Category Archives: What’s Happening

9/13 All Farm Things

With the first day of fall just around the corner, fields are getting prepped for a new fall planting! Hurricane Irma sent some additional rain our way (but fortunately not much else), so everyone is drying out and moving on with production. Look forward to lettuces, brassicas, fennel, carrots, radishes, turnips, rutabaga– and so much more! collards tomatoes.jpgPictured are collards and tomatoes hardening off outside of the greenhouse before planting (to avoid transplant shock). 

It may be too early to bring out your sweaters! We had a week of cooler temps, but it seems like the 80’s are coming back (gratefully, sans sweatbands and leotards). So while you may not want to pack away your shorts and T’s yet, the appearance of pumpkins in this weeks CSA remind us that it will soon be time to get ready for costumes, candy, and delicious new recipes. But for now, continue exploring trying new things with peppers and eggplant! Or slice ’em and roast ’em again and again. Simple can be sweet.

pumpkinsPumpkins present in this weeks CSA

Indoors, in the Sustainable Ag classroom, students continued learning about the principles of propagating by cuttings– considering such things as the time of year it is, the health of the plant, and the ideal growth stage.

In the selected topics course, class has been reviewing all things trees– from IDing, to creating agroecosystems, to learning the importance of urban forestry. Guest speakers Tony Mayer, Ben Bergmann, and Barbara Fair shared their expertise and love of trees. There is now less mystery about what is an odd bipinnately compound leaf structure– another Jeopardy question solved. (post by Laura Maule)

leaf-structuresImage from here: http://www.tuninst.net/MP-TAXON/criteria/criteria.htm

Post By Laura Maule

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Boxes are ready for pickup

We begin the 3rd season with remnants of summer, place holding for the anticipated Fall Brassica bunches. The boxes include 14 items, all for your enjoyment and well being.

Please note: Yellow Cipollini (Chip-oh-lee-nee), meaning “little onions” are not great storage onions and will not keep for long. Johnny’s Selected Seeds recommends roasting these tiny treasures whole, in butter or oil.

Here is a list of the CSA produce:

Bananas

Holy Basil

Beets

Carrots

Eggplant

German Stiffneck Garlic

Hungarian wax peppers

Jalapeños

Okra

Parsley (flat leaf or curly)

Potatoes (huckleberry)

Red chilies

Sweet peppers

Yellow Cipollini Onions

Look what is coming this Fall to CCCC Sustainable Farming!

Non-credit options for courses that can help increase your skills and understanding of topics integral to a successful farming business.

Call 919-545-8044 or 919-718-7500 to register or register online at http://www.cccc.edu/ecd/find-classes/

Look under “Agriculture and Natural Resources” for:

Tractors and Farm Machinery C-3160

Practical, hands-on course focused on farm machinery and agricultural equipment. Topics include selection and operation of tractors & implements, fencing, hand-tools and irrigation systems appropriate for a small-scale diversified farm. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the basic principles of equipment operation and management. Andrew McMahan, Thursday, 8/17/17 to 12/13/17, 9am-12:40. $175.55

Organic Crop Production C-3161

This course will present the fundamentals of organic vegetable growing and offer hands-on training in the most important skills involved. Grow, harvest, and utilize a variety of vegetables organically, learn about irrigation installation and season extension structures. Focus is on Fall crops, for planting and for harvest. Cheryl McNeill, Monday, 8/21/17 to 12/11/17, 9am-12:40. $175.55

From Seed to Plant C-3162

Practical, hands-on course focused on the techniques and environment for successful plant propagation. Emphasis is placed on seed propagation and other propagation techniques including: grafting, stem and root propagation, micro-propagation. Upon completion, students should be able to successfully propagate useful plants for farm and orchard. Robin Kohanowich, Tuesday, 8/22/17 to 12/12/17, 8:30am to 12:20. $175.55

To Register call 919-545-8044 or 919-718-7500. Space is limited, call soon!

Tomatoes Galore

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We are in the middle of North Carolina tomato season. Look for Cherokee Purple and Cherokee Green tomatoes for a variation on the more common red tomatoes. 

