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Dirt Rich Compost
from Worm Castings

Worms are wonderful creatures that process our organic waste into castings (worm poo or manure) that enrich our gardens with nature’s fertilizer.  Any compost, when ready, is very black which is commonly referred to as “black gold” due to it’s nutrient rich density.

Composting, in my opinion, is one of the most sustainable ways to manage organic waste and everyone can do it regardless of their living situation. 

Why is worm composting beneficial?
1.  Minimizes food waste when the worms digest the organic matter and turns it into liquid fertilizer and worm castings
2.  Reduces landfill
3.  Reduces methane production = Less Greenhouse Gas
4.  Easy, fun and a great learning experience for individuals and families

 

Worm compost has a specific name, ‘Vermicompost’.  Wikipedia’s definition is:  “Vermicompost (or vermi-compost) is the product of the composting process using various species of worms, usually red wigglerswhite worms, and other earthworms, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.”

Generally vermicast is a nutrient rich, organic fertilizer that contains reduced levels of contaminants than before it goes through the decomposition cycle.  So worm castings are  perfect for organic gardening, small scale sustainable farming and even treatment of some types of sewage sludge.

There are multiple worm farm kits that are available online or in stores.  Here is a link to ‘Morning Chores’ and their Top 5 Worm Farm Kits:  https://morningchores.com/best-worm-farm-kit/.

But you might want to make your own DIY worm farm for a lot less $$….all you need are:

Two dark plastic storage bins
A drill
Shredded Paper
A pound of worms
Four wooden blocks (same size)

Here are my favorite two sites that give simple instructions for DIY worm farms:

http://modernfarmer.com/2013/05/how-to-build-a-worm-farm/

https://www.diynatural.com/vermicomposting-worm-farm-diy-easy-and-frugal/

 

Happy Vermicomposting!

 

 

Canning Tomatoes $1.50 lb

Even though our U-Pick Garden is closed for the Summer Season, we are still selling canning tomatoes by appointment this week only.  Simply call/text 615-591-0015 or e-mail stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com to let us know when you would like to stop by for 20 lbs or more of canning tomatoes for $1.50 lb.

We have San Marzano Roma, Amelia, Mountain Merit and Sweetheart Grape varieties.  Our last day for selling tomatoes will be Saturday, July 29th.

 

Due to heavy rain this Summer, our U-Pick Garden will be closing earlier than usual.
The plants have not been able to thrive longer because of the moist soil and unusual weather.  

The Last Day for the Summer Season will be this Saturday, July 22nd from 7 am to 5 pm. 

We will have the following available for sale this Saturday:

3 varieties of tomatoes – blackberries – purple hull peas – bell peppers – banana peppers – jalapeno peppers – mulit color zinnias – sunflowers – yellow squash – cucumbers (limited) – cabbage (limited) – 14 varieties of herbs – local honey – sourdough bread – Dirt Rich books – Dirt Rich Kids Coloring Books – Toy Box and Playground for Kids – Sodas and Water

We are offering discounts on tomatoes for canners…only $1.50 lb for 20 lbs or more.
A bushel of tomatoes is approximately 53 lbs and it takes approx. 23 lbs to make 7 quarts of tomatoes.
It’s really easy to can your own tomatoes and nothing tastes better! 
If you want to learn ‘how to can’  we have two classes scheduled for July 22 and 26…check out the events tab.

Natural Healing Can Be Found in Your Back Yard and Garden…

There are a plethora of natural remedies for headaches, tummy troubles, inflammation and skin problems that can be treated with herbs you can grow or may be growing in your yard already (you thought they were weeds!).  Why treat your family and yourself with chemicals that may have long term side effects when you have simple, organic and healthy alternatives at your disposal?

Did you know that Basil promotes a healthy heart and is a common ingredient in the Mediterranean diet?  Basil also relieves flatulence, helps with skin breakouts as well as treats warts…who knew?  Cilantro assists in removing heavy metals from the body.  Chamomile not only helps as an anti-inflammatory agent but also assists in relieving arthritis.

Do you have migraines or severe headaches?  Find out what herb helps to treat that painful malady this Saturday, July 8th, with Cindy Shapton’s “Grow Your Own Medicine Chest” on July 8th from 10-11:30 am at the farm.

