We are enjoying the lovely sunrises and sunsets of autumn and the gorgeous days we have been having as we ready the farm for winter. As the crops from the summer harvest finished producing, they were tilled in and green manure cover crops were planted for winter. Cover crops increase soil fertility, protect the soil from erosion, build the organic content in the soil and in the case of legumes, fix atmospheric nitrogen. This provides a natural fertilizer for next season's plants.
We have put in the first half of the Garlic planting for Transition Farm's Summer Share which starts 1st December 2012. We are growing a few different varieties this year to see which ones will grow and taste best.
The tops of all of the potatoes died back, hardening the skin, which makes them ready for winter storage. After weighing the harvest, we have quite an excess over what our family needs for winter. We have bagged this excess up and are selling them to anyone wanting some chemical free spuds - 10kg bag for $20. We have three varieties: Coliban - A floury white fleshed potato that is good for mashing, baking and roasting and is used to make French fries. Desiree - A very popular all-rounder with pink skin and pale yellow, firm flesh that holds its shape well so is excellent boiled, baked, mashed and in salads but not recommended for frying. Pontiac - A very reliable all-rounder with pink skin and white flesh. Great to boil, bake, roast, microwave and mash but not so suitable for frying.
Please contact us if you would like a bag.
We also have plenty of Leeks and Chillies - so anyone keen to make some spicy Vichyssoise - we are happy to throw some leeks and chillies in with your bag of spuds! There is a recipe for Potato and Leek soup in the recipe section - just add chilli!
The Summer Trial Transition Farm conducted in January and February 2012 was very well received (photos from the Trial). We learned so much, both from a farming point of view and from all the wonderful feedback from those who participated. As a result, we are extremely excited at the thought of the CSA starting up full-time in December 2012. Transition Farm will be offering a great variety and quantity of fresh local food for those who want to join the CSA program. These three month CSA programs will run with the seasons - Summer (1 Dec 2012 - 28 Feb 2013), Autumn (1 March 2013 - 31 May 2013), Winter (1 June 2013 - 31 August 2013) and Spring (1 September 2013 - 30 November 2013). Have a look at the boxes from the Summer Share Trial.
We have agreed with one of our neighbours to purchase more land. Having the extra space will enable us to expand the CSA programs, have a better crop rotation and extra soil to fallow. While we await Council approval, we are working out the site design, which will include a new shed and cool room to enable us to handle the produce. We are looking forward to building up this new soil and getting the infrastructure in place for the 1st December 2012 start date.
The Fruit Trees - The citrus trees are in bloom and lemons, figs and apples fill the fruit bowl. We will be giving all of the fruit trees a generous dose of compost and await the weather turning a bit cooler to start pruning - a little daunting as we have over 100 to work through.
Our autumn plantings of more indigenous coastal natives starts next week and we have been busy these past weeks clearing around and under the existing native plantings and cutting back where needed. The native plantings serve a number of functions - habitat, wind shelter, nitrogen fixing and creating pockets for the plantings of fruit and nut trees!!
Autumn is the strong digestive time of the earth - The soil is still warm and there is more moisture then summer. This is perfect for making and spreading compost. In preparation for the new soil, we are building windrows of compost and applying biodynamic preparations. Even as leaves are turning colour, the pastures are green, the cover crops lush and the brassicas glowing. Happy Autumn!