Growing Practices

So much of the value of buying locally is that you can understand where the food you’re eating and feeding to your loved ones comes from and how it was grown. That’s why I feel it is important to be transparent about my growing practices. Below you’ll find an overview of my methods for building healthy soil, controlling weeds and pests, and ensuring the safety of the water that moves through our property. Though I am not a Certified Organic farm, I only use products and practices for fertility and weed control that are approved for use in Organic farms. I do believe deeply in the value of Organic Certification and hope to certify within the next few years when the size of my operation makes it financially viable.

Soil Health: Our garden has well-drained, somewhat sandy loam soils. Though we learned from the previous owner that it had been a garden many years ago, when we bought the property it had been overgrown with brambles and small trees. Having been left fallow and covered with leaves for many years, it is high in organic matter. We’re working to preserve this by mulching with straw and wood chips and minimizing how much we need to till the soil. We supplement this natural fertility with compost, a composted chicken manure fertilizer, and have worked to correct our slightly acid soil with lime.

Weed Control: We manage weeds with a combination of hoeing, hand weeding, mulching, reusable landscape fabric weed, and have started to use UV resistant tarps for soil occultation. This is a process where the soil is covered to kill existing weeds and allow weed seeds to germinate and die before planting to reduce weed pressure.

Pest Control: We try to manage pest pressure by growing healthy, resilient plants, protecting particularly pest-susceptible crops with row cover, and only in severe situations use insecticides approved for Organic use (Neem Oil, Safe-R Soap, Sluggo, and Diatomaceous Earth). Planting a diversity of vegetables and flowers makes our garden a haven for beneficial insects and pollinators and helps to keep many pest situations in check.

Water: We provide water for our crops with drinking quality water from our well with a water-conserving drip irrigation system. This water is also our produce wash-water.