We’re pleased to introduce our newest Farm Educator Joshua! He started with us this week and brings about seven years’ worth of farming experience with him. Joshua grew up in the Dallas area and for the past couple of years has been running a community supported agriculture (CSA) program in Terrell, Texas. In addition to farming Joshua also brings with him experience in pasture-raised chickens and citrus orchards. He’s looking forward to learning about the Richmond area and settling into a new routine at our Village Farm.
Our cool season seedlings are looking great! Most have produced their first true leaves and will be ready for transplanting in the next couple of weeks. Our Brassicas that have a longer growing period like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts will be going in the black plastic beds while all of our leafy greens will be going in new beds that will be shaped next to the row of eggplant. Since our seedlings have made it to a certain point in their growth, we seeded another round of cool season crops mostly focusing on greens. This round includes delicious cultivars like arugula, chard, Shungiku (Chrysanthemum), and Hon Tsai Tai (Chinese Flowering Cabbage).
Did you know we’re currently in the process of obtaining our organic certification? In order to become a certified organic farm, we’ve been strictly adhering to the regulations outlined by the National Organic Program. Per organic certification regulations, the Village Farm has to undergo three years of sustainable, chemical-free farming. This means that we never use pesticides and instead rely on sustainable methods for pest control and plant health. This includes investing time in improving the health of our soil through cover cropping. By planting crops like sunn hemp and clover, we are able to increase organic matter and nitrogen levels in the soil as well as discourage damaging root-knot nematodes. Since we don’t use pesticides, we have to focus our efforts on continually observing the health of our plants. Pests are drawn to unhealthy plants so keeping our crops healthier will keep pest numbers down. Farming organically is a way for us to sustainably support our community and our environment.