Although the official first day of Spring in Victoria is 1 September, Spring comes to our farm in August. Even though the nights are still cold and we have frequent frosts, the green manure crops begin to actively grow again in August, filling the fields with their lush green goodness.
We began sowing seeds for the Spring and Summer crops in the glasshouse in mid July. By this time, the glasshouse is full of Asian greens, brassicas, celery, cucumbers, capsicums, eggplant, fennel, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, herbs and flowers. Some of these are successive plantings of frost hardy crops and others are waiting for the night time temperatures to rise before they can be planted into the field.
And in the field, frost hardy plants are growing strong.
The fruit trees are also looking great this year. Many are now four-five year old trees with a fine structure. We have pasted them with a biodynamic tree paste which remineralizes the tree, helps protect them from fungal and insect invasions and helps heal pruning wounds. The nectarines, peaches and plums have just started blooming with the apricots close to follow.
We continue to encourage healthy soil through the incorporation of green manure crops, the use of biodynamic 500 and the addition of biodynamic compost. The green manure crop in last seasons pumpkin and sunflower paddock has been incorporated and this year the paddock will be filled with greens and root crops. Crop rotation helps to keep the soil nutrients from being depleted and also can protect the crops from pests that may overwinter.
This winter Peter set about making some predator safe chicken tractors so that we can incorporate these hard working fowl into the market garden. Sometimes it takes a few tries to come up with a design that works but we hope to incorporate more chicken tractors this year. The chickens not only break up and scratch in the crop and green manure residue, they also eat the snails, slugs and weed seed. They add valuable fertilizer and then they move on the next spot.
We were guest farmers for a week on the magazine Modern Farmer's instagram account in late July. You can go see our farm in pictures by using this link. You do need to scroll down quite far...back to the 27 July for the start. There have been a few other Australian farmers featured as well as many other small farm enterprises around the world.
An online magazine Confetti also did a feature story on our farm. The lovely ladies from Queensland came and spent a cold and rainy day on the farm, talking and taking photos. Their article packs so much in...what is a CSA, our experience as farmers, the state of the earth's soil and how your choices about how your food is grown make a difference!
Our CSA season starts again the second week in October. Here are some links to learn more:
We are currently confirming our CSA members for the season. If you are interested, now is the time to let us know.
We will be having an Open day sometime this Spring. Look for an update with the details.