Our Growing Practices
We strive to be as transparent as possible in all aspects of our production.
We are constantly working to improve the quality of our soil through the addition of composted food waste, manures, leaf mulches and organically certified amendments to increase the levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and micronutrients in our soil. Soil is like a living organism, and when healthy will produce the most delicious, nutritious, and productive fruits and vegetables.
Each year we plant a variety of soil building cover crops such as oats, field peas, rye, and hairy vetch to add nutrients to our soil and prevent erosion during the winter. These cover crops will be turned into the soil in the spring providing valuable and accessible nutrients to the next season's crops. We will continue to use cover crops whenever possible to improve the quality of our soil and perform annual soil tests to track the progress of our fertility building.
Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and Fertilizers
Although we are not currently pursuing organic certification, we are familiar with the organic standards and will minimize our environmental impact by using no chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers. We believe the costs of synthetic chemical use in agriculture outweigh the benefits (mainly higher yields) and will attempt to use preventative measures such as crop rotation, floating row covers, and inter-cropping to keep pests away.
If there is a pest infestation we will consider the use of organically certified pesticides, derived from natural sources that target only specific pests. If there is an infestation or disease that cannot be remedied using organic methods, we will remove the plant material from the field and accept the loss of that crop for that season.
We will never use herbicides of any kind. We will use manual methods (hoeing and hand weeding) to control weed pressure in the field.
We will use certified organic seeds when they are available, and if a viable source of organic seed is not available for a certain crop, we will purchase the conventional variety from New England seed companies that supply organic seed.
We will NEVER knowingly purchase or grow genetically modified (GMO) seeds.
Heirloom seeds are open pollinated and have been preserved and passed down for years. They are usually prized for unique colors and fabulous flavors. We will attempt to grow some heirloom plants and provide heirloom seedlings at our seedling sale in May.
The farm will use one small diesel tractor and one small gas tractor to do most of the preparation and cultivating this season. We will make every effort to use the tractors as efficiently as possible.
The farm is working to develop an irrigation strategy that will use the least amount of water, most efficiently. Some methods include the use of drip irrigation at night to increase absorption and decrease evaporation and the use of plant mulches to retain soil moisture.