Follow the Progress
Month of April 2022
The Urban Farming Research Clinic began in April of 2022. It was created as part of the Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Urban Farming Work Group as a way to follow the urban farming initiative. The two-acre plot is located only a few steps away from the Anne Arundel County office!
There's much work that must be done before the land is ready for planting. The biggest challenge so far has been leveling out and cleaning up the plot to be ready for planting. The plot had been untouched for 10 to 15 years before this project began. The area was bush-hogged to maintain the overgrowth more easily, prior to moldboard plowing and disking.
Month of May 2022
To get a better idea of the condition of the soil, a soil sample was taken on May 26th. Click Here to view the results of the soil sample collected on this day. Click Here to view the nutrient management plan that was developed for the project.
Month of June
This month was busy! The first to be planted was Golden German Foxtail Millet on June 6th. The next day, June 7th, all three varieties of pumpkins (Gladiator, Iron Man, and Rhea), Indian corn, Popcorn, and sunflowers were planted. Two rows of sunflowers were placed as boarder rows between the other crops. The first herbicide application took place on the same day of planting, Dual® herbicide and Poast® herbicide were applied. These are pre-emergent herbicides that were sprayed with a broadcast sprayer.
Fertilizer was applied two weeks after planting on June 21st, and 200 lbs of gypsum and 200 lbs urea were applied to the pumpkins, sunflowers, and corn. On the same day, 80 lbs of urea and 200 lbs of gypsum were applied to the millet.
Three weeks after planting, on June 29th, Sandea® herbicide was sprayed with a broadcast sprayer on the pumpkins only to control escaped morning glory and yellow nutsedge. The sunflower rows were hoed for the first time three weeks after planting on June 29th.
Month of July
This month was spent controlling weeds! The second round of hoeing took place five weeks after planting on July 13th. This time all rows were hoed to control weed growth. On June 20th, 7 weeks after planting, Poast® herbicide was applied to the pumpkins for Bermudagrass control. This application was a spot treatment applied with a backpack sprayer. No fungicides have been applied to date. We are currently monitoring the plot weekly. We are monitoring for potential problems like disease or pests. So far, no fungicides are needed. Weed control for the project was excellent with the judicious use of herbicides combined with hand hoeing of escaped weeds.
Unfortunately, near the end of July the field flooded twice during two rainfall events, both exceeding 5 inches, leading to phytophthora losses in the pumpkins. The damage was most noticeable in the larger varieties Rhea and Gladiator. It was also evident that native pollinators alone were not enough for uniform fruit set in the pumpkin patches. Groundhog and deer damage were also considerable in the pumpkins.
Month of August
Scouting and monitoring the crop though August, a decision to spray the pumpkins for disease was made on July 9th and then again on September 1st. On each occasion two fungicides, Pristine® and Rally® were applied to the pumpkin patches, when conditions for rampant infection of powdery mildew and downy mildew occurred. Insects remained below thresholds and no insecticides were required on any of the crops. A couple heavy and gusty thunderstorm in August did lodge some of the Indian corn; The popcorn was unaffected.
Months of September to October
Looking ahead to harvest, no additional pesticides will be applied. There is a planned Anne Arundel Extension Fall Harvest Party to be held on Friday, October 14th from 1:00-5:00. All are welcome to attend, and enjoy the bounties of the crop season. To register for this event, Click Here.
Month of November
Construction of the new high tunnel begins on November 8, 2022.
The Anne Arundel Extension Urban Farming Research Clinic (UFRC) has been active this Spring.
New plantings in 2023:
Vineyard of vinifera wine grapes; Hops trial with local Pherm Brewery; Apple trial, Peach trial; Blackberry trial; Asparagus bed; Buckwheat for bees and buckwheat flour; Oats for steel cut oatmeal; Milling Corn for cornbread; Sunflowers for bird seed; and Pumpkins.
High Tunnel in 2023:
The Chili-Mix, a chili-pepper and culinary herb trial will be the first UFRC high tunnel project.
Month of January 2023
The Urban Farm got off to a great start in the cold month of January! The time was well spent planning the plantings for the year and ordering seeds! If you want to know more about the planting plan click Here!
Month of February 2023
As the winter was approaching its end, construction of the high tunnel was in full play. We needed to get that finished before we could plant our peppers this year.
Month of March 2023
March was a month of preparations, planting preparations were underway. Holes were dug for posts, the trellis for the hops began its construction. We also got an electric fence that was set up and active this month in order to keep deer away from our crops!
Month of April 2023
April was a busy month. On April 3rd and 4th all of the blackberries, apples, peaches, and grapes were planted. The posts and the trellises went up this month and on April 21st the high tunnel was finished being built!
