Frith Farm

Friday, May 17, 2013

Full Bloom

On Wednesday evening we had a perfect thunderstorm. Work was done for the day and whatever we had planted that day got a good soaking before the sun set. 

All the rain has made our trees blossom and bloom. 

And we're definitely enjoying some color in the trees and hearing the wind (constantly!) in the leaves. 

Our asparagus and rhubarb patches have been showing themselves and we've gotten our first taste of green this week as a result!

We've mostly been eating it raw, right out of the ground!

This became a cake, baked by yours truly, and four pies, baked for us by a very generous CSA'er!
If you've been out and about in the past few days, you might have noticed that the dandelions are in full bloom at the moment. In fact, the peak of dandelion madness at Frith was somewhere around Tuesday. 

According to Daniel (and other people too I'm sure), when dandelions are out in their fullest force, it's time to plant potatoes, so on Thursday morning, we planted ours, all twelve beds!

Our potatoes will be pink, purple and yellow beginning in August!

Below you'll see the potato plot that had been recently tilled. And since we're on the subject, this would probably be a good time to explain how tilling works at Frith. 

At the vast majority of farms, tilling up the soil is a part of the normal process of preparing a bed to be seeded. It's a conventional wisdom that has been accepted for years.
For a number of reasons though, Frith only tills in rare instances, such as when a plot has been in pasture and is being cultivated for the first season. 

Although tilling introduces a lot of oxygen into the soil and encourages a lot of growth initially as nutrients are released, the soil loses a lot in the process mostly in terms of the rich ecosystem that has been created and maintained underneath the soil layer we can see. Wormholes are destroyed, root systems are upended and the respiration of millions of microorganisms is increased, sending soil carbon up in the atmosphere. 

To add to all that, weed seed is stirred up by tilling and you often wind up with more weeds than you started with. 

So why did we till up this potato bed?
Well, unfortunately, there just hadn't been time at the end of last season to properly mulch the beds before winter and the weeds were out of control by this week when it came time for potatoes. Tilling isn't something that this farm labels as evil, but it is definitely something that we strive to minimize when possible. 

Tilling and tractor work in general are not something that we rely heavily on here on the farm. In fact, today Josh and I were saying that our expectations of other farms we may work on in the future is going to make us realize how spoiled we are here this season!

1 comment:

  1. What a creative and informative blog! A pleasure to read even I were not related to one of the farmers!!