This growing season has been fantastic!. We have just 3 weeks left in our winter CSA, then onto the work of prepping for the next season/chapter.
Thank you for following our FB page, Instagram page and especially for reading my blog, (sorry for my grammatical errors, in advance) and to ALL of our CSA members, volunteers and supporters everywhere.!!
I'm humbled and thankful.
This next season, 2019 will be the most special and important for me personally.
It will be because I will be offering "classes in action", this is what I am truly passionate about, sharing my many, many years of experience as a farmer, rancher, market gardener, flower grower and CSA Manager with anyone that is interested in learning tried and true techniques. Keep reading..
We are excited to finally complete the first acre in slab wood retainers on the west end, this will fully complete Phase 1 of the market garden which included;
An acre of no-till grow space,
a 750 sq. ft. hoop house, water lines, wash station, microgreens set-up, faucets and fencing.
A few touches this winter in our "down time", and phase 1 will be 100% complete.
Phase 2 will include;
fencing the upper and lower pastures in permanent fencing.
Adding additional space for;
"bio-intensive livestock and crop rotation".
Building another hoop house
Installing additional water system
Building a small greenhouse
**CLASSES IN ACTION**
Are you interested in learning how to restore your soil and increase your overall crop yields?
There are numerous ways we can restore and replenish the soil and protect the atmosphere by sequestering carbon.
Food can be grown in a variety of ways to improve soil. Here on our farm we teach and practice a variety of methods; whole system, no-till, hugelkultur, permaculture;
diect drill, cover crops, composting in place and a stacking method for fruit trees.
We feed the soil, not the plants
The plants uptake the nutrients they need from the soil and some plants and crops are returned to the soil for the cycling of nutrients all over again.
We are not re-inventing the wheel here,
some of these methods have been used with great success all over the world for thousands of years.
However, whole system is a new and cutting edge form of farming and it is my focus.
Classes in action
It is my passion and goal to teach these methods that are incredibly successful.
The whole system farm takes patience and time to develop, it requires discipline, focus as well as intention.
The gardens here at Orchard Creek Farm were build with the intention to be used as a hands-on classroom from the beginning.
There will be opportunities for all levels of experience for both farmers and gardeners to use orchard creek farm as a living classroom, literally "classes in action" for students to see, feel and touch the living soil and witness its symbiotic relationship to the plants and insects, both good and bad.
Soil is just a sampling of whats in store for those whom are interested in learning things that may change the way you look at our entire ecosystem, forever!
I'm excited, are you?
When I talk about building great soil, I am literally saying that we are building "life in the soil".
So what does that mean?
It means that there is a profound difference between "soil" vs. "dirt"
Dirt is inert; lifeless, it is neither chemically or biologically reactive, it does not interact with anything. Dirt contains no organic matter, and therefore is not significant for growing plants. The color of dirt can give you clues about mineral content it may contain; example red or yellow hues is an indicator of oxidized iron, the darker the red, the higher the iron content, but is is not alive.
Soil is ALIVE;
One teaspoon of living soil is said to contain more microbes, than humans on earth!
How's that for excitement?
Now hang on all you out there that are shrugging your shoulders and shaking your heads!
Because some of you brilliant minds are now thinking, yeah right!
Entertain me for a moment.
Yes, there are bad microbes, phytophthora an entire genus of oomycetes, a water mold, is a plant-eating microbe that causes potato and tomato blight.
But the good news is that the beneficial microbe community works tirelessly to out compete with the bad microbes, many of the good microbial species will kill or inhibit the bad bacteria, fungi, and nematodes.
It is all about microbial balance, the plants have a symbiotic relationship with the soil microbes, therefore if we feed the soil food web, the soil food web feeds your plants and keeps them healthy.
We can use our own bodies as an analogy, we have bacteria and germs in them and on them at all times, waiting for the right combo recipe to make us sick. (I have been in healthcare for 22 years, I can attest to this. LOL)
However, research has shown, our gut has its own microbes that help us ward off these bad bacteria when we feed our bodies the proper nutrients. Scientific studies are showing that consuming
whole foods, eating local nutrient dense fresh fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides or herbicides are paramount to our health. We see new products hitting the market everyday, there are many microbial products out there; live cultures kefir, probiotics, fermented foods, etc... all aimed at balancing the bacteria, both good and bad in the gut. (I am neither endorsing or encouraging these products)
The soil is very much the same, there is an underground world of biodiversity, and its interactions with the plants is essentially doing the same thing, warding off bad bacteria to the plants.
When plants photosynthesize , the energy that is created sends healthy chemicals to the roots that secrete in the soil. These chemicals are proteins and carbohydrates that activate the microbes in the soil.
The organisms feed, digest and give the nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus back to the plant. This is called cycling of nutrients.
If you are interested in learning more about the "Classes in Action", a hands-on series at Orchard Creek Farm in 2019, send me an email of your interest, so that I can keep you updated as the time nears for classes to begin. You may also let me know what days/times will work best. This will help me to arrange a schedule that meets the majorities needs. These classes are for adults age 18 years or older. If a person 12 years and up is accompanied by a paying adult at all times they may attend for FREE, please confirm with me ahead of time. These classes will be taught in a series of three subjects, each subject is $10.00 per person.
This fee is extremely low for the knowledge
given. The goal is to provide opportunities of learning at an affordable cost and to cover the costs of materials.
I am ready are you? Let's get growing right!