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Simply Us Farm at the Sanford Farmer’s Market on Saturday

We plan to have a booth at the Sanford Farmer’s on Saturday, Nov 11th, 2023. Come join us and grab some of our wonderful honey! The market is open from 8:30 AM – 1 PM. The address is 115 Chatham St, Sanford, NC 27330, USA

If you can’t make it to the market, we can ship honey or you can do a porch pickup in Sanford. Click on the image below to place your order.

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Great Day Teaching How to Prune and Plant Elderberries

It is always wonderful when we get the opportunity to teach a skill from the farm. We had a great time and tried our best to answer some really thoughtful questions.

How We Plant Elderberries

Step 1 – Cuttings

We start off by trimming away branches from the elderberry plant that either:

– get in the way of the lawnmower by sticking out in the grass row
– grow inward and won’t receive enough light because of the vertical branches

Keep in mind that you can very aggressively prune elderberries so there isn’t a wrong approach

Each cutting should have at least 4 nodes. A node is the joint where roots (underground) or branches (above ground) will grow from. 2 nodes to plant under the ground and 2 nodes above the ground. The distance between the bottom nodes determines how deep you have to plant the cutting, so keep that mind when you select cuttings to plant.

The cutting should be at least the size of a pencil. Larger cuttings are ok, but the distance between the nodes will increase and the hole for planting will need to increase as well. The length of the cutting can be anywhere from 2 to 4 feet long. Longer cuttings are nice because they are easier to see as the grass around them grows and you are less likely to mow them over in the spring. This is the voice of experience speaking.

You also want to wait until the plant is no longer actively growing to make your cuttings.

Step 2 – Preparation

Dig a hole for each plant or use a piece of rebar and a hammer to form a hole that you can drop the woody cutting into. We place the holes 2 feet part. The distance between the holes i driven by how dense you want the elderberry plants as they grow. We’ve seen suggestions that varied from 2 to 6 feet between plants. We’ve had good success planting potted elderberries at 6 feet apart. Since we are planting cuttings this time, we are reducing the distance to 2 feet.

Step 3 – Companion Plants

One of our goals for the perennials on the farm it to do companion planting and create guilds. This is very much a permaculture principle. This year we are experimenting with planting comfrey at the same time as the elderberries. The planting pattern is:

– elderberry
– 2 foot spacing
– elderberry
– 1 foot spacing
– comfrey
– 1 foot spacing
– repeat

We have also sewn the following cover crop on either side of the elderberry row:

– winter peas
– daikon
– clover

We’ll terminate the cover crop later. The cover crop will help prepare the root bed for the elderberries. We’ll continue to see clover as a companion crop. The comfrey should spread over time and fill in and around the elderberry and also suppress weeds and grass around the elderberries.

We planted comfrey cuttings from Perma Pastures Farm https://permapasturesfarm.com/ . They have a wonderful Youtube channel and provide great customer service. We highly recommend them.

Step 4 – Planting

We used a shovel, rebar and hammer to plant the elderberries and comfrey, careful to insert the elderberry deep enough to have 2 nodes below grade. The comfrey root cutting needs to be placed in a horizontal orientation approximated 1 inch deep. Make sure everything is covered over.

The ground was wet and it was raining while we were planting so there wasn’t a big need to water the plantings.

Step 5 – Wait

The cover crop will grow this fall, but we don’t expect to see much activity from the elderberries or comfrey until spring.

Goij Berries

We ended the day by picking our fill of goji berries. Those berries are in the dehydrator now.

Elderberry Cuttings

We have elderberry cuttings available now if you want to start your own elderberry plants. Contact us here to order. The cuttings are seasonal and available from approximately October through early March.

Check back with us

We plan to post pictures in spring to show the progress. Joining our mailing list is a great way to keep in touch and follow along

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Changes to the Farm

A farm can be beautiful and functional. We have put a lot of emphasis on getting the orchard and food forest planted and growing crops for the past 2 years. This week we put the emphasis on improving the property and doing some cleanup.

Hargrove Lawn Care in Bear Creek, NC did a wonderful job helping to move brush and clear out areas so we can come back and plant pollinators. They also took out trees and bushes to make maintaining the property easier. They also opened up a spot for a fire circle and chairs. Its amazing what a trained operator with a skid steer can do in a day. Now we need to get planting clover and pollinators in these areas.

It will be nice to have a spot for a fire circle with room for a big group. The trees are out of the way so we can start bringing the rocks over and build the fire circle.

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Trellis for Goji Berry and Raspberry

The goji berry plants are really growing. Nice to trellis both goji berries plants and the raspberries. We actually sampled our first blueberries on the farm today. That was a nice treat and milestone. It was nice having a few blackberries as well.

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Bees on the Farm

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to have bees and check to see if they are producing honey, then check out the video

The bees pollinate the fruit bearing plants and crops while they are producing honey. The honey actually takes on a different taste depending on which plants are blooming.

Good news – we will have honey soon


We partner with Blue Truck Honey to have bees on our farm. They are in Apex, NC

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Camping on the Farm

It was nice to have a weekend where we just enjoyed camping on the farm, without working. The grilled creation was cooked over the fire in the black cast iron cookers. The shell was made of corn dog roll with hot dogs, chili and onions inside. Tasty!

The Mayapples are growing. We never get any of the fruit because the critters always beat us to it.

You can camp on the farm too, just visit

https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US/land/north-carolina-simply-us-farm-and-camping-retreat-zwjhp868

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Mulch, Mulch, Mulch and Soggy Potatoes

The last few weeks have brought us rain every week. We had hoped to start planting this week, but it was just to wet to prep the beds for the winter squash, pollinators and summer cover crops. Instead we worked on planting olive trees and a Yaupon holly tree. We also trimmed the grass in the blackberry beds and put down mulch in part of the blackberry beds. We also started putting mulch around the mulberry trees and a few of the elderberry bushes in the food forest area.

We planted comfrey around the trees and bushes in the food forest area as we put the woodchip mulch down. It will take several work days to put all the mulch down and plant comfrey, but we are off to good start.

The garlic is putting out scapes. Those are great for cooking. The taste is similar to a green onion.

The bees are staying busy. We hope to have our first harvest of honey in June.

The blackberries in this area are ready for summer
Potatoes are coming up in some areas, but not in others. Having a wet spring can be difficult with potatoes
The blueberries are growing nicely
Bees are staying busy
The garlic is putting out scapes. The scapes were cut and will end up in dinner
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After the Hurricane Passed Through

Thankfully the damage was minimal. We did lose a few trees, but nothing major. Here are some pictures from after the hurricane passed through. The winter garden is coming right along and it chilly outside, just like it should be in October.

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The Last 2 Weeks in Pictures