The CSA box this week has:

Rattlesnake Pole beans

Sweet peppers

Shishitos

Jalapeños 

Cucumbers 

Garlic 

Beets

Carrots 

Potatoes 

Sweet corn

Parsley 

Italian Basil

Don’t forget to take a purple cabbage and some cherry and sliced tomatoes.

 

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Shaquannah and Jaime clean sweet corn in the Pack Shed.

 

 

Yes, Your (Purple) Majesty

Look for Purple Majesty potatoes in the CSA boxes this week. These antioxidant-rich potatoes are purple on the inside and out.

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Please note that the garlic has already been divided into cloves this week. It has been cured, but the rainy weather has negatively impacted the durability of the garlic requiring that it been broken up to salvage.

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This week’s box includes:

Cucumbers

Summer squash

Rattlesnake Pole Beans

Shishito peppers

Winter squash

Chard

Jalapenos

Summer greens (Purslane, Dandelion, and Nasturtiums)

Copenhagen or Capture cabbage

Ichilleum Red garlic

Carrots

Beets

Purple Majesty potatoes

Purplette onions

Kohlrabi

Parsley

Cilantro

Basil

Mint

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Crazy about carrots…

Our first spring carrot harvest has arrived. The strawberries are ripe and delicious again this week, and a massive kohlrabi awaits our CSA patrons.

 

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This week you will find the following items in the CSA box:

Broccoli

Beets

Carrots

Kohlrabi (Don’t forget to grab one)

Chard

Collards

Kale

Bulb Fennel

Napa cabbage

Strawberries (Don’t forget to get a quart)

Garlic Scapes

Cilantro

Dill

Parsley

Basil!

 

 

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Winter strikes back!

It was a cold week on the farm folks!  With spring only a few days away it seems that winter has decided to pay us one more visit.  We had several nights well below freezing this past week including Wednesday nights where many farms in our area experienced lows in the low twenties and even the upper teens.  So what you ask?

Well this is a particularly sensitive part of the spring season for many farmers in our area.  Right now many farmers are planting tender transplants in the field.  These plants are carefully time to take advantage of the first soil temperatures of the season warm enough to accommodate growth at something approaching a normal rate.  So, as you can imagine a sudden cold snap can slow things down quite a bit.  More than that, a farmer that’s caught unaware of an upcoming cold snap can lose a significant portion of his spring crop.

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Young, direct seeded brassicas

Now, I suspect that the more astute among you may be saying to yourselves, ‘hey, anything planted this early in the season has to be cold hardy right?’  That’s true enough, but as with many farmers in the area we grow our transplants in a greenhouse that’s nice and cozy.  We also, like other farmers, gradually acclimate our transplants to outside conditions through a process called hardening off.  This involves exposing our transplants to more and more outdoor conditions in a mini greenhouse-like structure called a cold frame over a period of several days or a week.  Once our tender little plants have toughened up a little bit we’ll put them out into the field.  No problem right?  Not so fast.

In a situation like we had this past week our tender little transplants were hardened off and planted in fairly mild conditions.  They aren’t used .  Then we had a streak of nights below freezing before our transplants had really established them
selves in the field.  They’re sitting ducks, and it’s too late to bring them back into our greenhouse to keep them safe!  So what do we do?  We do the same thing for our plants that you do for yourself on a cold night.  We tuck them in under a blanket!  This blanket is called a frost cloth, row cover, or by a trade name ‘reemay.’

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Row cover on our spring crops

This cloth is not all that impressive compared to what keeps us warm at night, but it serves the same purpose just as effectively.  However, unlike our blankets, which trap the warmth generated by our bodies to keep us warm, row cover is designed to trap the heat absorbed by the soil during day as it is released overnight.  This little amount of heat is enough to keep plants from freezing on a cold night.

So, if you come out to the student farm, or drive past another farm and see fiel
ds covered in huge sheets of white cloth just know that these proactive farmers are protecting their plants from the cold.  Soon enough these wise and well prepared farmers will be bringing a delicious bounty of early spring greens and vegetables to market for you to enjoy.  Hopefully, like our row covers, the thought of good food and spring weather coming soon will keep you warm through these cold nights!

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Coming soon to a table near you!