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Posted on May 28, 2021 at 4:11 PM by Nicole Warren
Pierce Conservation District
Nia Pagador at her Garden Flowers Farm in Puyallup, WA Photo By Rocio Miller
Blog by Rocio Miller on May 2021
In 2018 Nia Pagador purchased Garden Flowers Farm in Puyallup for her parents, Zong and Leema Cha. Her parents are farmers from Laos, Hmong community members in Pierce County. Farming is part of what they have done all their lives, and it was important for Nia to find a place in Pierce County for her parents to continue farming. However, as her parents got older and the work became more than what they both could take, Nia and her husband had to come to the farm to help. It was overwhelming for Nia as her farming skills were limited. Seeing how much work is needed to maintain the farm was more than she expected. Nia needed help fast and needed to find lots of resources. She also had one big problem, in one area on her farm, the raspberries they had planted were dying off. Her first thought was fertilizing. As she did some research online, she saw on Instagram that PCD was offering a fertilizing workshop. However, Nia had some questions.
She did not know if PCD helps all farmers. She thought that PCD might only help big farm businesses.
Nia still contacted PCD and attended one of the workshops. To her surprise, Nia learned that PCD helps all farmers, no matter if you are new to farming, have many years under your belt, or your farm is small or big. PCD is the place to get so much support and resources. Nia was so glad she found PCD.
Garden Flowers Farm, the area on the left thriving, the right is not so much.
Photo by Rocio Miller
How did PCD help Nia?
A PCD Farm Team member visited Nia’s farm to take a look at the area where the raspberries were dying. PCD suggested that soil testing is the best way to determine the correct rate, timing, placement, and source of fertilizers or amendments for your particular crop and site conditions. Soil sampling was done, and it was the first good information Nia has received that relieved some of her stress. In the meantime, while waiting for lab results, PCD provided endless resources to Nia. Resources on blueberry, raspberry, and flower production, WSDA Small Farms/Direct Marketing program, no-till resources, and pest management.
Nia has learned so much from all of what PCD has emailed her. Also, knowing that she can reach out to other local farmers and has PCD there when she needs help provides much relief. She can now help her parents have a sustainable farm that provides plenty of beautiful flowers and delicious fruits to the community of Puyallup.
Nia has learned that PCD helps all farmers. PCD has so many resources that she is benefiting from. The Puyallup community and PCD have become part of her farming family. She knows that PCD is here for the community and the people.
Nia mentioned, “The best gain I have received from PCD is all the resources they have provided.”
Resources from PCD Nia found helpful:
WSDA Small Farms/Direct Marketing:
> Here is the link to an OR flower farmer who practices no-till/tarping and has some great videos.
> short video on tarping, https://theurbanfarmer.co/product/silage-tarps/
> Here is a newish no-till market garden podcast that is wonderful—there is a link to their no-till flowers podcast here.
> And here are links to a recent WSU no-till symposium,
Organic No-Till Symposium Part I – Organic No-Till Systems, Livestock Integration, and Novel Cover Crop Planting
Organic No-Till Symposium Part II – Tarping in Organic No-Till Systems and Pacific Northwest Tarping/Occulation Strategies
Integrated Pest Management links:
> Is this what you have on your foliage crop near the blueberries? https://www.growveg.com/pests/us-and-canada/black-bean-aphid/
> http://pnwhandbooks.org/insect, nice for ID and conventional control.
> Johnny’s seed has some nice charts listing what organic options they find effective. See charts under “Pest and Disease Control.”
> Arbico is a very comprehensive site with some good guidance and a wide range of products,
For more information about PCD or the FREE soil testing, workshops, and resources. Click on the link.
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Pierce Conservation District