Archive | May 2017

Protein Power

I farm for three reasons, first I want to provide my family with the best food I can and second I want to share my love of gardening with friends and family. Lastly, I want to leave the Earth better than I found it.  We have learned that you can not have a productive vegetable garden without an animal presence on the farm.  The animal manure and activity on the land is what makes gardening without store bought fertilizers possible.  Our farm is only 5 acres and we do not have the ablitiy to raise meat and goat milk for the world, but it is enough to feed our family and close friends.  Every year we raise chickens, turkeys, goats and pigs for our family consumption.  The farm has finally grown to the point that we are protein independant.  The only thing that is raised off our land is beef and that is raised by a very close family friend.  There is peace of mind knowing that when there is a bird flu, mad cow, crazy disease outbreak, we do not have to worry about what is on our table. 

Every year when I share pictures of these animals on Facebook, I always gets the same response.  “I could never raise an animal I was going to eat.” Raising meat animals is often looked at as cruel, when infact, it is the opposit.  We raise these animals because we love them.  I know that my birds were raised in sunshine and on grass.  They were loved and given the best life possible while they were here.  I am not willing to give up meat and become a vegetarian, so I want to make sure the animals I eat are well cared for.   The meat birds pictured above get moved to fresh grass often, and they are preparing my garden beds for the future.  They are fertilizing, mowing and turning up the grass, as well as controling pests.  I will add leaf compost and turn it all under to plant my corn.  This practice saves me time and money while putting an amazing meal on my table.  The turkey our family ate at Thanksgiving, tilled and prepared the ground I will grow my pumpkins on for pie this year.  It is all a tasty cycle. 

We have not figured out all the checks and balances of farming yet, but when you allow things to work together the way they were designed, the outcome is amazing.  Giving back to the land and being good stewards of the reasources we are given is one of my favorite things about farming.  

“How Does Your Garden Grow?”

I have not planted any Silver Bells in the garden yet, but there is something magical and nursery ryhym like about a garden growing in the spring.  Out of a seed comes this magical plant,  with some sun, water and good soil it can produce food to feed my family and friends.  It is something about gardening that never grows old.  

This year our Spring has been hot and cold, dry and wet a typlical Maryland Spring.  We are working diligently when the weather allows us. We have to get all the garden beds made and the seeds planted.  Last year some of our crops struggled to grow in the heavy clay soil in the garden.  This year we are not tilling the compost into the clay, we are just adding 6+ inches of compost to the top of the clay. This means we are doing a lot of dirt moving, raking, and shoveling.  It looks great and the plants are loving the fresh, nutrient dense soil.  So far this spring we have planted onions, kale, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, carrots, and radishes.  The garlic over wintered well and is growing lik crazy.  The asparagus plants, still have at least another season before they reach their full potental.  Rhubarb is growing leaps and bounds, we are waiting to be brave enough to harvest it and try new recipes.  As the result of our mild winter, some of our herbs were able to over winter well.  We will have plenty of Oregano and sage this year. 

This year we have opened our CSA program and it has required extra planing and planting.  We want to be able to offer our customers a wide verity of veggies for the season.  We are planting a total of 62+ different vegetables and 15+ different herbs.  We have started over 700 seedlings so far this spring to try and get a jump on the season.  Most of those seedlings are doing great, there has already been two crop fails, but we are replanting and hoping to still be able to have a good harvest later in the season.  The CSA program this year, will pay for us to be able to put up an larger greenhouse, which will be a welcome addition to our farm for starting seeds through the winter and into next spring.  

It is a busy season for sure, but I am really enjoying having dirt under my fingernails again and sunkissed arms.