Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? While there are over 50,000 species of edible plants in the world, and over 7,000 species actively cultivated by humans, a mere 103 species make up 90% of the global human diet!! 3 species, Rice, Maize (corn) and Wheat provide an average of 48% of the human caloric intake each year. That is a lot of starch!!
What’s Growing On?
This has been one busy week! I have been changing over some of my outside rows from winter crops to summer crops; and harvesting more produce for our Farm Bag this past Tuesday. This week the Urban Farm provided Kohlrabi, Onions, Kale and Lettuce to the farm bags. I have already gotten some tomato, okra, honey dew and summer squash seedlings in the ground; and I will start transplanting my remaining peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers over the next week or two. It is so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it is the middle of May already! This year is truly flying by!
My summer squash seedlings that were transplanted a few weeks back have really taken off and are already covered in baby fruits. The plants have shot up seemingly overnight, going from little seedlings, so nearly full sized plants in a matter of just a few days! This warm weather seems to have inspired them, and they are reaching for the sky, in an attempt at greatness!
I was able to harvest the first lettuce from my seedlings in the vertical PVC towers, and they have been doing really well! I am so excited to see how well the towers are working, and can’t wait to be able to use them as a demonstration in a gardening class this summer!
I have 2 volunteer groups that are coming to help out on the farm this Saturday, so I have been using the past several days to prepare for them. On Wednesday, I had some invaluable help from one of our Board Members (Thanks, Ben Montgomery!), as we marked and cut up lumber for the raised beds we will be building this weekend. This Saturday, the volunteers will be helping me to build these new raised beds, and fill them with a vermiculite and compost mix.
The last volunteer group I had on the farm, were the generous folks from Spartanburg Water, who helped me to weed, mulch all of the walkways, build and set up the PVC vertical towers as well as build and fill the long linear beds in front of the farm. Those hard working folks have left a permanent mark on the Urban Farm, for which I will always be grateful; and as a memorial to all of that hard work, their initials are now carved on one of the 4 posts of the Arbor! Future volunteer groups will also have the opportunity to leave their initials on the posts, if they feel so inclined! I think that it is important for people who come and share their time and energy with the farm, to be able to leave a permanent legacy, by which others can be inspired.
Work has finally started on Phase 1 of the Butterfly Creek Project, with the clearing of trees and debris back behind the farm. The future pathway of the creek is visible now from the back corner of the farm; leaving a scarred swath of land as far as the eye can see. After they have cleared the whole creek site, all the way past the farm and down to the old mill stack, ending at VCOM’s doorstep, they will being the Phase 2 of the project; opening up the old culverted creek and developing the new creek bed. This new creek bed will be complete with riffles and pools, and will open up into a redesign of the original floodplain on either side. When the project is completed, there will be walking trails and the whole system will be transformed into an experiential park system right in downtown Spartanburg. Overall we are excited that the project will be completed this fall, but it will greatly impact both the farm and Saturday Market, through means of noise and dust, and it will directly impact the farm through the dissolution of one section of the farm. Part of the farm will be transformed into the floodplain portion of the Butterfly Creek Park and Trail System, so we are losing a total of 6 outside beds as well as our composting station. The City has also proposed the farm for their placement of an outdoors educational pavilion, which would further take away space from the already small Urban Farm site, and promote even more challenges as well. We have been in several cooperative partnership meetings with City employees, and we hope to find a workable, alternative site for the educational pavilion, outside of the farm property.
I am excited to be able to share all of the changes and progress on the farm, with you! I expect that there will be a lot of new updates and information to pass along in next week’s blog! Thank you for reading and demonstrating such an interest in the Urban Farm! Please feel free to email me with any questions, concerns or comments (firstname.lastname@example.org)!!
Have a most wonderful week!!