging aphids. This week, I created a cayenne pepper and garlic water solution to spray on my crops outside; this is an all natural bug deterrent spray, which makes the plants less desirable to pests. This method is also less likely to do any harm to pollinators, which may be negatively impacted by a dish soap solution sprayed in the garden.

I have started going on farm visits to see how our farmers are doing in preparation for the summer season at the Saturday Market. I am so excited to announce that we have some pretty amazing farmers who are all geared up to deliver some delicious, locally grown crops! Despite the rough start with weather all over the board, and some damaging storms and frosts, our farmers are working hard to bring you all fresh produce, from their family, to yours!

Vertical Garden Wall...

Vertical Garden Wall…

Vertical Garden with Lettuce Seedlings....

Vertical Garden with Lettuce Seedlings….

I added two vertical gardening units to the farm this past week, creating a vertical gardening wall as an educational piece to the farm. These units are a space saving feature, allowing us to get produce out of the unusable space along the driveway to the farm. These growing units are an easy way for people with limited space to be able to grow their own produce and utilize limited area along a balcony or patio. One of them was designed specifically for plant growth, the other one is a shoe organizer, which I repurposed for growing plants. You will likely see these new additions highlighted on any future farm tour you come on. These additional features are a part of the growth and development project I have planned for the Urban Farm in 2017, and which will have changes popping up all around the farm, throughout the rest of the year.

I am so excited about the progress being made out on the Urban Farm, and can’t wait to share all of the challenges, changes and growth I experience out there, as the year progresses! Please feel free to email me any questions, comments or feedback (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org)!