Produce & Flowers

Sharp's at Waterford Farm

Owner: Alexander Harrell

4003 Jennings Chapel Road`
Brookeville, MD 20833
Howard County

daytime phone: (410) 489-2572
evening phone: (410) 489-2572
Web site:

Application Date: 2020-01-24

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
Sharp's realized that there is a growing demand from customers for a CNG nursery business. We would like to adapt our business model to meet that demand. We also prefer to use IPM practices and organic fertilizers to be better stewards of the land. Our farm at large is in preservation, so we do as much as possible to help improve the quality of the land and and we do our best to make sure that our practices serve that goal as well.
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 friends and other growers in the state.
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? *
If yes, how many acres are in conventional agriculture? *
If yes, please list what you are growing conventionally: *
Corn, Soy, Grain, Squash and Pumpkins
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:
We may do hemp, still unsure if this is an option for next year but I figured that I would err on the side of caution during our application.
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:
We are a custom-grow plug operation so most of our business is for garden centers and other farms. We do a small amount of on-farm retail and we also vend at local events such as the Baltimore Herb Festival.

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
We are only applying for certification in our greenhouses, for our bench-grown plugs. No tillage system.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
On farm, from bark and left-over plants in the greenhouses. We also sourced local manure from organic grain-fed horses and aged it for 5 years with our bark. We also incorporate all of our own personal compost into this soil, including all plants left over in our greenhouses at the end of the year. This is the potting soil that we make ourselves. This mix is not used for our plug sheets and trays, but it is used for our large potted plants.
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". *
One wheelbarrow per 107 square feet
Do you use Manure? *
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
Horse 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". *
One wheelbarrow per 53.5 square feet
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
We don't apply to the crops, but we do accept manure and age it for 5 years in large compost piles.
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. *
We tend to use fish emulsion and kelp when necessary, we are not picky about brands and tend to purchase whatever is available at market. We aim to fertigate our plug trays 2-4 times a month, as necessary. We fertigate more frequently in the summer months (once every 7-10 days) and less frequently in the spring / fall months (once every 10-14 days). This is all dependent on temperatures, sunlight, and soil requirements. We will use Lambert's Organic potting mix for our CNG crops. Here is a link to that product:,&mkwid=|dc&pcrid=416316781657&pkw=&pmt=&plc=&prd=LM18OGM,LM18OGM&utm_source=google&utm_term=&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=cpc&slid=&pgrid=96761566474&ptaid=pla-325991452724&gclid=Cj0KCQiAkKnyBRDwARIsALtxe7igZ_Bhc2Db-XZx_pHvK0eQ-TCXJCPWGY7y7Kauao361FKpCyAc6GMaAtPfEALw_wcB We add rock phosphate and green sand, epsom salts, borax, peat, cal-mag-lime, kelp, fish emulsion, and our own plant compost from in the greenhouses to our soil piles. The peat was OMRI-labeled. We test this soil once a year to monitor its progress, and we typically age them for 5 years.
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. *
Our primary weed problems include wood sorrel, chickweed, henbit, and grasses. We typically practice manual weed extraction (weeding with a stirrup hoe, then removing all plant debris) but when weed pressure is too much we will apply our own home-brew of OMRI certified clove oil and citric acid. These are all of the weeds that pop up on the floors of our greenhouse as it is quite easy to track seeds on the bottom of our boots. Every once in a while, a volunteer crop pops up and we also remove those according to the same protocol as weeds.
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 deal with aphids, thrips, fungal gnats and lepidoptera. We release hyper-parasites to help us control the aphids and thrips. For the fungal gnats, we introduce NEMASYS, which is a concentration of nematodes in suspension. Our introduction is as done as a soil soak and as a foliar application. The foliar application helps with thrips. As for the lepidoptera, we rely on BT only when pressure is visible and high. We also release ladybird beetles twice a year to help with our insect population. When necessary, we do spot-applications of pyganic and m-pede insecticidal soap. We do not like to rely on those pesticides because they tend to interrupt our IPM practices at large, which is why those applications are direct and concentrated. We scout our greenhouses 2-3 times a week and we use yellow sticky card traps to monitor our insect populations. These traps are changed every week or two, depending on how many insects we are catching over time. We label these traps with date and location.
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. *
We heat-treat all of our seeds to guarantee they are free of seed-borne diseases. We have combated rhizoctonia solani in the past, and found that good air flow, hot-water seed treatment and proper sterilization of all tools brought down the disease pressure. When hot water treatment is not an option, we will also use a chemical bath for sterilizing seed coats. For this process, we mix a bath of 1:100 oxidate 2.0 and water, then immerse the seeds for 5-10 minutes depending on the crop. For sterilization, we use greenshield and oxidate 2.0. This helps us keep all of our floors and surfaces clean in the greenhouses. We also wash all flats between crops, and for this process we use an oxidate + water bath and then rinse with greenshield. We also find that keeping our floors free of weeds helps us mitigate disease pressure.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
Well water.
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? *
If yes, please list types: *
Because we grow for lots of different farms, some of which are conventional, we may have thiram-coated seeds in our seed stock. *******I am not trying to certify our entire operation as CNG, just a part of it so that I may retain my current customer base. We grow plugs in plug sheets, and ship up to hundreds of flats a day. I am looking to grow our business with our CNG certification. I will not be using thiram-coated seed for CNG production.*******
Please note reason for purchasing treated seed: *
We stock seeds according to our customers needs. We will not be using treated seed for CNG production.
I understand that the use of chemically treated seeds is not allowed under organic and Certified Naturally Grown guidelines. I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe produce grown from treated seeds are Certified Naturally Grown. *
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? *
Hillcrest Nursery, George's tater farm for sweet potato slips, and Nourse to purchase some strawberries and asparagus crowns.
How have you confirmed with your supplier that the transplants are grown without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
Yes and no
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). *
Strawberries from Nourse, asparagus crowns from Nourse,
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 plants are all grown inside of our greenhouses or under shelter. By under shelter, I mean that they are grown on wagons in our barn or inside of cold frames with lids. 40 feet to the west of our greenhouses, there is a massive berm, and on the other side of that berm is a 1 acre pond. 87 feet to the north of our greenhouses, there is a field in conventional rotation. 28 feet to the east of our greenhouses is our driveway, and 105 feet beyond the driveway is a field in conventional rotation. To the south of our greenhouses is our driveway, chemical storage facility, toolshed, and barn.


