The farm is currently going through a lot of changes to incorporate various cropping systems. Rather than going with one single system, the farm team is implementing several for educational purposes. On the South Farm, all of the beds are set up in the bare bed system with cultivated furrows. The bare bed system is more traditional and though it requires more maintenance than others, the soil can be amended continuously. Having the ability to amend the soil at any time makes it healthier for the soil in the long run.
The bare beds on the South Farm were planted recently with a plethora of goodies for Harvest Fest. This “you-pick” festival will take place in November. Though it’s hard to think of fall crops when the temperatures are sweltering, they have to be planted now in order to have time to grow and mature. There are already a few that decided to pop up so take a look next time you pass by.
The farm team discovered a home remedy for fire ants and wasps recently that is safe for organic and sustainable farming. It involves two commonplace items you might already have lying around. Any guesses? Oranges and vinegar make a pretty lethal solution for fire ants and wasps when diluted to the right concentrations. This powerful solution must be used with care as it has the potential to change the acidity of your soil. It can be made with either whole oranges or orange oil and it even works on weeds that may be popping up through mulch. For a potent and natural weed killer, mix 3 tablespoons orange oil with 1 pint of white vinegar. If you have whole oranges, separate the peel from the flesh then stuff as many as you can into a glass jar. Fill the jar to the top with vinegar, then cover it and allow it to sit for a couple of weeks. The strained liquid can be poured directly into fire ant beds or sprayed onto wasp nests.
It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Farm Educator Kathryn this week. The community met for a goodbye event on Wednesday evening with her to mulch the orchard on the North Farm. We wish her nothing but the best as she returns home to Saint Louis in order to pursue studies in physical therapy. I have a feeling the farm animals will miss her cheerful presence just as much as the community.