Produce & Flowers

Troublesome Creek Farm

Owner: Erin France

Address:
Lexington, GA

Web site: http://www.troublesomecreekfarm.com

Application Date: 2022-05-02

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
I'd like to have the outside accountability of the Certified Naturally Grown program so that customers and clients can have additional confidence in the quality of the produce. I'd like to keep the application on my website to be transparent with people about how I grow things and why.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
no
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
no
Have you ever been denied certification? *
no
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
From other farmers and farmer's market managers.
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? *
I attended and completed the Master Gardener program after years of interest in small-scale gardening. Looking for a career switch, I started working part-time on a non-certified organic farm six years ago. I worked for them for a year and a half and experienced a business implementing good growing practices, but without certifications they were limited in where they could sell their produce. I attended a training session in handling on-farm produce from the Produce Safety Alliance during a a farming conference in Chattanooga in 2018. I moved to a full-time grower position at a non-organic commercial greenhouse operation. I was responsible for an acre large greenhouse. Though it was not organic, I did learn how to grow plants. Nearly two years later, I moved to a certified organic farm as their Produce Manager. I worked there for six months before leaving to start my own farm. Though this is not the typical experience of many growers, I think it shows my drive and determination to become a successful CNG farm.

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
1/2
Number of above acreage that you own: *
1/2
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
0
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
no
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
1/4 acre
Fruit Crops:
1/4 acre
Hay:
0
Grains/Beans:
0
Sugarbush:
0
Other Acreage:
0
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *











Please Specify Any Other Items:
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: *
No till system
Do you use Cover Crops? *
yes
If yes, please list: *
Vetch, white clover, buckwheat
Do you use Compost? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
Purchased -- food waste compost from Athens-Clarke County composting On farm
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". *
2 - 4 inches deep per row
Do you use Manure? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
On farm goats and chickens
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". *
Roughly 20 percent of compost. Then that compost is used 2-4 inches per row.
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
I add manure to the compost year-round
Do you apply any non-composted Manure within 120 days of veg-crop harvesting? *
no
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. *
Alaska Fish Fertilizer - 5 percent nitrogen - 1 percent phosphorus - 1 percent potassium and other trace amount of minerals. Made of fish emulsion. Neptune's Harvest - 2 percent nitro gram - 3 percent phosphorus - 1 percent potassium and other trace amount of minerals. Made of fish emulsion and seaweed.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
no
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
no
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
yes
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. *
Common weeds include: Bermuda grass, Dandelions, Dock, Annual Bluegrass, Spurge, Chickweed, Crabgrass and Wild violets - to name a few. When I started the garden I placed cardboard on top of the soil and then place compost on top of the cardboard. That gave me a head start on the weeds. Now, I use a combination of cardboard (specifically around edges and in some of the more persistent Bermuda grass areas) and pine mulch that I mulch myself from trees I cut myself on the property. I try to keep the rows cut with a weed eater. Complete hand-weeding and stirrup hoeing in the growing areas. I'm also experimenting with planting large ornamental and beneficial plants around the perimeter of the garden to keep Bermuda grass from coming in from the yard. It's worked well so far and I plan to expland my plantings in the fall.
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. *
Common insect challenges include: Whiteflies, flea beetles, Hornworms, cutworms, general caterpillars, cabbage moths and fire ants. The whiteflies use the invasive privet as their main base at the farm. I cut down a lot of privet in the winter and have noticed a real reduction in the number of whiteflies this spring. I plant on continuing that. I use trap crops for the flea beetles, mostly old boy choy varieties that bolt too quickly in the summer heat. This makes a great trap crop because I can keep the flea beetles contained, harvest the ugly, holey box choy and then feed the whole thing to the chickens, who eat leaves and beetles. I hand pick off hornworms every day or every other day off tomatoes and pepper plants. Those also go to the chickens. I planted a wild flower garden and leave self-seeded cilantro plants around the borders of the garden to attract beneficial insects. I put up bluebird boxes and other bird boxes near the garden and plant on putting another bird bath closer to the garden this year. The birds have done a great job picking bugs out of freshly weeded garden soil. I see plenty of lady bugs and lady beetles in my garden and whenever there's an aphid outbreak I can nearly always find land bugs or beetles near by controlling the population. I have used diatomaceous earth in the past on particularly stubborn fire ant hills, and might have to use it again in the future for hard to move hills. I have found that constantly disturbing the mound, shoveling or letting water hose run on it - especially when the ants have eggs about to hatch usually sets them off on finding a new home elsewhere than the garden. I use the diatomaceous earth on a dry, non-windy non-wet afternoon, shoveling the ants around and the pouring it on the most affected spots.
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. *
Diseases I've encountered include mildew, tomato leaf curl, and sooty rust. I use drip irrigation on my rows, so some diseases are prevented through that form of irrigation. I also keep my plants trimmed where necessary to keep continuous air flow and prevent rot and mildew. I also plan to rotate crops to keep potential diseases from coming back year after year. I clip leaves with the leaf curl. The leaf rust comes from a fungus that sets up shop after the whiteflies leave their honeydew. Better control of the whiteflies will help curtail the sooty rust.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
Well water
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
no
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *
no

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 search through five or six various catalogues to find the most interesting varieties. I purchase organic when I can, but always make sure to avoid genetically modified seeds, or chemically treated seeds.
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
no
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
no
Do you grow your own transplants? *
yes
Do you purchase potting soil, or do you mix your own on the farm? *
Purchase
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
I use food scraps compost from the Athens-Clarke County composter mix with garden soil. I also use Miracle Grow Performance Organics. I used four bags this year to help start the most delicate of seeds.
Are all of your transplants grown according to CNG standards, without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
yes
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. *
N/A
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
no
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
no
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
yes
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. *
To the South, there is a highway about 50 yards away. There are some pine trees and I planted a hedge row this year to help with the noise and pollution from the highway. On the other side of the highway is 350 acres of hunting land. To the North, there's more than 30 acres of hunting land. To the West, there's a residence more than 100 yards away, but there are pine trees, a small copse, and electrical power lines between the farm and the next house. To the east, more than 100 yards away, is a neighbor who is currently tilling a field, it appears for small scale agricultural use. There is no large scale conventional farming closely the property -- that I know of.

Agreements

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'm excited to take this step with my farm and business!