Thursday, 2 April 2020

Farming and Gardening aren’t cancelled!

These are strange times we are in. I don’t know where to begin. People ask...when will we get back to ‘normal’...but we are experiencing a new normal aren’t we? Even if there is an end in sight, our world will be forever changed and I hope it’s for the better. Right now it is a strange and unfamiliar time and place we are living....a time of grief and worry.
In a matter of what feels like over night, we have had to close our doors, cancel all workshops, clinics, lessons and activities we had planned for the spring and probably the summer at this rate...
We have had to sequester ourselves within our homes practicing physical social distancing from farm members, friends, neighbours and family... We wonder...when will we even get a glimpse of what was normal to us again?  The horses do wonder why they haven’t seen any of their favourite two leggeds lately. They know something is definitely not right.
Well, I’m here to tell you that gardening and farming are not cancelled. We on the farm are moving forward with cleaning up, seeding and planting. Planning for new gardens, fixing some fences the horses put lots of pressure on, and creating new spaces around the farm is keeping us very busy. Plans for a new outdoor goat pen for the girls, and maybe some containment for the naughty chickens who like to explore dangerously far from the watchful eye of our LGD Piper.
We are taking this forced down time to spruce up, and get ready for when we are able to do more.

We will sadly be unable to give tours or enjoy visitors for right now. But we are excited to maintain our veggie and fruit production on the farm as an essential service, and we have put protocols in place  for everyone’s safety.  Farm gate pick ups can be arranged ahead of time. Or, Sanitized baskets can be packed and delivered for free to your home in Pontypool farmgate to porch! With social distancing In mind of course.

We are very fortunate to be a very diversified farm, so that we don’t have all of our eggs in one basket so to speak. The loss of  a lot of our farm’s income and activity this spring hurts. But we can still offer other areas of the farm to our community as we all navigate our way through this mess.

We are investigating an efficient way to order virtually for our members and friends for the on farm markets starting in June. Also, a faster way to let all of our CSA members know what is in the share each week plus any add ins they may like to have like fresh eggs from our naughty free ranging hens!

Now a parting thought...
There are going to be some rough times ahead, but also some positive outcomes or..a silver lining so to speak. People are finding each other again, learning to care for one another...Practicing long lost People are learning how to cook again and in doing so, Rediscovering small businesses and farms in their communities. Cool.

Please stay safe and on the other side of this we all can reconnect in person. Sending you Hugs, light and love... and a very beautiful abundant spring.

Your farmer,
Laura Boyle.💕🌱

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Do you hide your vegetables? We do!

When folks come to our farm, they often come with the idea of tidy little rows of vegetables in a big flat field with maybe large greenhouses rising in behind.
Where are we hiding all of our vegetables???. They are often confused when I first motion to the Farmhouse Garden which resembles an organized chaos... upon closer observation it reveals a combination of annual vegetables and flowers in short rows. With companion planting and succession of crops in raised beds it can become quite something for a new observer.  Could we grow all of what we say we do in this tiny space? Not quite. We hide our vegetables in other places on the farm!!!😀
You see,  it isn’t our only garden. A walk up to the south pasture reveals a food forest garden where tucked amidst young fruit trees are new blueberry bushes and raised beds of perennial strawberries. Aunt Molly’s ground cherries sprawl under the waving heads of mammoth Russian sunflowers, and bees flit from tight beds of fragrant allysum to the large pumpkin blossoms in a nearby bed. Amaranth nods it’s reddish plumes to the backdrop of rare colourful corn and shorter rows of sweet snap peas.
A combination of annuals and perennials make up for a very non-traditional ideal of farming or even a market garden for that matter. But as we expand our gardens, this is the way we are growing what we sell.
You see, our farm is one hilly place. Not great for tractor work. So terracing has begun to prevent soil erosion, and reclaim some ground for orchard and food production. The beds consist of low fruit and nut trees, followed by perennial bushes and then ground covers. In front of these guilds and in between, we keep the ground covered with annual vegetable and fruit crops.
Our farm is only a few acres, so there is often creativity needed to making new successful growing spaces. A south facing slope along a fence pumpkins love for example.
A small 6x9 greenhouse allows a good head start in the spring for several flats of baby vegetables...tomatoes, peppers and tender plants with a little heat on the cool April nights... mid summer we start the second round of the fall crops in the green house.