Produce & Flowers

Owl's Nest Farm

Owner: Liz Whitehurst

2612 Ritchie Marlboro Rd
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Prince george's County

daytime phone: (434) 962-3518
Web site:

Application Date: 2016-02-12

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
Our farmer-predecessor, Kristin Carbone of Radix Farm, had CNG status on this farmland, and we want to keep it up-to-date. It's important to us to validate our ecologically-responsible practices with the CNG label, which is trusted by our current customers and by the type of customer we hope to attract.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
Word of mouth in the sustainable agriculture world, and via Kristin at Radix Farm.
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? *

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
Number of above acreage that you own: *
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
Fruit Crops:
Other Acreage:
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *

Please Specify Any Other Items:
mushrooms, potentially!
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:
tomato production for Bloody Mary mix by Back Pocket Provisions

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
disk harrow, Grillo walk-behind tractor with rotary plow or rototiller
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
millet, rye, oat, cowpea, field pea, crimson clover, tillage radish, and buckwheat
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
on-farm composted crop residue/kitchen scraps mixed with paper & woodchips, applied as needed by soil test mainly in intensively-cropped high tunnel
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". *
5 gal per 12 ft
Do you use Manure? *
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. *
Midwestern Bio-Ag MicroHume (Ca, S, B, Cu, Mn, Zn, humates), Midwestern Bio-Ag HumaCal (humates, calcium sulfate and calcium carbonate), kelp, boron, Maxicrop liquid seaweed, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, lime, bloodmeal, and/or feathermeal - all added to as indicated by field-specific soil test or as targeted sidedress. Composted kitchen scraps/woodchips may be added to boost organic matter content.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
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. *
Chickweed, pigweed, henbit, grasses, lamb's quarter, and jimsonweed are problems. They are managed primarily by hand cultivation. Some use of flame-weeding and limited tractor cultivation is possible as needed. We have reusable landscape fabric and BioTelo degradable plastic for use when cultivation will not be possible.
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. *
We and our neighbors plant patches of pollinator- and beneficial-insect-attracting flowers and grasses in order to bring balance to the insect ecosystem. We also focus on creating and preserving biologically-active soil, knowing that this microbial diversity provides ample nutrient availability for strong plants, which are their own best defense against insect and disease attack. When these integrated approaches are imperfect, we plan to use physical barriers or mild, naturally-derived controls. Our predecessor farmer had issues with rootworms and maggots, cutworms, cabbage looper and cabbageworm, harlequin bugs, stink bugs, bean beetle, squash bugs, cucumber beetle, aphids, armyworms, and blister beetles. We plan to address the flying beetles with row cover. We will hand-pick slow-moving bugs and visible eggs. We may use Bt for cabbageworms, limited to once per week and only as needed. We may use Safer Insecticidal soap or neem oil for soft-bodied insects, particularly if there is a seedling or high tunnel infestation. If the infestation is bad and not responsive to these controls, we will use pyrethrin in a targeted way. Once or twice per season, we use spinosad on our potatoes and eggplant for control of Colorado potato beetles. For bean beetles, we are testing the use of parasitic wasps.
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. *
See above response to insect challenges for info on our ecosystem approach to disease control. Robust rhizosphere microbial life can limit pathogens, so we will ensure that our soil contains organic matter to support these microbes and that tillage is limited. We practice good field hygiene, removing diseased or decaying material for disposal or active composting, as well as performing maintenance tasks in such a way as to limit vectoring diseases. Our predecessor had issues with black rot, early blight and other tomato diseases, and powdery mildew. When that fails, we will do our best to control the spread of disease with pruning. We will also plant extra crop successions to compensate for expected loss to disease. Damping-off in the greenhouse is controlled with light sprays of garlic, chamomile, and/or cinnamon. Bad blight or other fungal diseases will be controlled with baking soda spray or infrequent copper spray, but this issue is mainly of concern in the high tunnel. Field diseases of this type are not typically controlled, but rather compensated for by passive physical controls (row cover or trellising for air circulation) or by overplanting/succession planting.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We use well water for seed-starting and for watering in transplants. We use sand-filtered water from an on-farm pond for our field drip irrigation during the season.
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *

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. *
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
Do you grow your own transplants? *
Do you purchase potting soil, or do you mix your own on the farm? *
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
Are all of your transplants grown according to CNG standards, without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
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. *
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
From which sources do you buy transplants? *
sweet potato slips from Jones Farm (NC), strawberry plants from Nourse
How have you confirmed with your supplier that the transplants are grown without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
Please list any bought-in transplants not grown according to CNG standards. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown (except, in the case of perennials, after twelve months of CNG cultivation). *
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
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, a 20 yd wooded buffer separates us from a neighbors yard (no sprays used). To the west, a 30 ft tree and scrub buffer separates us from conventionally grown corn/soy fields. To the east is a 200' tree and scrub buffer area. To the north is a 30 ft grass buffer, then a wooded strip that separates us from additional corn/soy fields. One field is adjacent to a gravel driveway.


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:
We have had success growing and marketing under the Naturally Grown label, and we plan to keep it up!