The spring growing season is upon us once again here at Wildfire Fellowship Farm, the winter hoop house spinach crops have gone by and we are ready to start the new season!
Soon the propagation area of the barn will be full of trays containing hundreds of soil blocks, each is the starting medium for a seed. Some of the seeds are no larger than a fleck of pepper, they will soon be growing into vigorous plants ready for transplant.
Outside on the land our permanent raised beds stand ready for transplants. Our first outside plantings have started this week with the aid of fabric row covers to help control for the cool spring temperatures. We have introduced the permanent raised beds as a way to intensify soil health and reduce mechanical tillage.
As the days get longer and the soil warms our nearly 1000 cloves of garlic that were planted last fall begin to crest the surface. Their green whips remind us that some plants need the harshness of winter to grow into their full character.
Now that the winter spinach crop has gone by we cover the beds with black landscape fabric to weaken the plants before they are cleared for the another crop. We also use the hoop houses to transition seedlings to outdoor weather before they are transplanted.
In addition to preparing for the new growing season we are getting ready for our new Scottish Highland cows Polly and Bronwen. We have established a spring fed water source and are in the process of setting up paddock fencing. We will be practicing intensive rotational grazing with our herd. Simply put we will be moving our cows around the property frequently, even daily! A combination of fixed and portable fencing will guide our small herd to their grazing location every day. This practice closely mimics the natural grazing pasterns of animals such as wild buffalo. This natural grazing method will help enrich and build our soil for years to come.
We expect the cows to be on the farm in early May, they will be coming to us from Stan Maynard’s Orchard Hill Farm located just outside Caribou Maine.
Spring on the farm wouldn’t be complete without picking a few rocks out of the growing beds. They say we grow great rocks here in Maine!
Our spring growing season is off to a great start here on the farm, we look forward to seeing new customers this year in our CSA and at market.