Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Down on the Organic Farm

This past Saturday the Crossroads Garden Club visited "Country Gardens Farm" located off  Highway 154 on our third field trip this year. We had several showers during our visit, most members were prepared with umbrellas, but those that weren't just enjoyed visiting the farm and the light shower on their faces..

Owner and Master Gardener, Mike Cunningham, started our tour by explaining his "no till" method of gardening and the farms' "CSA" or "Community Supported Agriculture" business. Presently he has fifty members that receive fresh vegetables every week throughout the year. Although the farm is not certified, yet, as an organic grower, he, his wife and sons only use organic methods not only for vegetables but includes honey, eggs, milk, grass fed beef, chicken and flowers, as well as, worm castings you can buy for your garden and yard. Of course one of the most valuable staples free of charge is Mike's experience and knowledge shared with anyone who visits.

Their "no till" method to grow organic veggies begins by digging the dirt between rows and making approximately, two foot raised beds in the middle. Azomite (an organic ferilizer) is then added to the raised row and covered with newspaper or some type of landscape fabric. A thick layer of straw is applied over the row prior to planting. Above you can appreciate the cucumber vines and work needed to grow such a large crop.

Mike told me he was experimenting to grow two vine vegtables, beans and cucumbers to grow on each side of the fence. I like that landscape cover is used to keep grass and weeds out of the middle between rows.

The farm utilizes a lake to water like our garden. We don't use a portable pump or have  large CVC pipe like "Country Garden Farms" in our garden.

They use a tape bought on a roll to connect the water source and roll onto the rows before planting their crops connecting to the main water source.

I caught my mom taking a break during the tour under her umbrella.

I was amazed at the eggplants growing without any problems.

Sunflowers are grown to take to the markets. Mike told me they will be ready in two weeks. Besides subscribers to the "CSA," Mike and Judy sell their wares at three markets on week-ends. These sunflowers will be cut, when they flower, tied in two to three foot bunches and sold at Buckhead, Peachtree City and Newnan farmer's markets.

Garden members, Calvin, Mike and Cindy, pictured here with Master Gardener, Mike Cunningham, not only soaked up some of the rain, but a lot of good tips on successful gardening.

Just like Tia and Todd, mascots in Deberah and my garden, Mike and Judy have a mascot at their farm, as seen above.

"Country Garden Farms" are branching out this summer to grow new types of plants like tomatillos, pictured above grown as an ingredient added to salsa or other likewise recipes.

And these groundcherries pictured here have an unusual but tart taste, somewhere between a tomato and a cape gooseberry, often used to make preserves or jellies.

On the way in and out from the garden, I was impressed to see the herbs growing along the fence line planted in pots made of  cut flue pipes, used to line the interior of chimneys. What a great idea! They are cut (no bottom), filled with soil, plant herbs, flowers, anything you like, just water and fertilize as needed for any pot or container.
Hope you enjoyed the garden tour and until next time..................

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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