CSA Box Content Pictures

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tilling, Notill, Mulching, Compost???

In our first year at AVF (Ananda Valley Farm) we planted cover crops and then tilled them under in the spring and then rototilled in a layer of compost.

This year we are also plowing most of our fields as last year.

However we also will be trying a no-till approach on 9 rows and see how that goes.

A few months ago we visited a CSA farm in Sebastopol called Singing Frogs Farm to learn about the notill techniques they used.  It was quite impressive, Farmer Paul there just puts compost on the beds without tilling it in. This approach protects the soil's health, increases organic matter, and promotes microbial life.  Farmer Paul has created a fair amount of discussion in some farming circles.  You can read about here:



After seeing Farmer Paul's approach we also decided to not till in our compost.  Instead we'll just add a thin layer to the tops of every bed and then plant in them.
We'll report back later in the year how this approach compared to our experience last year when we tilled in both the cover crops and compost.
Here's a compost pile, ready to be spread around:

Start of 2015 Season -- Our 2nd year!

Ananda Valley Farm is getting ready to start planting for the 2015 CSA. 
On this blog site we'll post visual snapshots so you can see how your food is being grown and all that goes into running an organic CSA farm.

The fields have been plowed and beds have been formed:

Last year we ended up with 30 CSA subscribers, quite a good number for a first year.  This year we are planting enough for 100 boxes, so tell your friends.

Recently we went to an agriculture class on crop planning, the instructor, Jim Leap, said "crop planning isn't rocket science, it's harder!"

After going through and developing a spreadsheet for this, the instructor was pretty accurate:
If you want to see our planning sheet, you can download it here (it doesn't show well online).
It's a harvest demand driving calculation: enter how much you want to harvest and when, then derive the transplant schedule, then derive the seeding schedule:

Seeds have been purchased:  We bought most of our seeds from Johnny Seeds and High Mowing Seeds.  Companies that cater to the market and organic farmer.  Seeds sit in the cooler in plastic tubs:

5 trays of seedlings have already been planted:

The first sprouts have already come up!

We are installing an overhead sprinkler in our hoop house to keep them watered.