Month of May 2023
May was a busy month as well! The first day of May all of the hops were planted. The peppers were planted on the 7th in the high tunnel on site. Around the middle of the month there was a swarm of bees found away from a hive near the farm. The queen was located and the bees were transported to a bee box now located on site. On the 22nd the corn, sunflowers, and asparagus were all planted. The same day buckwheat was also planted for the bees. Our grape plants that either died or didn't grow at all were replaced with Cabernet Sauvignon on the 25th.
Month of June 2023
On June 1st and 2nd we took down our rye to replace it with pumpkins which were planted on the 9th. Rye is our cover crop and shows up all around the field. On the 14th we ran a farm tour for the MACAA business meeting. The moth traps which are being used for data collection were finished being set up on the 16th. Towards the end of the month the asparagus started to grow. We also had a pretty heavy storm which took out a few of our pepper plants and damaged a few of our other crops.
Month of July 2023
On the 6th of July we had our first pepper harvest! The pepper plants have really been thriving so far. We harvested on the 6th to relieve some of the weight on the plants as they were producing a lot of peppers very quickly. On the 21st of July we had our second pepper harvest! We were harvesting again to relieve the weight on the plants and to get rid of any diseased or damaged fruits. The corn has come along nicely as well, the stalks are over six feet tall! The hops have reached the top of the trellis and the Buckwheat is around 3 feet tall! The sunflowers have started flowering as well!
Month of August 2023
In the month of August we did a lot of stuff! We had a harvest of the spicy peppers on the 7th, getting an incredible 55 lbs! We were harvesting for Pherm Brewing Company for a spicy beer they wanted to try. On the 8th we had a farm tour and we noticed one of our pumpkins beginning to fruit. The 15th was our first harvest of the hops. The two varieties that were ready were the Cascade and the Comet. We got 7.5 lbs in total which was given to Pherm Brewing Company for a wet hopped beer. Our 2nd harvest of hops took place on the 22nd and consisted of the Galena and Comet varieties. On the 25th we had our open house! It was a fun and informative day. We also started our very own blog and Instagram to follow our progress, which you can find and follow here: Our Blog! Our Instagram!
Month of September 2023
On September 1st we harvested some of our corn. The University of Maryland group: Women in Agriculture visited the urban farm on Friday September 15th. We harvested hops with them to take back to the university for a fermentation class. We also harvested peppers with them as something to take home. With all of our gorgeous corn, we have had our highest moth count so far, coming in at 25 corn earworms on the 26th. This may mean that we will have to continue the count into October.
Month of October 2023
As we have come to the end of our harvest season in the month of October the farm has been getting prepared for the winter. On the 3rd the pumpkins, corn, and sunflowers were mowed down and replanted on the 11th with rye which is the cover crop we use at the AAUFRC. The rye was planted in 1.5 bushels per acre with a broadcast seeder and a disk harrow. After a long and bountiful season of our pepper plants they were removed from our high tunnel on the 19th. The 27th marked the end of our moth count with the removal of the last trap on that day. If anyone is interested in information on that you can check out a flyer that was made here.
Month of November 2023
At the beginning of November we had a buck in rut come through our orchard and snap one of our apple trees at the graft union. We decided to graft some of the branches of it to the rootstock to see if it would grow but we don't predict it will survive the winter and as such the tree will be replaced in the spring. In favor of IPM, after removing the peppers last month we planted cereal rye in the hightunnel on the 2nd of this month to help build the soil and capture nutrients for next year. On the 13th we painted the trunks of the trees in our orchard white to prevent sunscald. This is a common practice in the winter as going from cold nights to bright days can be very harmful for trees. On a final note of this month our cold weather crop, asparagus, is doing quite well.
Month of December 2023
As the year of 2023 comes to a close, preparations for the year of 2024 are underway. Plans for our plantings in 2024 have begun. Of course we have some crops that will be sticking around: our apples, peaches, blackberries, asparagus, hops, and grapes. We will have some new crops in the coming year as well: cut flowers in place of our sunflowers, and mixed vegetables and herbs in our hightunnel. Our corn and pumpkins will be returning next year as well, but of course they will have to be replanted. On the 13th the strings for our hops were cut down and the plants were cut back to the crown and fertilized to allow for next year’s growth. New string will be added next year for the bines to attach to as they climb.
What plants are we keeping around?
All of our orchard plants (apple and peach trees) will be going into their second year of growth in 2024. As will our vineyard and our hops. Asparagus is our cold weather crop and it takes a few years to reach it's full growth so that crop will be sticking around as well. Our blackberries will also be at full production this year! The buckwheat may be getting replaced with oats, or it may be sticking around. As for new plants, the sunflowers will be getting replaced with cut flowers, and the peppers in the hightunnel will be getting replaced with mixed vegetables and herbs.
Month of January 2024
In the month of January 2024 the AAUFRC team has been busy planning for the new year. Though our fields look barren right now they won’t stay that way forever. On Tuesday January 9th the AAUFRC team visited the Maryland’s Best Expo to network and make connections.