Running a micro-farm, Part 2
From February through September, it is endless rotations of seeding, planting, harvesting, cleaning, re-seeding, re-planting, re-harvesting, re-cleaning, interspaced with fertilizing, watering, loving!
The work never ends is seems. In September, here in Oregon, we are still in the thick of harvesting tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, all kinds of greens, broccoli, cabbages, beets, carrots, the list goes on…. After the first cold we will bring in winter squash, onions, some beets, some carrots (some of them will remain in the ground, which provides adequate storage for a while still).
Grapes will also be harvested, and slowly the beds outside will get picked, gleaned for canning, cleaned up (the sheep will eat a lot of the plants that would otherwise go to the compost).
Then the beds get turned, and at that point I will add our home-made composted manure (from our sheep) as well as some mint compost or garden compost to keep on building the tilth (year after year). Then I pull out the large pieces of black plastic (that I use year after year) and I cover the beds. In the Pacific Northwest, if I want to be able to get in my garden before April or May, the extra layer of protection will help me to accomplish this specific goal!
When I uncover the beds in March, it is like butter. I turn the soil with ease, I amend it, and it is ready to be planted in. Ready to receive seeds or young plants equally.
I try and put a lot of food up for the winter. These are some of my favorites:
I freeze: green beans, cauliflowers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, peas, peppers, shredded zucchini, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries,
I can fruit jams, apple juice, pickles,
My husband makes sauerkraut and kimchi,
We store potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, winter squash, beets and carrots,
We harvest lambs for meat.
I tend to the gardens, I tend to the animals, I tend to the land, our home and our children, with care and love and never-ending joy. I get tired, discouraged, upset even angry, that is all part of the package but what a good life I have!
Look for part 3, when I will talk about running a micro-CSA, networking with local folks and feeding our family to the rhythm of the seasons.