Green manure crops are used to protect and proliferate soil microbes, to remineralise the soil, and to build humus - not only through the incorporation of organic matter back into the soil but also through the great symbiotic relationship between plants and soil life - with plants converting sunlight and water into complex sugars which are then fed to the diverse network of organisms living within the soil who in turn offer nutrients and/or heightened immune system response to the plants. It is amazing the interconnectedness of the soil life and the plants above.Read More
Autumn is our season for renewal - sowing green manure crops and building compost piles as we remove summer crops. With most of this growing seasons crops in the ground, there is more time in the week for weeding in the orchard and preparing whole areas for winter green manure crops. Our harvesting continues with the broccoli taking over for cucumbers and cauliflowers for tomatoes. The carrots and parsnips sweeten with the cool nights. And English spinach has returned!Read More
March comes…the days are shortening…the nights are cool and damp…but the list is still so long! There are still tomatoes to harvest,
and lettuce seeds to dry,
and more lettuce in the field
There are brassicas to irrigate and hoe
and green manure crops filled with sunflowers to admire and then mow
Cucumbers to clip up
and corn to husk.
But the days are shortening and the nights at times have a chill. And we feel everything stretching, with such tension as we wait for rain and continue our harvesting -
Food for our community, food for the larger community, seed crops and special wedding posies.
We try and meditate on patience for sweet Autumn knowing that when she comes the earth will move into her yearly time for renewal.
Autumn… will come…
Robin wrote an essay published in Issue 58 of DUMBO FEATHER - Healing the Land. Part poetry, part stream of consciousness, it takes you from the community deep in the soil, to the seed splitting, the flowers bursting, the sun parching, the rain falling, and the flow of water out into the oceans.
“Life begets life in this symphony of existence where the cycles of birth and death fuel the balance. The whole is a sum of all its pieces - with the sun parching even while it fuels.” (excerpt)
Hope you, like us, are busy preserving the harvest and enjoying summers stretch..
In the long days of summer…we harvest. As farmers we spend more then 50% of our time harvesting and in late summer when the field tomatoes are on, the capsicum are maturing, the corn is ready, onions have bulbed and are ready for drying, beans are happening…we spend a lot of time harvesting. We also need to keep on top of the weeds which love the heat too, seed and transplant Autumn crops and keep everything hydrated. We brew herbal teas for the crops and battle insects - all with the hope of harvesting!!
Our CSA moves forward with an eight week Late Summer share. You can learn more and purchase the boxes via the Farm Store on our website . Our Late - Summer CSA will start Friday 1 February and run through Friday 22 March. It will be followed by an Autumn and Early Winter share.
Here is how the farm is looking…
Our honey is available to our CSA members at farm pick up and also to the general public at Yoga in the Park in Sorrento. This is Baxter’s 10th year hosting morning yoga classes near the wooden park overlooking the ferry terminal and the Sorrento pier. You can visit her website to learn more about the daily classes and Intelligent Health - a collaboration between three wonderful local legends/health care professionals here on the peninsula.
As the earth exhales its dazzling array of colours, flavours, and textures, we continue to sow the Autumn crops and try and keep up with the weeds and the harvest! We will be hosting a series of farm tours to share our biodynamic regenerative practices. Please look for another email about them.
Wishing you all a fruit-filled summer!!
Robin and Peter
Spring has charged along -with the days lengthening, grass growing, summer crops being sown, transplanted and taking off, lush lettuce, sweet peas, juicy radishes, tomatoes ripening, potatoes flowering, and plenty of planting- bringing us to the edge of Summer solstice. The season has had it all - cold nights, strong winds, hot days, and deluge rain. Through all of the extremes, and the beautiful days in between, most of our crops are showing resilience and vibrancy - signs of good health.
Now is the time to join Our CSA for January Summer boxes
We have broken our CSA into smaller seasons this year - with the January share being for the four Fridays in January (4, 11, 18 and 25). There are weekly or fortnightly shares available. To learn more or join, go to our online farm store.
The January share will be followed by a mid-summer share which we hope will be at the height of the tomato harvest. We will be harvesting for our CSA through June.
After taking a break last season from our CSA, we happily began harvesting produce for our community with our boxes beginning again in mid November.
We also continued our growing for restaurants, including variety test trials - sending chefs a collection of varieties of butter lettuces, gem lettuces and sugar loaf cabbages thus far and asking them to judge the appearance, usability and flavour of the different varieties tasting them in three ways such as raw, with an acidic dressing and salt and with a touch of heat. The results have been so interesting for us and the chefs and have guided which crops we are growing for both them and our CSA members as well as which crops we have put into seed production.
And Spring has been filled with insects, which is quite normal. There is always a flush of aphids in early Spring. Hungry for the fresh new growth, their numbers breed ahead of the beneficial insects which arise and flourish restoring the balance on the farm. It is so wonderful to trust in the ecosystem that we have nurtured, knowing that the beneficials will see and eat the pests sooner and with more zest then we will!!!
Our biodynamic practices continue to deepen through teaching on the farm and communicating more with other farmers. Each season our green manure crops diversify, supporting a larger range of soil microbes and helping us grow soil on this sand dune. As our plants feed only from our humus layer, understanding how to actually create soil filled with life is our most important work.
In the past week, we have checked all of our bee colonies. Our bees reside in bee- friendly Warre hives which allow the bees to build their own comb, living in a "wild" manner. The central ethos of Natural Beekeeping is that it provides for the needs of the bee above that of the beekeeper. We ensure a 12 month supply of nectar and pollen by mapping the flowering plants on our farm and surrounding it, and filling in any gaps through species diversification. We believe that careful attention to the health and well-being of our bees, not only keeps the colony thriving, it also greatly improves the quality and purity of the honey.
As we continue into summer, enjoying the amazing reverie of the earth’s exhale - even while we try and keep up with the busy farming schedule, we hope that the light of the season fills your homes and hearts and shines throughout the New Year!
Peter and Robin