Turtle Bend Farm is a sustainable vegetable farm in Polk County, Georgia. Adam and Mecca Lowe are growing vegetables on approximately 7 acres of family farmland using ecological methods without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. Our goal is to produce clean, healthy, fresh vegetables for our local communities while protecting and enhancing our local natural and social resources.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Late June Update

Well things have been very busy over at Turtle Bend Farm this month. The top picture is Mecca and her niece, Alyssa, in the field of blooming buckwheat at sunset. The bottom picture are the freshly staked and tied heirloom tomato plants.

Adam has working sun-up to sun-down this month to get the farm running and he has succeeded! The plants are about to catch up with us, but until then, here's our mid-June farm update:


Despite the fact that the rest of the continental United States has received record rainfall for the month of June, Northwest Georgia has not. East Tennessee, North Carolina, and Northeast Georgia have been hammered with afternoon thundershowers, while 50 miles to the south Turtle Bend Farm has seen no June rain. The farm field has literally received 0.3 inches of rain for the month of June in a month that normally gets around 4-5 inches of rain. To make matters worse, temperatures have remained in the low to mid nineties everyday. Needless to say, irrigating our two acres of vegetables has become a time consuming task. Fortunately, the drip irrigation that we have installed beside the tomatoes, peppers, and beans conserve labor, time and water. The dry conditions have forced us to water crops such as corn and sorghum, which can usually be drought resistant. We do not have a good system for overhead watering yet, so Adam has been moving the tanks and the water pump around the field in order to irrigate with overhead sprayers. If we continue without rain the irrigation system will have to be revamped so that it is not so time consuming and laborious. The creek levels have dropped from the lack of rain but are still maintaining their summer flow.


Even though we got a late start in our first season, everything looks good and we are fairly close to our first big harvest. We are planning to attend our first markets next week, possibly on July 4th. The heirloom tomatoes look good and are tied to tobacco sticks we picked up while visiting family in North Carolina. It was a time consuming task so hopefully it will support the weight of the tomatoes. We will have to figure out a better system for next year, when we anticipate doing twice as many tomatoes. Our bell pepper plants are heavy with green peppers and some are starting to turn their beautiful shades of yellow and orange. We will likely bring some green bell’s to sell next week while we let most of them ripen on the plant. We will also have a good first crop of green beans, squash and zucchini. Our black-eyed peas are looking extraordinary with their dark green leaves and yellow flowers. We aren’t sure if we will have the time to actually shell the peas for our customers or if they will just have to do that on their own. We have considered investing in a pea sheller but we have heard that they can damage the delicate peas.


In anticipation for our fall season we ordered plenty of winter squash like butternut, pumpkins, and spaghetti so they can be ready in October. Winter squash are planted in the summer and stay on the vine till it dries in the fall. They are called “winter” squash because they will keep through most of the winter. We have also been keeping up with our successions of green beans so that we can have tender, young green beans for our customers throughout the entirety of their season. We have also recently planted a crop of sorghum sugar cane, which will hopefully provide a small bit of molasses and a good seed crop for next year’s larger sorghum patch. If we have any extra molasses we will pass that on to our customers this year, and next year we plan to have a larger quantity.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Local Harvest Website

We have created a listing for our farm on a website that has been successful at creating a database of local farmers, farmers markets and restaurants that produce, sell or buy locally produced foods. Local Harvest is a good tool for anyone looking for sources of local food. You can see our listing here and view the list of crops we are growing and see when and where we will be selling them at farmers' markets around our area.

Early June 2009

Our system is set up and is complete with two 275 gallon water tanks, a gas powered pump, drip irrigation, and cool spring-fed creek water. Special thanks to Morgan Hardware, of Rockmart, and their friendly staff for helping us with the proper PVC pipe connections. (wow, that was confusing). Another big thanks to Chaz Holt of Holt Heritage Farm & Supply in Euharlee, GA for his help with ordering our drip irrigation set-up. There were a lot of unknowns when it came to the amount of pressure coming from our tanks to the drip lines but, it is up and working without a problem. So basically the water is pumped into the tank and then gravity and the weight of the water pushes the water through the drip lines which are at the base of each plant. If only we could eventually find an affordable solar powered water pump we would not be using any fossil fuels to irrigate our fields. We will post pictures soon.

Planted and Planting:
We got a late start this year because of the move from Alabama but have been busy to get in everything that we can. So far we have about 300 heirloom tomato plants that are looking really good, 150 sweet and hot peppers, 2 varieties of green beans, various southern peas, sweet potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, black beans, silver queen corn, several types of melons, and swiss chard planted. We got our second round of seeds in yesterday so we are really enjoying watching the rain fall today. We have yet to plant our pumpkins and our sorghum sugar cane. We also have a good crop of buckwheat coming in- we are just using this for a cover crop but we might try to harvest some of it depending on how difficult and laborious it might be without the proper equipment.

We just harvested our first crop of Turtle Bend Farm: Garlic. It is planted and the fall and matures in the late spring and early summer. Most of this garlic will be cured, dried, and used for seed garlic next year so we can have giant harvest and have some for sale. The varieties were artichoke and creole which are suited for warm weather. Special thanks to our first summer intern of the year and long time friend, Zack Pozebanchuck. He is pictured in the bottom photo weeding the garlic plants and Adam is in the middle photo.