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.
1,000 Free-Range Fowl Fortifying The Fields The impact that free-range chickens have on the health of the field is obvious. Every day we systematically move their pens (which have no floor) and make sure they have fresh non-GMO food and water. By doing that, we give them access to a new patch of pasture where they get access to fresh grasses, bugs and worms, and plenty of sunshine.
Another reason we systematically move their cages is because the chickens are continuously creating chicken manure. Bit by bit, the chickens are naturally fertilizing this once-depleted soil.
You can see the path where the chicken cages have traveled, because ahead of them the field is scraggly and rough. Behind them, you can see a thick wave of vibrant flora springing forth.
It takes work to manage and run the system -- but it’s a win-win-win-win situation. Everyone benefits (the chickens, our friends, our fields and us!). Thanks for helping us make this happen.
Original worn out pasture, Chickens moving in, what they leave behind, and what results!
Daisy Is Back!
We are glad to report that our dairy cow, Daisy, seems to be well on the mend after suffering an infection after birthing our new calf, Clementine. That’s good – because our family will soon be enjoying some rich milk. But that also means that we will soon be adding milking to our to-do list each day. Since cows prefer having a “regular milker” on duty, and because Daisy is really more of a family pet, the task will probably fall to Joel and Megan...
I wonder if our 6-year-old daughter Una is old enough…?
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Well, no matter what we are doing, or whatever the weather, if we are energetic or tired, we are thankful for your continued support of Abraham’s Table Farm. Keep us in your prayers, and tell your friends all about us – THANKS!