These days it is all too easy to allow ourselves to become accustomed to the concept of instant gratification. We are constantly bombarded with messages that navigate us to the desire for fast results. However, some of the best things in life often come with time, patience and effort. We attempt to model this belief by recognizing that there is a season and reason for everything. Our team, is constantly looking at ways to conserve soil nutrients and thinking about the organic matter that feeds our soil; the way leaf litter nourishes the forest. Recycling nutrients back into the soil is beneficial to the food produced and our environment; a process that requires patience in order to reap the rewards.
As many of you know, starting seeds in early spring still bring lots of unpredictable and cold weather. In an attempt to keep our electricity use low and ‘walk our talk’, vegetable farmer, Ashley Brister, created a manure bed in the hoop house. This process used approximately 25 square hay bales to construct a large rectangular bed that was then filled with unprocessed manure. The heat given off during the manure’s natural process of decomposition was enough to support and sustain some of our seedling growth.
Integrate Rotational Animal Management
We have a working farm at RTB and even our animals are expected to work. For instance, instead of mowing our fields with a loud gas-filled tractor or lawn mower, we mow our fields with our majestic cows and sheep. This not only helps the field with the maintenance but also the manure that is dropped by these animals helps to further the health of the field with nutrients. We have a herd of cattle and sheep here, owned and operated by Agriprenuer, Geoff Kinder, that is 100% grass fed and our fields are manicured by these beautiful and peaceful creatures.
To further mimic nature we have created a chicken tractor that follows the cows, sheep or pigs after they are in the field all the while plucking the insects out of the ground and manure patties. Therefore the chickens are eating a healthy diet while simultaneously helping us with our pest management.
We have pasture raised non-gmo, heritage breed pigs at RTB. They are no strangers to work, they do an amazing job of turning over the gardens in the fall while adding their fertilizer that will sit over winter and compost. In addition, we utilize their services by putting them in thick forests that are being overtaken by invasive species such as bittersweet and rose. The pigs use their snouts to forage for nuts, seeds, insects and roots; thereby displacing the root system of these invasive plants.