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Let’s Play Musical Beds

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

We recently put down the last of our compost (remember when we had four trailer-truckloads of compost delivered?). That was a LOT of high-quality, natural organic matter.

It took a LOT of work, but we have now distributed it on all 200 garden beds (each one is 30-inches wide and 50 feet long). The compost instantly boosted the bio-diversity of the soil (which was pretty depleted), jump-starting the rejuvenation process by introducing critically-needed and tremendously beneficial bacteria, fungi, insects, worms (which might sound yucky, but it is allllll super-good and does not cause any pollution).

Early spring composting!

With all 200 garden beds amended and planted, we will juggle where new things get planted. There is no need to deeply rototill the beds – in fact, the old plants’ root systems naturally break up the soil and start a good aeration for the next plants.

For the rest of the season, every bed has to be used 2-4 times. As one crop is finished, the bed will be used to grow a new crop. Rotating in different crops is sort of like playing musical chairs. Three rows used for radishes might become two rows of leaf lettuce and one row of beets. Week by week we shift things around to make each sure each bed is used most effectively.

The last beds (foreground) finally composted and planted out!

Here Come The Cukes

The cucumbers are coming in. They are the first “fruit” of the season. Up until now we have had leaves (lettuce, spinach, etc.) and now the fruit-bearing plants are (literally) coming to fruition.

Be looking for more fruit-type vegetables in your box in the weeks ahead.

Down Time For The Farmers

As they say, all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. As much as we enjoy farming, it is an intense work schedule so we are committed to protecting our ATF team so no one burns out.

In fact, Joel and Megan were able to take a refreshing break for a few days last week (with only their baby Beatrice) – so they could put aside the chores and the stress, and even sleep in!

After the last five months of pushing very hard to get the new place up and running, it's important that everyone gets some time to get away. To that end, everyone gets one day off each month, and we don’t do field work on the weekends (except whoever is on chore duty for the key chores of feeding and watering the animals).

To accomplish this, we have a team meeting every morning and at the end of each day. That way everyone is aware of what everyone else is doing. By prioritizing and careful planning, we avoid the “do one more thing” trap. Things always seem urgent.

It’s great to have a team who can hold down the fort and keep things going while “the boss” is away.

Chicken: Restocking Just In Time

Phew! Our supply of frozen chicken – stocked up from last year – has run out. But our first harvest of fresh-from-the-field chicken returned from the butcher almost the same week, so we again have some for folks to order.

But remember, about a month ago, our supplier of brooder chicks missed a shipment to us, so we just aren’t able to raise as many chickens as last season. (Even though demand is growing). To that end, if you enjoy eating our soy-free, pasture-raised, ethically treated (and mouth-wateringly yummy) chickens, you might want to place your orders early if you have freezer room... we warned you.

We recognize that not many are asking, “what are we going to have for dinner next February?” But due to that missed shipment, we'll certainly sell out before we can raise more next spring.