Urban Farm Updates, November 16th 2017
Fun on the Farm!
Did you know? In 1954, the number of tractors per farm surpassed the number of working horses and mules per farm, for the first time in history.
What’s Growing On?
What a productive and fulfilling week it has been so far, on the Urban Farm! On Wednesday afternoon, an introductory environmental science class came and took a tour of the Urban Farm, as a part of their Sustainable Spartanburg program.
On Monday, Cat and Luke, our Wofford Work Study program students, helped me to install and test the automatic irrigation system in the Greenhouse. Last week they had the challenge of figuring out how many overhead hoses were needed, how many irrigation sprinkler heads were required and how far apart they needed to be to effectively and efficiently water all of the plants in the Greenhouse. After giving them the challenge to develop a plan for where and how to install the irrigation system, we prepared all of the hanging brackets to ensure that none of the irrigation spray was going to be impacting our Greenhouse heater, and installed all of the infrastructure for the irrigation system; and, after a few quirks initially, we successfully got the irrigation system up and running after two successful test cycles! It was an interesting process to go through with my students, but as an essential component to large scale farming, the development and installation of this irrigation system was a perfect educational opportunity for them!
Luke also helped me on Tuesday to transplant my remaining flats of cabbage and lettuce seedlings outside into the ground; which also included the task of planting the last PVC tower with seedlings. I love watching my seedlings grow, especially my Red Fire Leaf Lettuce! Red Fire is a wonderfully flavored, long lasting, slow bolt lettuce variety and becomes darker and darker red the older it gets. The first leaves pop up completely green, and the first hints of red start to appear after roughly 2-3 weeks, and the leaves become steadily more and more red as the plant grows. Additionally, over the next several weeks, we will be putting onion sets and snap pea seeds in the ground, in hopes of getting 2018 off to a good start! My winter Kohlrabi is starting to bulb up nicely, and my kale seedlings have shot up with the last sequence of rain that we had!
Inside the Greenhouse, I have 30 day old beefsteak tomato plants that are reaching towards the sky after being transplanted into larger grow pots. It is amazing how quickly a plant will grow if you give them high quality composted material and regular intervals of water! I am very excited to see the tomatoes start to blossom and bear fruit, although I am not expecting any harvest-able tomatoes until January or February.
On the other side of the Greenhouse, my flats of microgreens are visibly growing by the day. It is incredible to witness the transition that a flat of microgreens goes through in just 7 days time. You plant your seed in the flat and for the next 48 hours all you see is a flat of dirt, but then something magical happens and the next day, when you come in and take a peek, the flat is completely taken over by these tiny individual plants making their appearance! Then each day for the next 4-5 days, the plants continue to grow and spread their little leaves until they are ready for harvest! It never gets old, no matter how many times I have gotten the opportunity to bear witness to one of nature’s frequent miracles!
Also, don’t forget about our ‘Open Farm Saturday’ this weekend, at the Urban Farm. The farm is located right across the parking lot from Harvest Park, and directly adjacent to the Butterfly Creek Project site. The Urban Farm will be open to the public from 8:30am to noon time, for farm tours, question and answer sessions, volunteering, and for a Winter Gardening class from 10-11am. The Gardening class costs $5.00 to attend, but general visits to the Urban Farm are free of charge! For any volunteers who are interested, we welcome you to come down this Saturday and help us as we delve into our fall clean up, as well as participating in a fall harvest. Remember, this is our last ‘Open Farm Saturday’ for 2017, so any immediate gardening questions that you might have, feel free to come on down and ask away! Now is a perfect time to start planning for your 2018 garden! For any questions, or anyone interested in attending the gardening class just send me an email and let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org)! I look forward to hearing from you!