Urban Farm Updates, November 2nd, 2017

Fun on the Farm!

Did you know? Given the current production rate on the Urban Farm produces enough food to provide all vegetables necessary to feed 5 people for an entire year.

What’s Growing On?

Another Thursday, another blog! Happy almost-weekend, everyone! How was your Halloween? I was able to get in touch with some of my family in New England and after all of the insanity that was Mother Nature on Monday and Tuesday, several towns actually cancelled trick-or-treating because it was too dangerous to walk around after dark; there were a lot of trees down, brush debris everywhere and live wires down across roads and sidewalks all over the place!

Cat Strickland as a Halloween Bear!

It has been a productive and busy week on the Urban Farm this week! Cat Strickland, our second Wofford Work Study student started on the farm this past week and we are excited to welcome her to the team! Cat brings with her some tropical farming experience, and a lot of excited energy for agriculture and food access! She even brought her Halloween enthusiasm with her on Tuesday, dressed as a friendly bear, when she came to help out on the farm! I’d like to invite you all now, to mark your calendars for the next Open Farm Day, on November 18th! We’d like to invite you all to come down to the Urban Farm; you are invited to ask questions, take a farm tour, volunteer if you want, take the fall Gardening Class,  or just get to know Cat and Luke and meet the whole Urban Farm team!

Large totes for adult plants in Greenhouse.

I am so grateful for the extra help that Luke and Cat bring to the table and for all of their energy and enthusiasm! We have already been able to accomplish quite a bit in their first several weeks on the farm, and I can’t wait to see what ways they are going to leave their mark on the farm! This past week we worked on dismantling the old hydroponics table and clearing it out to make way for larger totes in the Greenhouse. The old Hydroponics table, which had been Jerry rigged with spare parts, leaked so much it wouldn’t retain water pressure and kept experiencing pump failures. After experiencing multiple crop failures due to pump failures, I made the decision to remove the old system and replace with other features that would increase our function and efficiency within the Greenhouse. I have exchanged the old, original hydroponics unit with large totes where we can grow adult plants for winter harvest; and in the spring time our intention is to replace the original Hydroponics table with a smaller version that will demonstrate the concept, and won’t cause crop failures due to poorly fitting parts and pump strain.

Flats and Herbs in the Greenhouse.

Having one side of the Greenhouse devoted to adult plants (that are harvested in the Greenhouse over the winter) allows us to fully extend our season and product availability. With the benches of the Greenhouse primarily designed for seed trays and transplants, we needed to determine the best use of the remaining space in the Greenhouse, and how we could get the most out of the space. In addition to growing what herbs we can in large pots on the benches, we also make use of large tote bins and potting bins for plants like peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers; these bins can be used all year long inside the Greenhouse, or they can be moved outside and a shady area during the summer for less heat tolerant plants.

Mexican Sour Gherkin

My cucumber corner is doing really well! I was able to harvest the very first couple of cucumbers last week, and I am still waiting on my Mexican Sour Gherkins to come in! They take a little bit longer to mature than traditional cucumbers, despite the fact that they are considerably smaller than most cucumber varieties. I am excited to see how well they do and also to share them with our Spartanburg community. The first few Mexican Sour Gherkins are starting to take on their mature coloration, so I am hoping that within the next several weeks, we will have some ready to harvest! Mexican Sour Gherkins, when ready to harvest, take after their namesake, watermelons; hence their nickname, the “Cucamelon”.

Cucumber corner is looking good!

The first bridge for the Butterfly Creek project is being installed as I type this, and it is pretty incredible to finally get to see this process wind down; at least, for the section adjacent to the farm. Between the Butterfly creek project and the Duke Energy construction, there has certainly been a lot of activity going on around the farm these days! I will try to get a photo of the whole bridge installation process today, so I can include that in next week’s blog, for those who are interested…

I think that that sums up all of my updates for this week, but I am sure I will have plenty of new updates for you again next week! Also, remember to email me if you have any questions or comments (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org)! I look forward to sharing more adventures with you again next week! Adios for now!

Posted in Urban Farm