Mid-Summer Adventures

It’s the height of the summer and we’re staying busy with the interns on the farm, as well as with occasional trips outside of Goldsboro.  We’ve been visiting various farms with the Sandhill Farm School over the course of the apprenticeship and a couple weeks ago we visited Vollner Farm to learn about Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) certification and food safety on a small farm.  We also got to visit a couple peach orchards and a peach nursery in Bunn, NC.

I’ve been working the youth group, Students Working for a Revolutionary Agricultural Movement (SWARM) during my time here are the Small Farm Unit, helping to build upon their farming and gardening knowledge and skills, which are applied here on the farm and at various community garden sites in Goldsboro.   They also help lead Discover Ag, our on-farm school field trip program.  Lately, they’ve been doing quite a bit of pest scouting.


SWARMers busy with integrated pest management


Jordan and the SWARMers identifying pests on the farm

Insects are not the only pests on the farm.  Our summer fields and home garden are routinely visited by deer.  Below, Jordan strikes a pose as one of the wild pigs which have taken to tearing up our habitat garden.

jordan pig

The Small Farm Unit has a 19-year-old blueberry variety trial, which demonstrates which varieties do best in Eastern North Carolina.  The blueberries are in the height of production and we are all enjoying as many blueberries as we can possibly eat.

blueberries close up 2

Endless blueberries

blueberry bushes

The Small Farm Unit blueberry variety trial

Cover crops play a huge role in the  management of our agricultural production on the farm, both in the fields and in the research high tunnels.  It’s interesting to see the landscape constantly changing, keeping an eye towards long-term sustainability.

high tunnel cover crop

Summer cover crops in the research high tunnel

buckwheat cover

A quick buckwheat cover crop

sudan grass

What was just grazing pasture is now planted in sorghum-Sudan grass summer cover crop.

The interns have been engaged in various work projects on the farm for the past few weeks.  Aside from doing day-to-day tasks on the farm, we apprentices have been working with them on developing plans for a large herb garden, on developing and managing habitat gardens, a vermicomposting system, and a flower variety trial.

interns  high tunnel

Marisa, the SFU farm manager, leads the interns on Monday morning farm tour, planning our week’s work

Between the deer the weeds, it’s been a challenge to keep our experimental no-till summer crops alive.  It does look like we’ll have okra, squash, zucchini and tomatoes, but we lost our melons and peppers.

interns in summer field

Interns and apprentices assessing crops in the experimental no-till summer field

tomatoes in field 2

Tomatoes growing in the no-till field

This weekend we are headed West to visit the Central Carolina Community College’s farm, an agricultural research station and small farm in the mountains.  Stay tuned!


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