One of the goals of Cascadian Farm is educating people about the basics of organic farming. As I mentioned in my last post, scattered among the lower farm fields is a self-guided tour, for folks that stop off at the Roadside Stand and are interested in learning a little bit more about what goes on at the Farm.
Since some of you might never make it to the amazing Skagit Valley, I thought I would take you though a part of the Farm Tour here on the blog. It's a little technical, but also pretty darn interesting!
3 main tour stops:
Grow your own fertilizer
- Green Manure crops are any crops grown just for feeding the soil. Different plants or mixtures of plants can provide wonderful benefits and nutrients for the next crop when you grow them and work them back into the soil. As little as 30 days of growth can provide good results.
- Cover crops planted in the fall and allowed to grow over the winter protect the soil from erosion, prevent nutrients from leaching into the ground water, and add organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
- The leaves and plants that fall to the ground naturally decompose and become plant food over time. Making compost on the farm or in the garden accelerates this natural process and provides a way to recycle those parts of the plants we don't eat. A mixture of fresh green and dry brown ingredients along with a bit of water creates an environment in which the decomposing organisms can thrive and create nutrient rich, biologically active compost for you
Blueberries like bogs
- Blueberries have fibrous surface roots that thrive in the damp peaty high organic matter surface layer of their native home, a bog. We apply layers of compost and sawdust to our plants each year. This mulch mimics the native environment for these bog plants and helps control the weeds. Deeper roots bring water and minerals from the soil below.
- Each spring blueberry bushes leaf out and flower. Bees pollinate the flowers producing berries for harvest in August. New branches sprout, which will bear fruit the following year. In fall, the bushes add spectacular color to the landscape. Each winter, we prune the bushes to achieve a balance between fruit production and new growth
- Blueberries and raspberries do well in this area. Their native cousins live nearby so there is a natural population of the beneficial insects that control their pests.
Since I couldn't include all of the self-guided tour stops in this post, I have also created a Flickr set of the entire tour here. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Want more Certified Organic, Guaranteed Delicious™ stories from Cascadian Farm? You can get a $1 off coupon when you sign up for our email newsletter. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed for fresh stories almost every day!