Our gardening practice.
In our gardens we grow a variety of organic vegetables: two types of potatoes (white and purple), Jerusalem Artichoke, carrots and beets, turnips, peas, white and red onions, kohlrabi, reddish, a few varieties of summer and winter squash, white and red cabbage, gourds, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, celery, beans, peppers, white and purple eggplants, slicing and pickling cucumbers. Our heirloom tomato varieties include Speckled Roman, Striped German, Yellow Pineapple, Black Prince, Sungold Cherry, Black Cherry, Moskvich, Green Zebra, and a few Siberian types.
Of course a garden would not be a garden without flowers and herbs. Zinnias, Calendula, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Gladiolus, Echinops, Ranunculus, Dahlias, to name a few. And Julia’s FARMtastic cooking wouldn’t be so fantastic without the most amazing culinary herbs! A few types of basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, chives, mint, nettle and adding more to the list every year.
We use only sustainable practices in our gardens and never a drop of chemical poisons. We use organic compost to fertilize the land when needed, use rotating crops approach, plant enough to share with the bug world and use light row covers for our brassica family crops. It’s just hard to look at those cabbage butterflies passing through on hot sunny windless days and think of them as enemies!
We water only in the beginning stage of planting while the roots are establishing themselves. Then we heavily apply straw mulch between the rows and the plants for water retention to give our plants to most desirable growing conditions. Stability in moisture control is what they mostly thrive on, rather than “dry” and “wet” spells in between watering.
And where the mulch was too thin and the weeds still grew through we "hire" an amazing weeding team! We take our shoes off, soak up some sun, make up stories and weed, weed, weed... And when the amazing time of harvest comes it’s all worth it!
Here's our "Hurray, we're going mulching!" song kids made up while learning about mulching on the farm in WI we visited on our "learning to farm wwoofing cross country trip".
From the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening:
"MULCH: A layer of material, preferably organic material, that is placed on the soil surface to concerve moisture, hold down weeds, and ultimately improve soil structure and fertility. As with composting, mulching is a basic practice in the organnic method; it is a practice which nature employs constantly, that of always covering a bare soil. In addition, mulching also protects plants during winter, reducing the dangers of freezing and heaving."