links Community Nutrition Education Services
Community Nutrition Education Services Inc.
“Small Family Farm Project”
Installment #17

April, May and June, 2017

Food Pantry Donations, the Continuing “Deer Saga”, Honeybees Swarm, and Backyard Poultry Project

The weather was very positive because of plenty of rain and warmth to grow beautiful plants during the past quarter. There was enough rain so that watering the plants was not usually necessary. The ground was dry enough to chop the weeds growing among the beautiful plants.

Flat leaf parsley among roses
Romaine Lettuce

Among the “cool-season vegetables” planted during the past quarter, the most successful crops were: Romaine lettuce, kale, cucumbers, green beans, and okra. These crops were successful enough to donate a total of 96 pounds of produce to a local food pantry during May-June. This was a good outlet for produce as schools were closed for the summer beginning in late May.

The location for planting vegetables and fruits is determined by the possibility of whether the deer will eat the developing leaves. Those that deer tend to eat are placed inside of fenced area. Based upon the past couple of years of practical experience, the foods that deer would not eat included cucumbers, okra, pepper (sweet and hot), and cantaloupe. The surprising news is that the deer did eat the leaves of the okra, cucumbers, peppers, and cantaloupe plants which were all planted outside of the fenced area. The okra and cucumbers are still bearing fruit even with the leaf damages. We are still awaiting progress on the peppers and cantaloupe. These are blooming and should be available for harvest in July. Fences have been completed. The deer roam around but have not learned to jump the fence yet!

Fencing out the deer

The first set of honeybees “swarmed” in late May. Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. An additional hive had been purchased in late April, so there is still one hive of honeybees working to pollinate the plants.

Even though the” Backyard Poultry” course has been completed, we are still evaluating the potential problems of actually raising chickens. The major concern is the potential attraction for snakes and small animals including rodents.