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So Much Growth

The warm rains have helped kick off so much green on the farm. It is nice to watch everything grow. The fall and winter test plantings of fig, elderberry and pawpaw in the back field are growing well. We’ve had a few figs that might not make it, but overall it is looking good.

I hope you enjoy the pictures from this week.

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Nice Day in March and New Bees

Walking through the farm reveals a plethora of bushes and trees that are budding out. A few weeks ago, many of these bushes and plants were dormant. Now buds are forming and you can see the first signs of growth of the year.

Last year we sold out of honey from the farm. This year we are adding more bees. The first new hives arrived this week.

The first of the new bee hives have arrived!
Peach tree budding out
More peach buds

Fig tree buds
Terminal bud on a fig tree
Buds on one of the blackberry plants
Blueberries are putting out buds
Mulberry trees are growing quickly
The mighty goji berries seem upstoppable already
Elderberries are off and running, they do so well here
Hazel bush buds arriving. Looking forward to having hazel nuts in 2-3 years

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Join us for Farm Tour Day!

Every year we do a farm tour. This is a great chance to meet the farmers and see the farm. We’ll show you our work in progress and talk about how we do regenerative farming.

Farm tour includes

– detailed tour (family friendly)
– 1/2 lb of honey from our remote mountain location of Troublesome Gap, NC

What to Bring

Just bring yourself and your family and comfortable shoes. We plan to walk on grassy fields and uneven ground.

We are Dirt Farmers and Pesticide / Insecticide Free

If we grow good dirt, then plants will grow and produce abundantly. We use a minimum of organic fertlizers. We avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers. We also don’t use any pesticides or insecticides. We do use natural amendments like woodchips, hay (pesticide / herbicide free) and feather meal.

Diversity of Plants and Trees on the Farm

Let us introduce you to some of the variety of plants, bushes and trees on the farm including

Row Crops
– garlic and onions
– potatoes
– moringa

Fruit Bearing Trees
– mulberry
– hazel
– black walnut
– figs
– olive
– persimmon
– paw paw
– yaupon holley
– pecan

Fruit Bearing Bushes
– blueberry
– goji berry
– elderberry
– blackberry

Specialty
– native cactus (edible / nopales)
– comfrey
– honey bees




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Upcoming Class – Learn to Plant and Grow Potatoes

Learn to Plant and Grow Potatoes

Come join us for a fun and educational event where you can learn all about planting potatoes! Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, this in-person event in Bennett, NC, USA is perfect for anyone interested in growing their own potatoes.

During this hands-on workshop, our farmer will guide you through the potato planting process. From cutting up seed potatoes, preparing the soil and planting potatoes, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and practical skills to grow a bountiful potato harvest. You’ll actually get to work in the soil to get potatoes in the ground and ready to go.

This class starts out by planting potatoes. Following class sessions allow you to learn by doing and helping maintain the potatoes you helped plant. There will be 5 sessions between the inital date and harvest. If you come to 3 of 5 sessions (including the intial day), then you are invited to join us for the harvest day (late May / early Jun).

Discover how to plant and care for your own potatoes. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to dig into the world of potato gardening!

Important note: if weather causes a delay, we will reschedule the next weekend (weather permitting)

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Daikon Working While the Farmer Rests

Daikon (sometimes call field radish or mooli) is a large radish of Japanese origin. We use it as a cover crop on the farm. The daikon helps in 3 ways:

  1. keeps roots and plant life active in the soil over the fall and winter months. This helps keep the soil biologically active. A good farmer first grows soil. If you have good soil then you can grow great plants that are full of nutrients
  2. the tuber sinks down into the ground and helps keep the soil from compacting while expanding the soil at the location where the tuber is growing
  3. acts as a bioaccumulator that takes into nitrogen from the process of photosynthesis and stores it in the tuber

This spring we will terminate the cover crop, leaving the tuber in place to compost over the summer returning the nutrients to the soil. We avoid the use of synthetic fertilizer and cover crops are a big part of making that possible.

Thanks for checking in with what is happening at the farm.

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Farm is Sleeping, Spring is Peeking

This time of year, I tell myself that we have put the farm to bed for the winter. I think saying that belies the actuality that some of the plants keep growing, albeit slowly. Also, it makes it easier to take a break from working on the farm. The downtime is valuable for us farmers.

The garlic is doing well . In the picture below you can see places where weeks are starting to poke through the hay. The next step with the garlic is to put down more hay to help supress weeds. I like growing garlic. It is easy to grow and low maintenance since most of the growing occurs in the winter when most of the weeks have died back.

I hope that you can use to winter months to rest, refit and recharge. Spring will be here before we know it.

Garlic is growing, even on chilly days
You can identify the elephant garlic by the wider leaves
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Putting the Farm to Bed for the Winter

Everything has a season. The cover crops are planted. The hay is put down. The last of the trees and bushes planted. In the last 2 weeks, we have planted paw paw, elderberry and figs.

The cover crop is a mixture of austrian peas, daikon radish and clover. We’ve also planted clover in areas where we cleared brush and limbs. If all goes well there should be plenty of clover for the bees next year.

The first deep frost has come and gone. The fig tree leaves and the elephant ears show the passage of the frost. Many of the young trees we planted have dropped their leaves. It was good year and its nice to be able to take a break.

It takes a lot of help and input and learning to make a farm work. I thank everyone who helped make this year a success!

Pecan tree in the ground and ready to grow roots this fall and winter
Last of the figs before the frost
Connie spotted this grasshopper
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Sunrise on the Farm

This week we had a large brush pile to burn. Camping out on the farm to made it easy monitor the burning brush pile and have a relaxing evening. Thursday morning I got an early start on preparing the rows in the back field for planting elderberries, figs and persimmon. It was nice watching the sun rise as I worked.

We were able to turn the rows that the figs, elderberry and persimmon were planted in. The first picture shows the steam coming off the freshly turned soil. We try to minimize tillage. The approach here is to turn the soil once, then run the harrow and finally the disc through it. Then a cover crop was planted. The fall cover crop consists of daikon radish, austrian peas and clover. The trees and bushes were then planted in the same area as the cover crop. This approach helps prepare the soil over the winter for the trees and bushes when they bud out in the spring. Doing this while monitoring the burning brush pile helped make effective use of time on the farm.

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Planting Paw Paw Trees, Garlic and Enjoying the Fall Weather

Wow, what nice weather. It was nice working on the farm with the temperatures in the mid 70s! We spent the day planting garlic, putting down cover crops (after terminating the cover crops in that area yesterday), and planting Paw Paw trees.

We’re excited to finally get the Paw Paw trees planted. The trees we planted are 6 months old. We are hoping to have fruit from the Paw Paws in 3-4 years from now, but it could take longer. The trees came from 2 different sources to help give genetic diversity. One set of trees were propagated from the seed from Paw Paw fruit. The rest were purchased as seedlings. We grew them from seedlings in the spring to trees that were ready to plant this fall.

The next step with the garlic is to put down hay for weed suppression and feather meal as a nitrogen supplement. We’ve had 2 rounds of cover crops since we harvest the garlic. Both rounds of cover crops used buckwheat.