Produce & Flowers

Ocean Natural Farm

Owner: Michael Murdoch

341 J. Bell Lane
Newport, NC 28570
Carteret County

Mailing Address:
415 Wildwood Road
Newport, NC 28570

daytime phone: (252) 726-5808

Application Date: 2021-01-03

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
I have been gardening organically at this site for over 10 years and have been gardening organically for over 30 years in total. I am a small producer trying to make my soil and environment better. My farm is small - only about 1 1/2 acres in active production and 5 acres total. I have been an active environmentalist since the early 1970's. I built a barn on the property and installed an off-grid solar system and I believe I am the only solar powered farm in eastern NC producing vegetables using solar power exclusively. The main reason that I would like to be CNG Certified is that I would like to be associated with other like minded growers.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
Through an internet search and by my association with an environmental friend, Jack Spruill, who is also a CNG member.
How did you learn to farm, and for how long have you been farming for market? What has prepared you to farm successfully according to CNG standards? *

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
Number of above acreage that you own: *
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
1 acre
Fruit Crops:
.5 acre
Other Acreage:
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *

Please Specify Any Other Items:
My main crops are: asparagus, watermelons, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, okra, blueberries, blackberries (planted this year), cantaloupes, carrots, broccoli, kale, lettuce, etc.
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please Specify Other Markets:

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
My soil type consists of mainly Norfolk Sand and generally has very little humus. I till in as much compost as I can and mulch regularly. I am in the process of trying to get a large quantity of compost incorporated into my soil. I do most of my tillage using a rototiller behind a small tractor or a small walk-behind tiller. Most of my work is simply manual hand labor with a hoe or pitchfork. I do not have a frontend loader bucket which limits me. My wife helps some with harvesting but primarily I am a small one person operation working hard each day.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
I grow cover crops each fall and winter primarily Austrian winter peas and some rye. I plan to use some buckwheat in the future
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
Mostly created myself using locally sourced (no treated wood or chemicals) woodchips and sawdust. I mix material mostly by hand and add "green" materials to make them compost faster. I mainly use time to cure my materials as I have lots of piles around waiting to be used when ready. I have used some cow manure in the past but it was well composted and aged and followed CNG guidelines. I am hoping to get a small amount of chicken manure from a neighbor who uses organic methods that I will add to the sawdust and woodchips.
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
8-10 wheel barrow loads of composted wood chips to @1200 sq ft of asparagus. 6-8 wheelbarrow loads of longleaf pine straw on blueberries and blackberries (also @ 1200 sq ft) 10-12 wheel barrows genrally spread out to an acre.
Do you use Manure? *
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
I have not used manure in about 4 years but it cam from a local cattle farm. I do not plan to use any more because of the effort it took. I mixed it with wood chips and sawdust and let it sit a year. I also hope to use a little chicken manure as described above to work into the sawdust.
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
About 250 lbs per acre mixed with compost first. I have not applied any in 4 years.
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
Winter - but not for over 4 years.
Do you apply any non-composted Manure within 120 days of veg-crop harvesting? *
Please list any other brought in fertility sources that you use (specific rock powders, lime, soybean / alfalfa meal, specific purchased pre-mixes, etc)and how often it's used. If you indicate a name brand product, please also specify the ingredient/s. *
# Item Brand Source Analysis Org Purpose Notes 1 Compost Home Yes Add organic humus Only leaves & Vegetables 2 Compost Farm Yes Add organic humus Leaves, straw, sawdust, vegetables, etc 3 Fertilizer Harmony Country Farm & Home 5-4-3 Yes All purpose Fertilizer 4 Woodchips Various Yes Add organic humus Only get from known source, free of treated wood andchemicals. Compost for several months 5 Sawdust Earl's Sawmill Yes Compost Mix with green compost, feather meal, and let rot or age. No treated wood or chemicals 6 Holly-tone Espoma Lowe's 4-3-4 Yes Acidic fertilizer Blueberries Apply only once a year as needed 7 Fish/Seaweed Fert Neptune's Harvest 2-3-1 Yes Add to seed starter and new plants 8 Feather meal Fertilizer Bender Farms (NC) Country Farm & Home 13-0-0 Yes Nitrogen source 9 Lime Soil Doctor Newport Garden Center Yes Raise Ph Use as needed per soil test 10 Potash Crop Production Services Newport Garden Center 0-0-60 Soluable Potash 60% Only used once as needed per soil test.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
Describe your primary weed problems AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual weed challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Nut grass, wild mustard, wild onions, among many others. I start by surface tilling and then use a little cultivation with my 1949 Farmall Cub. Most of my weed control involves hand hoeing and weeding. I also mulch as much as I can, I do not use any herbicides.
Describe your primary insect challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual pest challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Corn earworms, squash bugs, vine bores, etc. I manage these by trying to get them early before populations explode. Mostly, I try to destroy the egg casings early by hand but this has not proven very effective despite my persistence. I have tried planting early and or late to try and decrease numbers. I also plant beneficials such as Zinneas and other flowers to provide habitat for natural predators, also with limited success. And of course I rotate crops. I have used Bt and Neem with very limited success.
Describe your primary disease challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual disease challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
My main disease challenge is fusarium wilt or blight. I try to limit the damage by watering roots only through drip irrigation, making sure there is plenty of air space around the bottoms of the plants, and of course selecting disease resistant varieties of plants, if available. Keeping weeds under control also helps to promote air flow which seems to help also.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
I have a 200 ft well that is powered by a solar pump with (6) 320 watt solar panels. The well has been inspected by the health department and passed for potable water suitable for public consumption. I use drip irrigation during dry periods. I have a rain guage that I check weekly or more often to determine if I need to irrigate.
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