Cindy will not only talk about the herbal remedies, but will show you how:
1.  to make tinctures
2.  to infuse oil
3.  to make medicinal tea from the herbs once you grow and harvest them.

Join us for a jam packed, fun filled class with our own local Herb Expert, Cindy Shapton this Saturday, July 8th 10-11:30am!

To register click on the following link: http://stoneycreekfarmtennessee.com/events/grow-medicine-chest-cindy-shapton-cracked-pot-gardener/

Feel free to call/text for more info at 615.591.0015 or e-mail stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com

Local Partner:
Taylor Family Farm

Non-GMO, Pasture Raised Meat, Dairy and Eggs

Because of feedback from our Stoney Creek Farm customers, we are partnering with Taylor Family Farm to provide a local pick-up location for excellent quality local products that you will be able to view and order from their online store.

taylor-family-1

Taylor Family Farm is located in Ethridge, Tennessee by John and Terri Taylor.  They have been providing high quality products from their local farm store as well as small Middle Tennessee grocery stores and specialty restaurants.

beefporkchicken-875268_960_720

Their delivery schedule to Stoney Creek Farm will be set for every other Thursday, starting June 1st.  Depending on the volume, this delivery schedule could increase to every week…TBD.  Below is the order schedule for this first time:

ORDER:  anytime before 6:00 pm, Tuesday, May 30 
PICKUP:  anytime Friday, June 2, call/text 615.591.0015 with time

To place your order, go to their website:  http://taylorfamilyfarmtn.com/store.html
and use the “Stoney Creek Farm Drop” or you can call them.  Their contact information is below too.

Taylor Farm card

Stoney Creek Farm
4700 Coe Lane
Franklin, TN  37064
www.stoneycreek.farm
615.591.0015

dirt rich

    Summer U-Pick Garden

    The 2017 U-Pick Summer Garden will start in mid-June…exact date to be determined by Mother Nature.  We’ve had a huge amount of rain this Spring along with a roller coaster ride of temperature variation which has affected the growth of the veggies and berries.  We will announce the opening date as we approach mid-June.  Here are the Vegetables and Berries we will have available (at different times) throughout the season of mid-June to August:

    Tomatoes (slicer, Roma, grape)
    Yellow Squash
    Zucchini
    Green Beans
    Purple Hull Peas
    Cabbage
    Broccoli
    Kale
    Lettuce (limited)
    Radishes (limited)
    Onions
    Sweet Corn
    Blueberries
    Blackberries

    Plums
    Herbs (dill, basil, lemon basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, oregano, sage, feverfew, comfrey, garlic, lemon balm, mint, chocolate mint)
    Sunflowers, Cosmos, Zinnias for bouquets

    Other items we sell at the farm:
    Honey (100% local, raw, 1 lb jars)
    Muscadine Grape Jelly
    Sourdough Bread
    Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
    Zucchini Bread
    Dirt Rich” our book about sustainable living
    “Dirt Rich Kids”  coloring book with sustainable topics
    Paintings from Local Artists and Garden Art

    Also check out our Sustainable Topic Classes under the “Events” tab on this website.  Canning, Beekeeping, Grow Your Own Medicine Chest, Plant Based Food Cooking Classes are only a few of the fascinating subjects covered.
     

     

    Planting Tomatoes

    We are SO READY for HOME GROWN TOMATOES!  It’s been a long winter and cardboard tasting tomatoes are now the bane of our existence…  We’re ready for some delicious, juicy, lip smacking, HOME GROWN TOMATOES that we can slice thick and eat on a BLT or a good ole mater sandwich with mayo…nothing better!  And don’t forget those outrageously good fried green tomatoes because you just can’t wait on the ripe ones.  But first we’ve got to get those plants in the ground, so we can enjoy the fruit of our labor…pun intended.

