This week on the farm my focus was on accessing any biological issues involving our plants and determining the best course of action to solve that problem. As I’ve previously mentioned, when working with an organic materials such as fertilizers and pesticides it is common to apply them more often than traditional chemicals. There have been lots of butterflies fluttering through the farm as of late and with an increase in butterflies we also see an increase in caterpillars. However, on our farm these pests only seem to want one thing and that’s our passion fruit leaves. There are some vines that are seeing tremendous growth, while there are some other vines who just can’t seem to get started. To solve this issue I have been spraying the vines with a combination of Thuricide, Therm X, and water from our well to eliminate the caterpillars on the lower sections of our passion fruit vines. This organic brew of naturally occurring pesticides seems to last just under a week and needs to be applied promptly after. As you can see below, some of our passion fruit vines are really flourishing. Some vines even growing to heights that we can’t reach with our sprayers anymore. I hope that we don’t see another caterpillar infestation near the top. So far this vine and many others with this height have not shown signs of pests near the top. The vine in the picture is well over 20 feet tall and is one of many fruit vines to reach this height on the farm.
Construction is nearly complete on our vertical strawberry garden system. Farmer Bob decided to stain the wood plank support structure to make it more visually appealing and “rustic” looking. Strawberries really grow well in Florida and are a popular fruit among many of our customers. We gathered this information from comments on our social media pages and plan on giving our customers what they want. At the start of next year we should have a surplus of berries (blueberries and strawberries) and passion fruit available. Strawberries grow from January to November depending on the type and blueberries grow from May to July in Florida depending on the type of plant. Recently, we also planted some mango trees, which have been making some excellent progress and currently without any signs of pests or fungus. Our carrots have also really began to take root as many sprouts have begun to show above the soil. We used recycled materials and our homemade compost to make this possible. Below you will see our almost complete vertical gardens and with the left over materials from that we were able to build an herb garden as well with some quick growth from our carrots.
Working on the farm has taught me a lot of skills that I will need in the future for personal and professional endeavors. Adding this to my resume has caused employers to ask questions about what I do there and why. Of course I happily tell them all the details of what goes on at the farm and why it is important not only locally, but globally as well. Even though I get up at 7:45 AM each morning to make it to the farm on I enjoy every thing I do there. From my first day shoveling chicken feces to the days I spend picking weeds for hours. It feels good knowing that my efforts are contributing to the greater good and helping a local farmer to build his farm. Additionally, upon completion of this internship I will earn my degree and be that much closer to achieving my goal. The Patel School has taught me so much and provided me with an immense amount of opportunities to grow. I will never forget the time I spent here on the farm, along with the joy it brought me helping other in my community. The featured image above is a photo I took arriving at the farm this week. The beauty of the sunrise paired with the greenery of the farm really made me sit back and just enjoy the blessings I have.
The social media campaign continues to gain support from our local community and elsewhere. This week we have added 6 new people to the page bringing our total up to 526. As of today, our current reach for the week has been 425 people. I am extremely excited to see what demand will take place when harvest season comes around. I fear we may have more customers than we can provide for. However, one thing is for sure and that is that this year looks much more promising than last year. The increase in customer communication paired with the addition of several other plant varieties ensures that we will be pulling in a lot more revenue. We have also started an Instagram page that has also been making some decent progress. Since July we have 59 followers and have over 54 posts on our page showcasing what we do on a daily basis. Below is a graph indicating the page growth since I started working on the social media.