This is now the third state that we have farmed in and we honestly hope that this will be the last. Building a farm is no easy task. With each state has come new and unique challenges… But this one by far has been the most challenging. This comes from not having tilling equipment in the Spring to get the ground ready, the fact that there was no infrastructure (green house, fence, wash station, cooler ect.), no cultivating equipment and we are having to build relationships with the markets, coops, restaurants and our new community. Oh and did I mention that it’s been pretty much Larry solo lately because I hurt my ankle skateboarding about 4 weeks ago. While facing all of these challenges has been quite daunting at times, it has also been a great joy as we learn so much about agriculture, life and our characters. For we know that the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it1
In this growth process we are also trying new things. One of the most exciting is that we have decided to try farming using “Veganic” principles. We have always tried to use as little animal products as possible. But since we have come to a piece of virgin land we felt it would be an opportune time to remove all potentials for GMOs or any such contaminants by removing all animal products from our farming practices. In South Dakota we pretty much did this, with the exception of the bird and bat guano in the starts mix. It has been a major task finding a starts mix without a “charge” albeit animal product in it, especially here in Indiana. With no other option in sight we have been building our own from scratch. Small scale CNG farming is rare in Indiana and finding raw materials has also been difficult. However, not impossible! I am happy to report that we have come up with a starts mix that follows “Veganic” principles that is doing well. We have starts in the green house that are flourishing and vibrant. We will keep you updated on how this process goes.
We have also decided not to use peat moss in our starts mix this year related to the fact that this is not a quickly renewable resource. This challenge has been unique because there are really no other alternatives…except for coconut coir. The major trade off here is that it is shipped from India. When we visited South Africa to study sea water agriculture we learned that they have been using coconut coir for a long time as a growing medium for their hydroponic systems. As we have been using it we have discovered that it retains water much better than the peat moss and it does not become hydrophobic as it dries.
With the limited amount of hands on the farm Larry is having to rely much more on mechanical cultivating then ever before. We have purchased a set of beet knives for the Allis-Chalmers G. This is a mechanical cultivating tool used for close cultivation. It has a long, flat vertical face that runs parallel to the row that protects the crop by preventing the dirt from damaging the plant. While a thin, flat sweep runs horizontal under the surface of the ground on the other side of the vertical face from the plant pulling out the weeds. Because the sod was spaded and tilled for the first time this year we have had some minor issues using this tool. But never fear it just keeps getting better every day. The more we farm the land and nourish the soil the easier all of these things will get.
We want to continue to thank all of our friends and family that have made it possible for us to start our ministry. From our families making it possible to live on this farm and for coming out to help…to our friends in South Dakota…last month Janet and Richard and this month our good friend Jed helping with the green house. Oh and we cant forget our loyal long time friends Matt and Jeremy. We truly love you all and thank you for supporting local agriculture!
We praise God every day for this beautiful farm that He has given us!Back to Blog