    Heirloom variety tomatoes – best flavor

    There are several ways to plant tomatoes and all of them place most of the plant under the soil.  The deeper you plant  the stem, the more roots will be formed and the stronger the plant will be.  Here are the two ways we plant our tomato plants:

    1.  Dig as deep a hole as possible so that all of the root and most of the stem are underground.

    2.  Dig a trench (like water for a small water pipe) horizontally in the ground and then bury the root and most of the stem in the ditch, leaving only the top of the plant showing above the soil.  The plant will straighten up with the sun and all of the stem will grow additional roots to make it stronger. These two methods will ensure a stronger plant because the root system will be more developed and stronger

    Here is a video by MHP Gardener who gives some tips on trenching tomato plants:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDA4FuOosXw

    Tomato Terminology….
    Do you know what the term “determinate” tomato plant means?  Determinate tomatoes grow to a specific height and are usually developed from a hybrid seed.

    Determinate Tomatoes

    An “indeterminate” tomato plant will grow and grow and grow to an undetermined height and is often of the heirloom variety.

    Indeterminate Tomatoes

    Want to learn more about sustainable living and growing your own healthy food?  Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stoneycreekfarmtennessee/

     

     

    Learn How To Live a Simple, Sustainable Life

    What the purpose of the Sustainable Living Farm Conference?

    To show people how to live with Less Stress and More Joy.  Freedom from the “rat race” can be achieved by learning the benefits of sustainable living, growing your own healthy food,
    and creating a simpler life while saving thousand$. 

    The 2017 Sustainable Farm Conference will include topics on:
    sustainable housing
    homesteading
    sources of farm income
    growing natural, healthy food (without pesticides)
    preserving and fermenting food
    farm animals (their purpose)
    helping pollinators and beneficial insects thrive on your farm
    composting and soil testing
    marketing your farm
    agricultural green belt
    networking opportunities
    working with a debt free operation
    temporary greenhouse production

    The Funderburk’s have spent 12 years developing their dream, a small sustainable farm, that produces six different income streams. Their mission revolves around teaching individuals and families to grow their own healthy food, by renting garden plots and offering a summer U-Pick Garden to the community. They also host Educational Seminars, farm tours, and have a venue for local events/parties.

    Formerly in corporate sales for a multimillion dollar company, Leigh spends her days managing their 15 acre farm in beautiful Franklin, TN. Olin has been in the construction business for over 30+ years and working toward his eventual retirement.

    The One Day Conference schedule is as follows:
    9:30 am – arrival and introductions
    10:00 am to 12 noon – farm tour with exhibits on greenhouse/garden production, and farm animals
    12:00 noon to 1:00 pm – Farm to Table Lunch and networking
    1:00 to 2:30 pm – income sources and marketing your dream
    2:30 to 4 pm – booth round table discussions on bees, herbs, farm equipment and more

    In addition to the conference, each attendee/couple will receive a  free copy of “Dirt Rich“, the Funderburk’s  book on Sustainable Farm Living, and a free download of their online course “Dirt Rich, Sustainable Farm Living“.  

       
    Cost $97 per person or $147 per couple which includes lunch and all conference materials. Call/text 615-591-0015 or e-mail stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com for more information.

    To register, choose individual or couple and click the “add to cart” button below:

    Individual or couple

     



     

    How to Plant Seeds for the Garden

    It’s not rocket science, but you do have to follow the directions on the seed packet…for instance: Depth to sow = 1/2″  which means to put the seed about a half an inch under the top of the soil.  The easiest way to make sure you are getting the correct depth is to use a ruler the first few times you plant the seeds.  Place the seed on top of the soil and use the top of the ruler to push it down into the soil to the correct depth.

    In general, you will find that the larger the seed is, the deeper it will go in the soil and the smaller the seed is, the reverse is true.  Herb seeds are famous for being extremely small and most of the time, I sow them by sprinkling the tiny seeds on top of the soil and then watering them.  The seeds are so tiny that they will settle into the soil from watering.  If a seed is sown too deep, it may not germinate properly and then deteriorate before it has a chance to thrive above ground.

    Seeds will need somewhere between 65-80 degrees temperature to germinate (depending on the seed), so starting them indoors near a window sill will work.  We build a temporary greenhouse each year that house hundreds of plants for our U-Pick Garden until the April 15th (last) frost date and then we transplant them into the ground. In the picture below we have over 1,000 seeds planted just on the left hand side of the greenhouse.  The green trays have 108 cells and the black trays have 72 cells.  We planted 5 varieties of tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and marigolds.  On the other side of the greenhouse (not pictured) are peppers and many varieties of herbs. Special thanks go to our volunteer interns Sarah Cho and Kendall Pinkston for all their help this week!!!

