How time flies when you are having fun! It was just yesterday when the air was so hot and we were sweating all day trying to find some shade while working. Now into winter, we feel the chill of the air and dryness from the cold. Most of us here are relieved and continuously giving thanks for a break from the oppressive heat. The farm keeps on ticking and producing so many delights. There have been new radishes, napa cabbage, kale, chard, sweet peas, diakon radishes, parsley, basil, mint, and many tasty lettuces harvested over the weeks. Seeds are being planted and trellises are coming down. The natural rhythm of life hums on.
Our gentle sweet qualls had there last stay at the farm and a feast was lovingly enjoyed last week. The chickens are doing great, producing eggs continuously. A few of the chickens are molting with the onset of fewer daylight hours. Molting is when the chicken sheds its feathers and stops producing eggs during this time to give it more energy to make new feathers. This process happens in cycles throughout the life of the chicken as is appropriate to its age and the weather. Molting helps the integrity of the feathers and keeps chickens warmer in colder weather.
Needless to say our farm chickens have grown on me in the past weeks. I think of them and worry for them as the longer days come when we are not there on the weekends. But rest assured they have a wonderful loving life at the farm and proceed to bring nutritious eggs and lots of love to anyone who sees them.
The farm is always a place of beauty especially in this crazy election year! I am so glad to have it all over and we can accept the journey we are to go on with our new president, good or bad.
A great quote by Mahatma Gandhi to remember…”When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always. ”
Journey forward in beauty and love…farm pictures to inspire!
Last week I wrote about cover cropping and sure enough Rishi had us cover cropping an area back by the fruit trees and chickens. Sections were planted in the past seasons and we were filling in one section that was still barren. A seed mix of peas, flaxseeds, vetch, rye, wheat and clover were used. They came in premixed bags and one that Rishi made on his own. As a follow up to last my last entry and testimony that it was quite easy, here is what we did. First we just racked the soil to even it out and break it up. Then spread some seeds and covered with manure and mulch. Now it’s just a waiting game to see some seeds sprout. That was it! On our road to help with soil erosion, soil fertility, soil moisture, curb weeds and pest and increase biodiversity. Wow, so helpful and so easy! It is always enriching to read about something and then do it!
Here are some pictures:
Cover crops in the most basic sense are crops grown for protection and to enrich the soil between harvests. They are planted to work hard at managing soil erosion by keeping valuable topsoil in place hence increasing soil fertility and quality. The cover crop keeps moisture from leaving and therefore, managing water intake. Cover crops help in suppressing weeds, controlling pests and diseases, as well as, increasing the biodiversity and wildlife in a crop by attracting more species that would not have come before.
Since the 1900’s farmers have been using cover crops to restore soil fertility. This old method was lost with the introduction of fertilizers and then plots of land were left barren between harvests. But in recent times with worried farmers with declining soil health, cover cropping has increased in usage. In 2012 the Census of Agriculture report for the first time asked farmers to report using cover cropping. The finding showed only 10.3 million acres (133,124 farms) out of 390 million acres reporting using it. The next census will be in 2017. But between 2012 and today we have seen a positive and encouraging increase just through the sale of cover crop seed and other intermitten surveys. The White House has even recognized cover cropping as Climate-Smart Agriculture. Good to hear this news! We need more positive news in this current news climate.
This method is not just for farmers but can be used by small scale gardens and urban farms. It’s an easy task to undertake and requires little care. With a little planning you can cover crop this fall for a more productive and healthier next season. The right cover crop for your gardens depends on looking at the time of year and the species you are growing. A few I have found in general to research are rye, field peas/oats, sorghum-sundangrass, buckwheat, turnips, hairy vetch, sunflower and clover. Try this in your garden and reep the benefits of increasing the health of your soil and production! Let us know what happens…