Horn Farm Happenings – March 31, 2023

The Story Behind the Tubes

If you’ve driven past the Horn Farm lately you may have noticed an unusual amount of plastic; the landscape is dotted with rows and clusters of tree tubes.

Although they are an eyesore, these temporary tubes are placeholders for a long-term vision: a diverse farm-scale ecosystem that benefits our wildlife and community. 

We’ve been working hard over the past 5 years to restore the Horn Farm back to optimal health. The tree tubes are just part of the big picture and help to protect young saplings from deer pressure.

In some areas, we transformed degraded farmland into multifunctional riparian buffers. In other areas, we are reclaiming overgrown woodlots that suffer from low levels of ecological diversity, are choked by vines and invasives, and are ultimately inaccessible to humans and wildlife.

This has been the focus of our latest project, just north of the farmhouse (thanks a very determined board member, Cindy Pizziketti, and funding from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation). By removing prolific non-native trees, shrubs, and vines, our staff and volunteers are making space for a new edible restoration landscape, inspired by a forest garden design.

What’s a forest garden you ask? A forest garden is a low-maintenance, sustainable, food production system designed to mimic woodland ecosystems. Using this same design concept, we are establishing an edible restoration landscape filled with native and edible perennials including: chestnut, hickory, American plum, apple, pear, pecan, serviceberry, black cherry, hackberry, and mulberry.

Sound interesting? We have a few ways to learn more and get involved:

Hope to see you at the farm!

Welcome Greenhouse Intern: Sylvia Mote

Sylvia is currently pursuing her B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy at Wilmington University. She has a diverse background and is most proud of her two years of AmeriCorps service and two seasons with the USDA Forest Service. Through these programs she performed work in conservation, disaster relief, small scale farming, food education, and more. Sylvia is excited about the Horn Farm Center’s mission because it blends her interests in the food system and ecology.

Sylvia will be helping our greenhouse operations run smoothly this spring. In addition to learning the ins and outs of organic seed starting and propagation, our interns will play an integral role in preparing for the Horn Farm Center’s 11th Annual Plant Sale on May 6th from 9am to 3pm.

One Month Until the Plant Sale!

The buzz in our greenhouse can’t be beat as we continue to grow and prepare for the 11th annual Horn Farm Plant Sale, taking place on May 6th from 9am to 3pm.

Check out this video link to see a timelapse of our busy bees working in the greenhouse!

We’re also seeking community members to assist throughout the day. Volunteers are invited to join us for a shift or help for the full day.

Mark your calendars for the 11th annual Plant Sale at the Horn Farm, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Recipes Wanted: Community Cookbook

Horn Farm Center is a people-powered organization. As we approach our 20th Anniversary in 2024, we are looking for new ways to celebrate those who make the Horn Farm Center what it is today.

That’s why we’re compiling a cookbook – to highlight the creativity, stories, and flavor of our community.

Do you have a unique recipe to share? Click here to contribute to the Horn Farm Community Cookbook!

A Few Community Garden Plots Available

With spring just arriving and registrations closing this week, we have a small number of community garden plots still available for the 2023 growing season.

Each plot measures approximately 20′ x 20′ and is part of a garden “neighborhood” free of harmful herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. Our gardeners take to the soil for a variety of reasons: quality family time, cost savings, eating fresh, canning and preserving, outdoor exercise, meeting other local gardeners, and deepening their relationship with the earth.

Click here to Register.

Celebrate Spring with Fungi

Starting Sunday, April 23rd, join us at the Horn Farm Center for a brand new series spanning the fascinating world of fungi. From human health to ecological revitalization, we’ll spend four unique sessions celebrating the incredible versatility, promise, and mystery of nature’s great recyclers.

Registrations are open for individual sessions or the full series. The topics we’ll cover across the series are:

  •  Session 1 (4/23/23): Introduction to Mycology
  •  Session 2 (4/29/23): Medicinal and Culinary Uses of Fungi
  •  Session 3 (5/13/23): Mushroom Cultivation
  •  Session 4 (5/27/23): Ecological and Alternative Uses for Fungi

Join us on Sunday, April 23rd at 10AM for the start of the Spring Fungi Series led by Niles Lavin and Ariane Leitzel from the Eastern Penn Mushroomers.

Click here to learn more and register.