Urban Farm Updates, November 9th, 2017

Urban Farm Updates, November 9th, 2017

Fun on the Farm!

Did you know? For every $1 spent on the food in the grocery store, the majority of farmers see less than $0.12 for their raw product.  Middlemen, marketing, transportation costs and processing facilities pocket the remaining $0.88.

What’s Growing on?

Happy Veteran’s day to all of the men, women and K9s who have served our nation! Thank you for your service!

On that note, this has been one busy week, it feels like just yesterday was Friday and yet another week has gone by already! As I stated in last weeks blog, I got to watch the Butterfly Creek walking bridge being installed last week, prior to the unveiling ceremony at Harvest Park. It was pretty incredible to witness the installation of the bridge; being driven into the project staging area in 3 pieces, welded together and then moved into place by a massive crane! Despite all of the less than pleasant weather we’ve been having over the past several days, the crew working on the bridge project has been making progress, installing and securing all of the ribbing and flooring to finish the bridge.

USC Upstate volunteers

On Friday, I hosted a crew of Business majors from USC Upstate, who selected the Urban Farm as the site for their University required service hours. The crew of volunteers helped me to pull down all of my Okra plants which have stopped producing for the year, as well as clean up the back portion of the farm. After hearing a little bit about or organization and learning a little bit more about local food access throughout Spartanburg, the team helped by removing all of my okra plants and helping me to break them down for easier composting. Then they helped me to pull all of the weeds at the rear of the farm and build up an area which will become the perennial berm in just a little while.

Perennial berm has been prepped.

After we removed all of the weeds from around the raised bed, we loosened up the soil, applied some compost material from my Urban Farm compost tumblers, added some fresh plant material which will compost down throughout the winter, we added some fresh compost from Atlas Organics and then applied a thick plastic cover to the row. The plastic will help to retain the warmth of the soil as it prevents weeds and continues to assist in the break down the fresh plant material. Creating the modified lasagna garden, which will combine and compost down over the winter, will create an ideal home for new plants in the early spring time. My plans are to expand the width of the small raised bed at the back of the farm, and plant fruiting trees there in the spring time. The grafted trees will be a fun and much needed addition to the Urban Farm, incorporating a small scale orchard with dwarf fruiting trees that will provide more fruit and produce for the Mobile Market.

New Greenhouse Sprinkler head

On Tuesday, Cat, Luke and myself spent some time starting the prep work for the automatic watering system in the Greenhouse. We will be starting the installation and finalization process this afternoon. My hope is to have the automatic watering system up and running by the middle of next week. Having the Greenhouse watering system set up on an automatic timed sequence will prevent plant death and stress due to reduced water over the weekend, as well as allow for staff conferences and other absences. So far, the system is all working out according to plan, all that is left is to install and test out the new system! Fingers crossed that everything will work like it is supposed to and that our testing phase will be successful!

Lettuce seedlings

My lettuce seedlings outside are doing well and have already produced 15lbs of lettuce this fall! I am excited to be able to start packaging some of my lettuce as a salad mix when my lettuce, arugula and spinach are all producing at the same time. So far, my arugula seedlings are doing well, and my spinach just started to go through their fall growth spurt as well!

Herbs in the Greenhouse

Inside the Greenhouse all is snug and warm, with the much needed Greenhouse heater working like a charm! It has been a really incredible getaway over the last several days, to be able to duck in, out of the cold and work in the Greenhouse for a little while to get warmed up! On the opposite side of the Greenhouse from the Cucumbers and peppers, my fall herbs are doing well and I hope to start harvesting them for production, in time for the Christmas holidays!

Don’t forget, we also have our last and final Open Farm Saturday for the 2017 calendar year, coming up on Saturday, November 18th. The Urban Farm will be open to the public for farm tours, to meet our staff (including our two new Wofford Work Study students), ask gardening questions that have been on your mind, volunteer, or attend the monthly gardening class (the class is $5.00 per person). Please send me an email to let me know if you plan on attending, or if you would like more information about this month’s topic (mwhiteley@hubcityfm.org). Thanks so much and I look forward to seeing you there!