One of the best parts about farming is that you get to “start over” every year. As we look back on what we have learned this past year, our goal is to make things operate in a more productive way. That is always the goal…improvements, improvements! With this said there are many things that go into planning a farming season. Before we purchased this land we did a basic soil analysis and every thing looked good. We knew that the previous owner of 30 years had never sprayed pesticides or any other chemicals on the field and we were not next to any large GMO farms…essential for us to find land that fit this criteria. What we didn’t realize was, because the previous owner hayed the fields year after year without adding any thing back, our soil was depleted of some important minerals. Boron, copper, zinc, potassium & phosphorus were the main trouble areas. Once we determined that our crops were not flourishing the way they should be we had a more detailed soil analysis conducted. Then Larry went to Berea Gardens to learn how to read the analysis and learn how to use it to determine what our soil needed to improve its mineral content. This was a huge blessing for Larry! It empowered him to learn more about soil and how it needs to be balanced in order for the crops to take up the minerals they need so that our bodies can be nourished when we eat them.
You see its really quite simple…if the minerals are not in the soil or when the soil is not balanced in mineral content it is difficult or impossible for a plant to take up the minerals it needs to thrive. And guess what? If the plant does not take up the minerals that it needs then we do not have the minerals in the foods that we need to thrive. Now you might be thinking…why not just put down some manure? Well for one we are trying to grow without using animal waste due to all of the GMO issues and second because while the manure may allow for growth and thriving plants it will not afford all of the mineral needs that we have as humans to thrive….therefore it will still be lacking.
Now one of the most difficult challenges to this venture was finding the raw minerals. Larry spent months researching pure sources that were organic approved that we felt comfortable putting on our land…God’s land! We are talking tons of material…literally. The next challenge was the finances, how are we going to pay for these much needed amendments? God provides, we had a donation that came in the mail form dear friends that covered the coast of the minerals that our soil so badly needed. Next, how do we spread it on the land…our dear neighbor Paul loaned us his spreader that worked wonderfully to spread the raw materials into the soil.Then we had to get all of this completed before the first snow…big push for time…as always in farming. Another answer to prayer was just before the snow fell we were able to get all of the soil amendments down on the 3 acres we will be planting in this year…PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
This has all been such a blessing as we look back. This year we hope to offer some of the highest mineral content produce we have ever grown. We have already ordered all of the seeds we need for this year and have a planting plan in place. Other plans for this year include:
*New starts mix that should also allow for better growth
*Building a refrigerator unit
*New wash station
*Continuing to grow our compost system
* Amending the rest of the acreage on the farm for the following years planting rotation
We have also enjoyed some time spent with family and friends this winter. We harvested walnuts from a tree on our property, have had bonfires, tractor rides and sleep overs with nieces and nephews and played on the hay bales…so much fun!!
We continue to have struggles, but just when we feel we won’t make it through, God sends us help…Larry’s dad and brother funded and helped build a pump house for us just before the “Winter Blast” hit us!! We can’t thank you all enough for all your prayers, l0ve and support!
We are really excited about our second year on the farm. To all of our first year CSA members..as we enter into our second year boxes will be coming… Lord willing!! To all of our family and friends, we are looking forward to sharing healing nourishing food with you in the months ahead!!