This past Saturday we recruited some friends and family to help us lay weed barrier at the Breeze farm. There are many options for controlling weeds. We decided to lay down a barrier instead of intensive hoeing or using machinery (aka BCS tractor or handheld weed-eater). Along the irrigation line, we pinned down cardboard using homemade "field staples". In between the rows, we rolled out two layers of paper (end rolls from the Herald Sun) and then laid down a thick layer of corn mulch or hay (depending on what we had).
Laying weed barrier is one of the less glamourous jobs on the farm. The work is hard, dirty and time consuming. You usually end up with scratchy eyes and strange rashes from the hay dust. But hopefully the hard work will pay off when the weeds start to grow. The cardboard and hay will also biodegrade over the season thus helping build the soil.
This past Saturday was our first farmers' market ever at the Cary Downtown Farmers' Market. It went so well! It was so nice meeting all the customers and vendors and talking about our produce. We had three herbal drinks to sample to demonstrate ways to use fresh herbs. The Rosemary Lemonade was definitely the crowd favorite. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Lemon Balm Ginger Ale and Cinnamon, Orange, Mint Tea as well.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Lani. She has a blog called Me So Cary (a guide to living in the Containment Area for Relocated Yankees, hey she said it!). Check out her site to learn more about the Cary Downtown Farmers' Market and her take on us.
Oh! Ross also wanted to make sure everyone knows what the Champagne Yeast looks like for the Lemon Balm Ginger Ale recipe.
Welcome to the Open Door Farm blog page! Check here every week for farm news, local farm/food events and whatever randomness we want to blog about!
This first news update from the farm is quite tragic (well ok maybe not that tragic). Saturday night, Ross and I (and the rest of the family) were awoken by a very loud and very strange sound. It sounded as if the house were being pelted with rocks. Those rocks ended up being huge chucks of ice. A massive hail storm was passing overhead and coming down hard on Cary and the backyard veggie beds. Since it was too dark to see, we tried our best to go back to sleep and analyze the damage the hail had caused in the morning. Check out some of the damage below.
Luckily we had covered our head lettuce with a shade cloth that night and they were completely unharmed. The kale, spinach and herbs are peppered with holes but overall look ok. After a few tears and regretful moments of "why didn't we cover everything?!" we cleaned up and developed a game plan for replanting. This was definitely our first experience of disappointment and frustration with farming and our lack of control over nature. No matter how much you plan everything that you've worked so hard for can be destroyed in a 5 minute storm.
But no worries! We have replanted the loose leaf salad mixes and they should be ready for harvest in 3 to 4 weeks. But trust me, our salads will be covered from here on out.
Ross and Jillian Mickens are the owners and operators of Open Door Farm located in the North Carolina Piedmont.