links Community Nutrition Education Services
 
Community Nutrition Education Services Inc.
“Small Family Farm Project”
Installment #5

April, May, June 2014

Weather dominated the season, 1st year success stories, challenges faced as we begin the 2nd year of project

Weather again dominated the news for the months of April thru June. There was a devastating tornado in Central Arkansas causing major destruction and loss of life. The “Farm” is located about 25 miles away from that area so we suffered no tornado related damages.  Nevertheless, it was a beautiful early and late spring season. Please see photo gallery for scenes of springtime. Early and Late Spring

Our major challenge was dealing with the weather primarily rain that sometimes went on for 4-5 days at a time. What that meant for the developing farm was rapid weed growth with only limited time to get these under control before the next rain. The local folks say that this is an unusual weather pattern for the area.
 
The success stories included trees that survived the weather as well as the deer that also live in the wooded area. We were finally able to get photos of the deer .There is a family of 5 that roam the property. They are captured in the photos below. We had  learned to “deer-proof” the plants and trees  during the first year by adding fencing and  foil pans(shiny) tied to trees with plastic bags(noisy in wind) that kept them away from eating the tender leaves of plants and trees. 


Deer


Deer


Trees

The Pecan tree “tops” did not survive the winter (see photo Gallery for “Icy Winter”) but the leaves on the bottom of the trees survived and are now thriving. The surviving Willow tree seemed to be growing well with the “deer proofing” in place. There is a picture of the Willow tree planted next to the fish pond which is also doing well. The fish jump to the surface when catfish food is added to the pond so we know that they are alive.


Pecan Tree

Pecan Tree



Pond and Willow Tree

Pond and Willow Tree



Willow Tree

Willow Tree


Flowers

Roses (red, white, yellow and pink) are thriving. These do not seem to bloom all at the same time so there are separate photos of each. Tulips and Daffodils were planted last Fall in the same bed. These blossomed at different times.  Hyacinths were planted and were in bloom; we just failed to take photos probably because so much else was going on at the time.

Pink Roses
Pink Roses
White Roses
White Roses
Yellow Roses
Yellow Roses
Tulips and Daffodils
Tulips and Daffodils


The planting in the newly plowed ground (See Installment #4) was basically an experiment to see what would survive as a well as a way of determining what crops to focus on in the future. The start of the planting season (no frost date) was early April which coincided with the rainy days that limited preparation of the soil (tilling) after the major plowing in March 2014. A new storage shed was added to hold more tools especially a lawn mower to help keep the weeds under control. The lawn mower was used to make walking paths so we could see and avoid wild life including snakes and armadillos that roam the property. There is now equipment available to do our own cutting of the native tall grasses and brush but rainy weather still makes the ground too wet for use of the heavy equipment.

Storage
Storage

Fruit Producers

All new fruit trees, grapevines, and fruiting plants were planted. The trees that were planted 4-5 years earlier have all died. The last standing peach tree was blown down during a May 2014 wind and rain storm. The pictures of the “deer proofed” trees and vines are pictured below. The trees (not all are shown) include 2-peach, 2-apple and 2- pear trees. There are “green” and “red” grape vines. The strawberries were planted in “raised beds”. The kit for the raised bed was rather easy to build. The surprise was the 800 pounds of soil needed to fill the beds. The watermelon planted in the existing 1 year old garden seem to be off to a good start.

Fruit Trees
Fruit Trees

Grapevine
Grapevine

Strawberry
Strawberry Plants

Watermelon Vine
Watermelon Vine


Herbs planted included Ginger root purchased at local plant sale, Mint (peppermint and chocolate) planted in recycled tires and 6 other culinary herbs. These including Dill, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Oregano and Rosemary (all seeds) were planted in containers. The first planting of the culinary herbs did not survive. The second planting was replaced with seeds except for the Oregano (plant) which was not available in the seed form at the time. The close-up is of Thyme which seems to be thriving the best of the culinary herb seeds at this time.

Herbs

Mint
Mint

Herbs in pots
Herbs in pots

Thyme
Thyme

Ginger
Ginger

Vegetables

Vegetables planted included white potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, purple hull peas, carrots, tomatoes, mustard greens, radishes and onions. Those that are thriving the best are purple hull peas, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.  The corn, white potatoes, and onions are still alive at this time. An interesting point about the white potatoes is that these were growing very well until the insects began to eat the leaves. Another farmer’s   recommendation was to plant the potatoes near another plant as eggplant which the bugs prefer to potatoes or utilize pesticides. We have not used pesticides as of yet but it is a common practice in the area.  The non survivors included mustard greens, radishes, and carrots. The carrots were replanted in late June.

Corn
Corn

Onion
Onion

Potato
Potato

Purple Hull Peas
Purple Hull Peas

Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato

Tomatoes
Tomatoes


Plants to attract butterflies, bees and beneficial insects included Parsley, Zinnias, Marigolds, Butterfly Weed and Pow- Pow Berry (all seeds) did not survive.

All of the trees and produce except for the tomatoes, watermelon, carrots, and Ginger were planted in the newly plowed areas of the farm. Just as a challenge, the majority of the plants were from seeds. The experiment has at least helped us to identify a focus for planting crops next Spring.