    Plants need three things to survive:  nutrient rich soil, water and air.  Using a good potting soil will get your seeds off to a good start.  I like to use very small cells to plant my seeds and then transplant to larger containers  after they have germinated and grow to about 1-2 inches tall (depending on the plant).

    You want to keep your cells/trays moist but not wet and let them dry out in between.  If your soil is too moist it can create mildew and mold which is a terrible environment for your new plants.  If your soil is too dry, your seeds will not germinate…a fine line indeed!

    Here are Broccoli seedlings that have  popped up after 3 days.  Seeds have different germination times, so check your packet for all the info.

    Olin and Alaina Knott (MTSU Intern) after they built our temporary greenhouse this year.  We reuse materials for several years which saves on cost.

    Happy Planting!

     

      How to Test Your Garden Soil

      Yes, it’s almost gardening time and with all this warm weather, we are all getting very impatient!  But before you test your garden soil, remember to look at a reliable website for the last frost date for your area before you plant!  I personally like the Old Farmer’s Almanac Site, but there are several others:

      http://www.almanac.com/content/frost-chart-united-states

      Soil testing:

      Your state’s Ag extension document will tell you how to collect the proper soil samples from your soil, as well as what tests they will do for a standard fee.  For more detailed information see the following site for UT Agriculture Extension Service for soil testing:

      https://ag.tennessee.edu/spp/Pages/soiltesting.aspx

      There are two ways to test the soil in TN: by acreage or per 100 feet of garden space for a garden an acre or less. We recommend that you test by 100 feet, unless you have many acres and multiple large crops.   In Tennessee, the UT Ag Extension tells us to take ten samples six inches deep around your garden. Place in a five gallon bucket, mix it really well, then take a subsample after its mixed up, take it to your lab, and they will test it for you.

      Standard soil tests provide information on the levels of phosphorus and potassium/potash in your soil. The report will typically include recommendations for improving soil fertility, and you can ask to have the recommendations focus on organic solutions.

      The UT Ag Extension soil-testing document says: “The Basic soil test includes soil pH, buffer value, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium all for the price of $7.00 per sample. The Basic Plus soil test is all the above with zinc, manganese, iron, copper, sodium and boron for $15.00. Pre-side dress nitrate (PSNT), Sulfate Sulfur (NH4OAc), organic matter and soluble salts is also offered.  Soil test nutrients (Basic and Basic Plus) are extracted using Mehlich 1 and are designed for mineral, inorganic soils thus not suitable for bark or peat-based mixes.

      If your growing material is highly organic, a container media analysis is recommended.  The Container Media Test is mainly useful to greenhouse growers in determining fertility of soil-less mixtures. Turnaround is typically 1 to 2 business days (for routine Basic or Plus) and results are routinely mailed but can be e-mailed or faxed.   Test results are used to formulate research-based, cost effective lime and fertilizer recommendations specific to the type of crop or plant and yield desired. To assist growers with their soil fertility needs, Extension county agents are available statewide to help with any management decisions related to soil test recommendations.”

      Side note:  On the top right hand side of your soil test report is the person in charge of the Department of Testing and their contact information.  They are VERY HELPFUL and will explain the report to you.  When you receive your first report, it may seem a little like a foreign language…so don’t hesitate to call.  

      When to Test Your Soil

      For perennial crops – orchards, pasture, Christmas trees, alfalfa, grass seed, and so on, you should test your soil before planting (preferably at least several months before), so that you have time to lime the soil and have it mix with the existing soil before planting your crop.   Limestone reacts slowly with the soil, so it’s important when adding lime to your oil to leave enough lead-time before planting.   For annual crops, such as vegetables, test your soil every spring before planting for the season.

      Happy Gardening!!!

      For more tips on gardening follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stoneycreekfarmtennessee/
      and Pinterest (‘For the Garden’) https://www.pinterest.com/leighfunderburk/