We have now stretched right up to the corners of the new land. The area that had summer crops is being prepared for Autumn sowed cover crops. We rotate through a variety of cover crops such as oats, peas and vetch depending on the crop that will be planted in that area next year. The crop rotation plan is coming together for next few years. As Eliot Coleman says, "Crop rotation means variety. and variety gives stability to biological systems."
There are Spring crops being planted now-Broad Beans, Green Cauliflower, Big White Cauliflower, over wintered Broccoli, Silverbeet and Kale. And garlic is being planted now for Early December harvest too.
Baxter from Palate Earth organized a sunrise weeding group, who arrived before the sun and stayed for a few hours. A Big Thank You to Sarah, Amy, Jane, Jenny, Jo and a budding young grower, Archie, who asked his mum if he could have the morning off school to come and weed on our farm. How fantastic that Jo said YES! If there are other young growers out there who would like to learn more, we are always happy to discuss opportunities. We have had three teenager come at different times in this growing season.
We have changed our delivery day to one day a week to try and have more time on the farm to design and implement a bit more of our whole farm plan. We will be incorporating chicken tractors into our farm fertility and need to make some mobile chicken houses. With the hot, dry summer we just had making it hard to keep compost moist, we are going to construct some shade for the compost piles. We are building a warmer greenhouse to use in Winter for starting the warm weather plants like Capsicum, Eggplant and Melons. We got by last year with several make do inventions but having come into a houseful of windows, we thought we would recycle them and make Spring a bit easier. And we need to prepare native corridors on the new land for late autumn planting.
We are thrilled to be welcoming a whole primary school prep-Grade 6 to the farm in May to see food growing and learn about plants as living things. Last year, we saw one prep class and heard about several others going on excursions to their local super markets. As they marched through the aisles, they recited, "Single file, through the aisle. This is where our food comes from." I sent a letter that day to the principle from one school, opening the farm and offering to work with the teachers to tailor make a curriculum based tour. I hope this is the first of many such school visits. We may buy food at the grocery store but that is NOT where food comes from!
The Red Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show is quickly approaching at the end of this month. As the RHA&H Society state,
Over the years, horses, sheep, cattle and alpacas were included in the Show – each new introduction indicating the changing face of farming on the Mornington Peninsula. More recently we have added wine, avocados, olives, berries and cheese to the list of produce coming from this most acclaimed agricultural and horticultural area, and some of the very best local produce will be available at the Show for tasting and buying."
If you grow your own food, this is a great chance to come together as a community, exhibit the fruits of your labour and raise the bar on the quality and diversity of produce that is being grown in our local area. We are so lucky to have so many delicious offerings within a relatively small radius. There are many areas for children to exhibit as well. There is still time to get your entry forms for flowers and vegetables in. Hope your gardens are loving this rain like ours is!!