How do you select your seeds? CNG standards call for growers to make a good faith effort to locate organically grown seeds by contacting at least 3 major suppliers. *
I pick varieties that I know grow well in my area and that I have had experience in. I try to get organically grown, non gmo, open-pollinated seeds without chemicals. This was a challenge last year as some seed was not available. I mainly buy from Eden Bros Seed, but I have also bought, in the past from Seed Savers, Burpee, and I check the racks at my local garden centers. I also try to collect my own seeds from plants that I grow where I have only one variety and cross pollination is not a problem. I try to use okra and some flowers from year to year.
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
Do you grow your own transplants? *
Do you purchase potting soil, or do you mix your own on the farm? *
Purchase organic soil potting mixes but have used some of my compost soil.
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
For the last four years I have used Happy Frog Potting soil mix. Happy Frog includes composted forest humus, peat moss, perlite, worm castings, bat guano, humic acid, oyster shell, and dolomitic lime.
Are all of your transplants grown according to CNG standards, without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
If any transplants are not grown according to CNG standards, please list them here. (If they all are, put "N/A".) This produce may not be marketed as Certified Naturally Grown. *
Last year I could not find organic sweet potato "slips" so I used Newport Garden Center for the slips. I also purchased a few tomato and pepper plants - around a dozen each. I did not sell any of these vegetables or claim any to be organic. Will search.
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
From which sources do you buy transplants? *
Newport Garden Center. See note above. Note - Almost all my vegetables are grown from seed - I estimate over 98%. I do have some perennial beds of asparagus, blueberries, blackberries, four plum trees, two figs, and a Japanese type persimmon. All of these perennial beds have been grown organically from their inception. This include
How have you confirmed with your supplier that the transplants are grown without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
Yes - the few plants that I bought (tomato and pepper) were not purported to be organic. All will be this year.
Please list any bought-in transplants not grown according to CNG standards. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown (except, in the case of perennials, after twelve months of CNG cultivation). *
Last year this included sweet potato slips, about a dozen tomatoes, and a dozen peppers. None were sold. All plants grown will be organic or I will not plant them. I am starting earlier looking for sources. My farm is at least 150 miles away from any reliable source of organic plants.
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
Please describe your buffer. Be as specific as possible. On all sides, how far is it from your crops to the next closest use (road, conventional crop, residential yard)? Be sure to specify what is grown on neighboring land that is in agricultural use. For example: To the north and east, a wooded area of at least 100 yards separates us from the neighbor's corn fields, to the south is a fallow field at least 100 yards deep separating us from the road, and to the west about 60 feet separates our crops from a field where conventional corn and soybeans are grown. *
North side is woods (about 10 acres) and no spraying or fertilizing, East side is 20 acres of woods and no spraying or fertilizing, South side is 3 acres owned by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and they have a little community garden and they do not use any harmful chemicals, and on the West side is our 20 ft wide dirt access road and then about 100 feet to houses in the Mirada Bay housing development. These houses are about 200 feet from my farming area. We are on good terms with the property owners there and do not feel there is any contamination coming from that area.


Please indicate your agreement with the following statements by checking the boxes.
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally GrownTM. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one (and hopefully more) Certification Inspection(s) of another farm in my area each year, and that the inspection will NOT be of the same farmer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. I understand that if I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
I look forward to being a part of this group. One of the main reasons I grow organically is that I feel like I am "growing" the soil and putting nutrients and carbon back into the ground. Our Ocean Natural Farm is unique with off-grid solar powered operations. We have hosted several very successful special events including a Farm to Table dinner, a fund raiser for the environment, and have been part of the national solar homes tour (in 2019).