Welcome, Fall!

Coming from Oakland, California, where the weather is always perfect—never any humidity, no temperatures beyond the 80s—I have to say I am thrilled that the summer months of North Carolina are behind us! I love Fall and am looking forward to having lettuce on the farm once again and being able to sit around a fire at night. We’ve had some late summer rains that have made it hard to keep up with weeding and field work, but the rains seems to be behind us for now, as well.

We’ve been working to build another high tunnel on the Small Farm Unit, which is something that has been in the works for awhile. It’s slow-moving work, with plenty of challenges, but fortunately, we’ve had a lot of help from staff from other other research stations in North Carolina, as well as from other units at Cherry Research Farm.

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Putting up the end walls on the new high tunnel

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Slowly but surely, the high tunnel comes together….

In other news, Melissa Bell has been hired as the new Research Specialist and we are happy to have her for a few days each week here at the Small Farm Unit. She worked for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems previously, and so is familiar with some of the people and projects here already.

Research to determine best planting dates for high tunnel vegetables continues, with Kayla Clark, the Horticulture Technician here, working hard to gather data on pepper, cucumber, tomato, and leafy greens production.

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Fall high tunnel planting calendar research begins.

We’ve been busy getting the Fall field planted and weeded, and have also been keeping up with our variety trials, which mostly means doing a lot of pest and disease monitoring, weeding, and keeping data on germination rates. Fortunately, the deer and ground hogs have been cooperative so far and have left the trial field alone.

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Broccoli variety trial conducted to determine what varieties are best for Eastern North Carolina farmers.

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Fall field production is underway.

We’ve got just a month and a half left of the apprenticeship.  Time here has flown by. As the end draws near, we apprentices have our sights focused on finding work that will allow us to apply some of our new skills, insights and aspirations. Between the work on the farm, and the new task of finding a job, the days are passing even more quickly around here!

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