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 may also be producing hemp plants for customers. I am not sure if this is a CNG crop at all as the industry is currently developing rapidly. Any insight that you may have for us regarding this information is appreciated. We actually do not use any synthetic pesticides or herbicides. We practice IPM as our first and foremost strategy to combat pest pressure. Only when necessary, we use targeted applications of pyganic and BT to manage pest pressure (both of which are OMRI-labeled). For herbicides, we blend OMRI-labeled citric acid with OMRI-labeled clove oil and apply this to our gravel floors when necessary (but we still prefer manual extraction). We never spray herbicides on our plugs or plug trays. We also never spray herbicides around the outside of the greenhouses as we prefer to use a weed-whacker and a mower. So no, there is no risk that there will be any cross-contamination of pesticides and herbicides. As for fertilizers, we mainly rely on fish emulsion and kelp. Some of our conventional customers request that we fertigate with synthetic 20-20-20. We only use that when requested. Since our de facto production process has us using fish emulsion and kelp, we already monitor and manage where fertilizers are applied. Thus, I am confident that we will also be able to successfully prevent cross-contamination of fertilizers. As I mentioned earlier, we will be physically separating the conventional crops from our CNG crops. We also have a very detailed labeling protocol in our greenhouses, and every single plant in our greenhouses is labeled thoroughly. Our CNG crops will also be labeled according to this system. That labeling, paired with physical separation and a designation of specific space make me confident that we can grow CNG crops without crossing conventional inputs.