Produce & Flowers

Sandy Spring Gardens

Owner: Tom Farquhar

304 Lethbridge Ct.
Ashton, MD 20861
Montgomery County

Mailing Address:
Sandy Spring Gardens
304 Lethbridge Ct
Ashton, MD 20861

daytime phone: (240) 357-2609
evening phone: (240) 357-2609
Web site:

Application Date: 2018-03-07

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
This is a new farm operation, located in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and we want to demonstrate that open land in the suburbs (large lawns and other open spaces) can support a successful, hyper-local vegetable-growing business that creates wonderfully nutritious and delicious food that is free of the residues of synthetic chemical poisons and fertilizers. Our practices are consistent with the requirements of the National Organic Program (NOP), but we see "Certified Naturally Grown" as a complimentary form of recognition that will communicate to the public our sustainable growing methods that is are essential to the health of our soils and our customers.
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? *
From many producers in our area.
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: *
2.2 acres
Number of above acreage that you own: *
.1 acres
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
2 acres
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
2.2 acres
Fruit Crops:
Other Acreage:
1000 sq. ft. in flowers
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *

Please Specify Any Other Items:
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:

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
Broadfork, wheel hoe, and BCS 2-wheel tractor with rototiller and cultivator. Initial tillage will be achieved by means of tractor-drawn chisel plow, sub-soiler, and rototiller.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
Winter rye in fall of 2017, but have procured quantities of buckwheat, red clover, winter rye, and Johnny's Spring Cover Crop mixture for use in 2018
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
On farm grass clippings, purchased mushroom soil, Leafpro from Maryland Dept. of Environment, on-farm leaves, and horse manure from stables adjacent to farm.
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". *
1/2" across 1/2 acre. Cover crops on remainder to add organic material to soil
Do you use Manure? *
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
small stable, adjacent to farm. I have reviewed with neighbor that there is no treatment of pasture with herbicides or fertilizers.
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". *
ten wheelbarrow loads per 1000 sq. ft. on 1/2 acre. The remainder gets no manure.
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
all manure is hot composted for at least 6 weeks before fall application
Do you apply any non-composted Manure within 120 days of veg-crop harvesting? *
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. *
To get started, one application of limestone, rock phosphate, greensand, feather meal, Sul-po-mag (sulfate of potash-magnesia), all in accordance with soil test recommendations, and all NOP compliant. Future amendments will be based on fall soil test.
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. *
We cut down high weeds with bushhog in November 2017, and so anticipate considerable weed pressure in the first full growing season on this land. 10,000 sq. ft. of silage tarps have been applied throughout February to part of the land. Buckwheat, clover, rye cover-crop sowing in late March is planned on ground that will be planted in warm-season vegetables. Cultivator toolbar pulled by 2-wheel tractor, wheel hoe, and hand cultivation are primary means of weed management once crops are in the beds. We are using 30" beds, some with landscape fabric, some with paper, some with plastic... as experiments that will permit us to focus on the most successful weed-management strategy.
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. *
In our fall crops, cabbage looper moth larvae were our greatest challenge. We combine hand-picking and Dipel (BT) spray as our control methods, as well as Agribon row-covers (Remay) to prevent access to the plants. Row covers will be used for lettuce to protect from flea beetles. Some beds will be planted in beneficials to attract predators, including birds and wasps. Once our 2018 growing season is underway, we anticipate that we will see the usual suspects: Mexican bean beetle, cucumber beetles, squash borers, corn ear-worm, etc.. Any insecticides in our operation will be OMRI approved for organic production.
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. *
In the fall garden we suffered from a viral wilt in the cucumbers. We will be protecting cucumbers from beetles with row covers, as well as drip irrigation to avoid wetting leaves as much as possible. Drip irrigation will also be important for tomatoes to avoid foliar diseases.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We have access to two wells and public water for irrigation.
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? *
Johnny's Selected Seeds and Chocolate and Tomatoes Farm are our only suppliers of plugs or plants. All plants are Certified Organic.
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. *
Our fields are located 200 yards from the road. On the east, 100-yards from our ground, there is a 1-acre conventional field that was in sorghum last season. The conventional grower uses no sprays on his sorghum. I believe that low-till winter wheat is now in that field. That field is in an entirely different watershed from our field, with no run-off potential. In this suburban area, the conventional farmer is very conservative in his use of sprays, precisely because of drift potentials. On the other side there is a suburban lawn and I am confirming with that landowner the specifics of any applications that may be made there, but it is 20 yards from our operation.


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:
I am converting a number of different plots of open land to vegetable production. Each has been free of conventional agriculture for 3 years or more. If previously in lawn grasses, I have confirmed with landowners that their was no application of chemical fertilizers or pesticides for at least three years. My primary location will be at an 11-acre farm with barn and sheds for equipment. My two-acre plot is there. I also have 5000 sq. ft. under production on a lot that I own nearby, another 5000 sq. ft. on a neighboring plot, and finally a small 1000 sq. ft. with another neighbor. All plots require 8 ft. deer fencing, which I have installed / am installing, as well as metal wire fencing around the base to prevent groundhogs from entering the growing areas.