Autumn on the Farm
Green manure crops have been prepped and sowing continues through May with a mixture of cereals and legumes sown in to add carbon, nitrogen and the life that thrives in the soil from growth to decomposition of the crops.
The great thing about growing your own food is that you can also save seed to the crops you are most pleased with. This is to ensure you always have a supply of food for following years to come. But of course, the chosen plants give you more seed than you need so I will be packaging our seed for sale soon. I will also be running a seedsaving workshop soon, pre spring.
Following the rains that arrived to make conditions favourable for mushroom season to begin, Matt and the farm crew have been out foraging here and there.
The most common fruiting at the moment are the slippery jack, field mushroom and the saffron milk cap pictured, from risotto, marinated, curry and fried with herbs, garlic and butter, foraged mushrooms have featured almost daily in meals on the farm.
Over the last year Matt has studied and completed the ‘Soil Food Web’ course by Dr Elaine Ingham. This has enlivened his composting methods to encourage a plethora of microorganisms to be incorporated into the soil structure of the veg, herb and fruit production of the farm.
This method involves incorporating a more diverse range of ingredients and turning the compost twice when the middle has reached a certain temperature range for a few days. This further ensures a more rapid and completely digested compost to host a smorgasbord of microorganisms. This eliminates the need for imported fertiliser and minerals. Ongoing or occasional compost teas or extracts top up the feeding regime for the microorganisms in the soil.
Worm castings have also featured in the planting mix. Most veggie scraps from the kitchen mixed with an equal portion of saw dust, semi broken down wood chips and occasionally cow manure. All these add up to a healthier, more aerobic habitat, quick to be consumed by worms and microorganisms creating an odourless system.
One of my favourite composts, slow as it is to breakdown, is the leaf mould compost.
The amazing amount of micro-organic life it takes to break the leaves down into humus resembles a deep rainforest soil that most plants thrive in.
Winter Composting workshop – Coming soon!