Plowing in Cover Crop
Cover crops are a major part of organic farming. A wonderful publication available through West Coast Seeds is "Cover Crop Management". There are a multitude of different cover crops you can use. We have about 12-14 we use in our rotations. Each one specific to time of year, crop to follow, stage of rotations, weed preasure on field and cost.
Cover Crops Enhance bird and Bee Habitat
Every Summer we plant 2-4 covercrops of black oil sunflowers as a cover crop. We then over seed with a winter cover crop and leave to stand to maturity. This provides amazing insect habitat. A stroll through the blocks of sunflowers can leave you mesmerized by the number of different bees that exist. The flowers eventually set seeds and draw in a whole new crowd. For weeks every time you pass the patch, dozens of red wing blackbirds are there. As well as countless smaller songbirds. The sunflowers are incredible for weed surpression and soil building. They can be worked in at any stage for a wonderful seed bed. Left standing they are great overwintering habitat for various insects and bees.
Frogs In The Fields
It is such a joy to have very healthy frog populations on the farm. Having 4 ponds and continuous rotations of crops and undisturbed buffer zones has shown very successful in the huge numbers of native frogs on the property. Every day while picking we encounter various species of frogs.
Freshly Planted Potatoes March 15
Mobile Chicken House
The Old House Orchard
Behind the farm house is a wonerful small orchard. It was planted in 1939 by a man by the name of Turnbal. He was an orchard man from out east. He built the steep pitch barn, being used to the heavy snow loads of Ontario. In 1939 he planted what I see as a very practical orchard. It lets you harvest and eat apples in a managable fashion from July to late october at which point you have plenty of storage apples to carry you through for the next couple months. There are seven varieties of apples a...
Upper Fields Border Mt. Doug Park
Sunflower cover crop
The magic of the upper sandy fields is beans in late October.
This crop followed a planting of early potatoes. On the hillside you can plant beans until the last week of July. The come in slow at the end. Usually they dodge a few frost as the cold air rolls down the mountain to settle in the lower fields. We love having marvelous green beans for our customers to serve come Thanksgiving.
Timing your winter carrots
Carrots are like gold in the winter. People will line up for a great carrot in the winter. Over the years we have found it is so important to have carrots for as much of the year as possible. To have carrots in the middle of the winter they must be planted no later than August 15 in Victoria. I do many experiments on the window of opportunity with every variety of vegetable. You will find carrots planted early the first week of august will be ready the first week of october. Planted the second w...
Thanks to the Municipality of Saanich, water rates for farmers have been frozen. Three years ago, I picked up 2,000 feet of 5 inch aluminum pipes from a dairy near Parksville. The increased pipe diameter means the pressure lost to friction and distance from the front of the farm to the highest point in the back is minimal. We we able to discontinue the use of PTO pump on the ponds. In the first season, more even watering helped us double our production from the slope. We also dropped fuel consum...
Spring in the high fields