Urban Farm Updates, May 24th, 2018

Urban Farm Updates, May 24th, 2018

Fun on the Farm!

Did you know? Tomatoes, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes and Beets are high in Lycopenes. These compounds, which are responsible for most of the yellow, red and orange coloration in these vegetables, have been shown to help reduce risk of Alzheimers disease and Cancer.

What’s Growing On?

Let me first begin my blog today by offering thanks to served in the Military and gave their lives so that we can all live and enjoy freedom every day. My small thank you, and our one day of recognition observed on Monday, is by no means enough to acknowledge their service and sacrifice; and we would not be the country that we are, with the heritage that we have if it weren’t for them. I hope that amidst all of the BBQs and celebrations on Monday, that we all stop and give some thought to the reason behind the holiday and take the time to truly appreciate and celebrate those who have made our freedom possible.

Joseph Campbell- “A Hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself”.

Mary Black Foundation Outside Educational Classroom.

Another week has come and gone and we are getting closer and closer to the dog days of summer. I managed to get some sunburn on my shoulders this week, while out weeding the Hillside Garden area. Some weeds have moved into the area, and since I will be getting a delivery of incredible Atlas Organics compost tomorrow (Friday), the Hillside Garden needs to be 100% weed free, so I can add some compost and get some plants into their new home! I am so unbelievably excited to see all of the recent changes on the farm, and to think about all of the new changes that are coming! I will be out (weather pending) weed eating again, to keep the walkways and common area cleared out; it is incredible just how quickly the weeds/grass pop back up again. Earlier this week, Luke and I put together the picnic tables and set them up underneath the newly built Pergola. Just that one little addition to the area, makes the space really start to feel like an outdoor classroom and really defines the once underutilized area.

Baby grapes on a few of my new grape plants.

My Perennials are really doing well, in fact with all of the recent warm weather I have seen quite a few flowers and buds start to form. My grapes were the first of the new perennials to flower and put on fruit; now boasting little clumps of grapes, with fruit the size of my pinky nail. It has been exciting to be able to watch the grape vines develop from the dormant, bare root twigs that arrived just 3 months ago, to grape vines that are up to my waist and are hosting miniature bunches of grapes. I am sure that not all of the vines that we planted this year will develop fruit; but it will be amazing to observe their growth and development over the next several years as they grow larger and produce more and more fruit. One day soon, there will be bunches of grapes hanging down over the Pergola, and helping to provide shade to all those who gather beneath.

Pomegranate flower buds have started appearing on my Russian 26 Pomegranates.

My Pomegranates have also started to produce flower buds over the past week, with more popping up each day. Once the buds reach 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length, they will open up to reveal bright orange, trumpet style flowers. The flowers will stay open for a few days and then, will hopefully develop into small Pomegranate fruit. After pollination, the Pomegranate fruit takes 5 to 7 months to ripen, which is why it is most widely available over the fall and winter months. Mature Pomegranate trees will continue to flower and produce fruit throughout much of the summer. My trees are still small and were freshly transplanted this spring, so they will most likely yield only a few fruit over the course of their first year.

Hoping the Persimmon fruit got pollinated successfully.

One of my Persimmon trees has also produced flowers (over 50 of them), and they have all faded in recent days. Time will tell if their pollination was successful, and if the tree will keep the fruit or drop it. Fruit drop is common in very young fruit trees, as they don’t have the energy stored in their roots to maintain the development of an entire fruit crop. Fruit drop will steadily decrease as the tree ages and becomes a mature fruit tree.

As always, I look forward to sharing more adventures of the Urban Farm with you next week! Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org). I hope that you all have a most wonderful Memorial Day weekend!