A hugelkultur bed is a revolutionary raised bed that is self fertilising and holds enough moisture that you never have to water it. This is made possible by burying wood and covering it with 4-6 inches of topsoil. The wood will slowly decompose through the work of fungi and bacteria, and these wonderful soil partners help release nutrients to the roots of our plants. Once the plants have well established tap roots, surface irrigation is no longer necessary as the plants are able to suck water out of the wood, acting as a sponge.
We converted a 150 sq feet grain and seed shed into a high density micro green operation. Currently, we have a capacity for 160 growing trays under full spectrum T5 sun blaster lights, and having an insulated and heated space gives us the opportunity to grow delivious greens around the year!
We grow a variety of micro greens, from the standard pea and sunflower shoots to sweet corn, fenugreek and chervil, so we're sure to find a flavour for everyone.
We have big plans for the wood green house!. Aquaponics is a mutually beneficial system for growing fish and plants. The fish creates prime fertiliser and that water is fed to the plants hydroponically. The plants filter and clean the water out for the fish before we send it back in the tank. We also plan on growing oyster mushrooms in the greenhouse because it offers the optimal humidity for mushroom growth. The problems is that it can get to hot for them on a sunny summer day so we will grow them in a boxed space under the aquaponics growing trays where the mass of water will regulate the temperature of the mushroom growing space. The mushrooms will be growing on a pasteurised straw substrate using grain spawn as an inoculant. The inoculated straw will be put into 5 litre plastic bags and left for the mycelium to take over. Then we will poke holes in the side to allow the mushrooms to fruit.
Soil microbiology is key to a successful natural garden. If we want to maintain a natural style of growing, without the yearly addition of large amounts of fertilizer and other amendments, then we need to rely on the fungi, bacteria worms and protozoa to keep our soil healthy and make nutrients bioavailable to the plants. Healthy plants not only deliver the necessary nutrients to you, but they are a lot more resistant to pests and diseases.
By 'harvesting' and multiplying good bacteria and fungi through the practice of making 'teas' from compost and worm castings, we bring those invisible partners into our garden and give them a foothold they need to start their new lives, thriving in our gardens
Our main focus currently is our 3 acre market garden
Biointensive gardening is a method of gardening that has come out of the small farms of Europe and is the perfect system for anyone looking at a permanent growing system which can be maintained at a highly productive level without chemicals of any kind, even the certified organic ones. This completely natural method of farming relies on building soil fertility through crop rotations, the addition of compost and manures, and a commitment to never till the soil. We build permanent raised beds, and relieve compaction using the broadfork instead of a rototiller. This revolutionary tool, a cross between a pitchfork and a spade, relieves compaction deep in the subsoil without having to turn over the soil. Through repeated applications of worm/compost teas as well as foliar sprays which we make ourselves from plants growing on the farm, we can maintain a high fertility rate by nurturing the growth of the soil food web.
Inside the garden we grow in 30 inch beds with 18 inch pathways. This is a comfortable spacing for intensive growing and the bed size matches perfectly to many of the implements on our BCS walk behind tractor.
To make the beds we used a circular plow. .
Finally we use a power harrow to mix and smooth the surface of the beds, creating the optimal planting space. .
For direct seeding we use a Jang seeder. . WIth great precision, it creates a small trench, regulates the spacing and covers up the seeds properly.