Crop Rotations: We employ the old traditional crop rotations C.O.R.N. on our main six acres of production: corn, followed by oats, followed by rye/pumpkins, followed by 2-3 years of nitrogen fixing legumes or fallow periods.
Nitrogen Fixing Fertilizing Legumes (beans, peas, and clovers): We do not use chemical fertilizers on our farm. Instead, we prepare the soil in a manner that allows a natural fertilizing system to work. Clover and other legumes planted in a mild pH soil allow a type of bacteria to grow in the clover roots. This harnesses free nitrogen in the air and places it in the soil, allowing the plants to be naturally fertilized.
Fertilizing directly by animals: All of our animals place their droppings directly on the land. This enriches the soil with a slow release, complete fertilizer system that builds the organic material in the soil and the health of our farming system.
Rest: Designing rest in a natural system is the key to long term productivity and health. Rest allows the substructure of the soil to be restored to health. As plants grow and are grazed/clipped, the soil is improved, because the root structure below the plant shrinks and decays before regrowing. This builds the carbon capacity of the soil and cleans our air, while naturally fertilizing the soils.
Minimal Tillage: We use our three draft horses for all phases of soil preparation and harvest on the three to four acres under tillage each year. With less than one percent of the farm acreage under tillage, soil erosion is kept to an absolute minimum.
Grass Based: Our main farm management goal is being a grass based farm that efficiently harvests the sun’s energy. Having grazing animals directly on pastures eliminates much of the energy dependent (i.e. diesel fuel consumption) processes of a typical modern farm, including cutting, harvesting, storing, feeding, and spreading fertilizer.