urban farm

The History of Our Farm by Michelle Newman Brady

Our Farm Today

Our Farm Today

Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers, as it currently operates, was founded in February of 2012 by Miranda Duschack and Karen “Mimo” Davis.  The South St. Louis City farmstead is located seven miles south of the St. Louis Gateway Arch and dates to 1870.  In 1905, the farm was purchased by the Held family.  For three consecutive generations, the Held’s farmed the property in vegetables and flowers for sale in St Louis.  In 1925 they opened a retail florist shop, and by the 1950’s were operating several glass greenhouses, one of which still stands. 

Held Florist: The retail shop!

The property shrunk over the years as pieces were sold off for development.   In the mid-1990s the Held’s sold the business.  The property changed hands several times until Urban Buds purchased it in 2012 with the intention of continuing the farming tradition.  The land totals about an acre, one glass greenhouse remains as does the former florist shop.  The rehab on these distressed structures continues.  The side growing yard benefited from its years of dormancy, and at the time of tillage soil tests placed it at a stellar 8% organic matter.   Now the property is planted in flowers, 70 different varieties are grown annually.

Honey Bees Fly on a Warm January Day by Michelle Newman Brady

A warm winter day is the perfect time to complete a quick inspection of beehives.  After weeks of no signs of life from the hive one begins to wonder if everything is okay in there.  Are they still alive?  Did they run out of honey? On Jan 14, 2016 the temperature was 63 degrees F, the sun was out, and the bees from all three hives were flying.  What a relief!  Honey bees cluster when the outside air temperature drops below 55 degrees F, they form a tight ball around the queen and shiver to stay warm.  Given enough food, a large enough cluster, and a dry environment honey bees can survive in temperatures as low as -40 degrees F, or so we remember hearing.  However, cleansing flights are necessary for the bees to maintain their health.  Honey bees are fastidious insects and won’t defecate in the hive, so they take advantage of warmer weather do to, um, cleanse.  Happily, Miranda left at least two full honey supers on each hive in the fall so each hive has enough food to make it until the first trees bloom spring, at least we hope so!  We will check them again on another warm day and if they are running low of honey we will supplemental feed with pure cane sugar.  So far so good!