Working the Soil & Chicks Swiftly Growing
Village Farm Team,
This past week we tilled and shaped beds in the South Field in preparation for summer planting. Just like our melons these crops will need a lot of space for their vines to sprawl and grow. With some hard work and a little good luck, this planting should end up being a successful pumpkin patch for Harvest Fest in November!
In conventional farming methods, the transition between seasons usually include significant soil work to kill weeds and loosen the soil (tillage). Over time, unhealthy soils compact, leading to slower water percolation, less oxygen in the soil and weaker natural fertility systems. Our methods at Harvest Green take a different approach, doing our best to reduce soil disruption as much as possible and keep living plant roots in the soil as much of the year as possible.
Our raised bed farming technique allows us to shape beds between seasons and only disrupt the top few inches of soil as we reshape the soil that has eroded over the season. Then we use a mechanical weed management technique called cultivation. Cultivation typically involves stirring the top inch or two of soil shortly after weed seeds germinate. While this method does disrupt the soil structure, it does it very shallowly and allows most of the soil to remain undisturbed.
Over the past week our chicks have nearly doubled in size! We’re starting to see their first feathers emerge from their downy coats on their wings. In the next couple of weeks their downy coat will eventually be gone, replaced by their feathers. Once they are fully feathered they will be able to properly control their body heat. At this point, they will take up residence in their chicken chateau built by Farm Educator Adam in order to build their immune systems. Once they are in their “teenager” stage and have grown quite a bit, we’ll be able to release them into our current flock.
The Agmenity Farm Team
Words by Courtney West & Photos Courtesy of Farm Educator Bonnie Harroff