Every Other Week
Though I do not believe a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there and I am prepared to expect wonders.” — Henry David Thoreau
By Jared Clark
A line of pipe setup to irrigate a block of cover crop
At long last October has arrived. We welcome the cool mornings and shorter days and the change of pace they bring.
In the vegetable fields harvests from the summer crops wane and we prepare the fields for cover crops. As a crop comes out of production we use the rotary mower on our tractor to shred up what remains of the crop. After that we wrestle the drip tape out from all that organic matter and we roll it up on reels for use next season. This can be quite a tedious process but well worth the effort as we are able to reuse drip tape for several seasons.
After the drip tape is removed the field is ready for tillage. We assess moisture left in the soil and irrigate as necessary to bring soil moisture up to an optimum level for tillage. We use tillage to incorporate all the crop residue and organic matter into the soil and to prepare the soil for cover crop seed. The offset disc is our primary tillage tool. After a pass or two through the field with the disc we are ready to sow cover crop seed. We are using purple vetch and oats for our overwintering cover crop.
The vetch is a vining legume and it is used to add organic matter to the soil and nitrogen through a symbiosis between bacteria and its roots. The oats are used to add organic matter to the soil, provide a scaffold for the vetch the grow on, and their extensive root system breaks up compaction and prevents any nutrients from being leached from the soil.
Both vetch and oats are excellent forage for our grazing livestock in the Spring. We don’t yet have a seed drill to pull behind the tractor to sow seeds so we broadcast cover crop seed by hand. We weigh out the seed and distribute into 5 gallon buckets. Each half acre block gets 30 pounds of vetch and 5 pounds of oats. Using the lines left from tractor tillage as our reference we divide the block into equal sections. We walk through the field gently broadcasting the seed as evenly as possible.
After we irrigate the pattern of germination will reveal how well we did. Where the seed contacts the soil small clouds of dust emerge. Our footsteps replace the lines left behind by the tractor implement. This simple act of walking the fields sowing seed by hand evokes an earlier time in agricultural history. With each handful of seed sown we place our faith in the regenerative capacity of these plants so that the soil will again be replenished for planting crops in the Spring.
Featured Farm Product: Pastured Pork
For those of you that enjoy supplementing your diet of farm fresh vegetables with farm fresh pasture raised meats we have pastured pork available!
We raised a couple of Gloucestshire Old Spots (GOS) hogs this year. GOS a heritage breed of hogs known for their ability to produce lean pork from pasture and vegetable scraps. We raised our hogs on pasture and supplemented their diets with organic produce scraps from our fields, organic grain from Modesto Milling, and spent grain (sprouted barley) from American River Brewing our local brewer. Our hogs were harvested and processed at Marin Sun Farms in Petaluma. Our pork is available at our Farm Stand by the cut in our chest freezer. We have limited quantities so be sure to visit the Farm Stand soon!
A heron perched atop on old irriigation line along the canal that borders the farm
Featured Recipe: Winter Squash and Potato GratinWinter Squash and Potato Gratin
Dates and Notes
Permaculture Design Course
Oct. 24, 2015- March 20, 2015
9am-5pm. Registration & Details: www.soilborn.org
$1,100, Pay in full or reserve your place with $300 payment; the remaining balance will be charged by 10/23.
This course is recommended for homeowners, farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, design professionals, community leaders and activists; in short, if you are looking for the tools and strategies to create a sustainable future, this course is for you. Instructors : Hemenway, Larry Santoyo, Michael Becker, Pandora Thomas, Tom Ward, and other guest experts.
Fun on the Farm
Saturday, October 10 2015, 9:30am - 11:30am
-Explore the American River Ranch!
-Meet the farm animals
-Dig in the garden soil
-Make a farm fresh snack
-Create something special to take home
Class will be held at Soil Born Farms American River Ranch, 2140 Chase Dr. in Rancho Cordova
Suggested ages 3-9
$15, $10 Co-op owners
Registration is for children only, accompanying adults are free.
Sign up for Fall/Winter CSA:
Early bird pricing through Oct. 21, limited shares available– get your share early. Sign up: www.soilborn.org or call the office at 916-363-9685.
Our popular Raising Chickens in Your Backyard class is coming back October 10. Register or more details- www.sacfoodcoop.com
10:30am-1:30pm, $35, $30 Co-op owners. Location: ARR