This time last year, I was recovering from a month long stay in the hospital from a collapsed lung. May 1st last year was the day I was finally allowed to return to normal activity; farming. I can’t believe from last year laying in a hospital bed we have prepared one hundred 40 foot long beds, and thirty 100 foot long beds to grow a bounty of delicious food for the community. I am very happy and proud of the work Sammy and I have put into this land and look forward to getting dirty every day.
Here is how we go from lawn to food!
First when going into established sod, we like to use black plastic tarp to deprive the existing plants of sun and water. Once they start to die they become food for worms. After several weeks the worms do a pretty good job at eating the organic matter providing us a clean start to work with.
It all starts with quality organic compost to feed the soil.
We don’t use tractors, we like to spare the soil the compaction. This helps us to get into the fields earlier not having to worry about working wet ground with a tractor. We wheel barrow then spread the compost with rakes, about 1-2 inches thick.
We prefer not to disturb the microbiology or soil structure too much, so we use a walk behind tiller to break up any remaining perennial roots and incorporate the compost. This will be one of the only times we till the soil with machinery.
Next we form our permanent beds by raising the soil with a rotary plow. This allows for better drainage and a nice loose bed for the plants to spread out their roots. We can now go about amending the beds without having to continuously invert the soil with tillers or plows.
Each bed that is directly sown with seeds will be raked of debris and leveled. Next we can mark the rows which we can follow with our seeder for precise spacing. This step makes for much easier weeding and a very attractive garden.