November was busier than we expected! As the growing season slows down, the Sprouting Farms team is still hard at work finishing up our winter construction. Our office space is coming along and the team is super excited to have a cozy office space right here in the barn! We also ordered some new logoed t-shirts and jackets for the farm crew, and we can’t wait to sport our new shirts around town!
Sprouting Farms’ Potato Harvest Volunteer Day was a great way for community members to come out and see the farm, while helping to dig out Yukon Gold potatoes from our potato field. We lucked out with nice sunny weather on what was an otherwise grey and rainy week and weekend. It was a great family event with parents and their children working together to dig potatoes. The kids loved the event (who doesn’t like digging for surprises in rich soil?) and we loved having them and their parents on the farm with us. Everyone was encouraged to take potatoes home with them for their time and help.
Our November potluck had the educational theme of “Winterizing your Soil”, what you need to know about setting up your soil to have a healthy and productive winter. Alex, our Farm Manager, talked about cover crops and fertilizers that can help build up soil nutrients over the winter when the ground is resting. He talked about how the farm uses clover, buckwheat, peas, and oats for cover crops that add nutrients to soil when the soil is laid to rest for the winter and empty of production. These crops feed the soil over the winter so that it will be healthy and productive come spring time, when we will start to plant in it again
Hey folks, it’s been awhile since we’ve posted and it’s time to let you all know what we have been up to! We’ve been busy building and reclaiming the abandoned high tunnels on the farm. High tunnels are unheated greenhouses that can help farmers extend their growing season. Scott and Brad, our construction team, have been building the tunnels, while Taylor and Hane, our farm crew, are filling the tunnels with mushroom compost and minerals, and planting the rows with fall and winter produce. We hope you are excited as we are about the revitalization of the land whether you’ve seen it on your drive past, or if you’ve gotten to come visit us this past year!
Here are a few highlights from the past month here at Sprouting Farms:
This October we hosted a pest management class for our former apprentices and community members here at the farm. The class was taught by Brad Cochran from West Virginia State University Extension Service. He encourages farmers to use simple, but sometimes forgotten, observation skills to identify pests and diseases before they become a problem. (Fun fact: It all starts with the soil!)
We also hosted our monthly potluck in October with the educational theme of “Seed Saving and Seed Farming”. This discussion was led by Monica Williams and was our biggest potluck turn out to date. We had 30 people come out to the farm and enjoy the evening breeze with us. Everyone that came brought delicious dishes and we ate together as we chatted about food and farming.
Our team had a joyful time at Taste of Our Town (TOOT) in Lewisburg, WV. Taylor, Beth, Amanda, and Brad got to chat with community members and visitors to the area about project goals and how to get involved.
We had several things to offer; high tunnels and land we have for rent, potential field trips for area elementary schools, and we had worms and compost piles for the children to play with at the booth. We also asked community members to tell us about what they would like to learn at classes and workshops Sprouting Farms will be offering next year. We are inspired by the response and support for the farm’s goals and mission!
Our apprenticeship application period opened this month. The apprenticeship begins March 1st and runs through October 31st. We are so excited to have new students on the farm! For more information about the apprenticeship check out the following link:
We hosted our first Elementary School visit to the farm. Talcott Elementary’s first through fifth grade students came to the farm with their teachers. They took a tour of the farm, learned about farming and food production, and planted some of their own seeds. The students’ lettuce seeds will grow in our greenhouse for what looks like another two weeks. The cold weather and fewer sunlight hours in December and January slow their growth. Soon we will transplant the lettuce to a high tunnel to finish their growing in the ground. When harvest day arrives the lettuce will be donated to Talcott Elementary School and at lunch time the kids will be able to eat food that they planted themselves.
Wednesday, October 18, 4:30pm
October potluck! Come out to learn about seed farming, and bring seeds to exchange with one another. :)
Monica Williams will lead us in a discussion about growing seeds to sell in your backyard garden. Several seed buyers in the region are excited about your favorite Appalachian varieties. Please bring any vine-ripened homegrown fruit or vegetable with you, and we will harvest the seed together. We will also share in a dinner around 5:30pm and ask that you please bring a dish to share. We normally have 10 people, but hope to see more of you next Wednesday!
To prepare for the gathering and discussion, you can learn more about organic seed farming from this article link by Modern Farmer.https://modernfarmer.com/2017/09/need-revitalize-organic-seed-farming/
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/135466640383606/
Wednesday, November 15, 4:30pm
Alex Ogrinz, our Farm Manager is going to talk about how to put your ground to rest over the winter season, including the use of cover crops for building soil fertility. The potluck will start at 4:30pm at the Sprouting Farms site.
Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/1361985607250167/