New Hampshire has a short growing season, so many of our projects are attempts to extend that as well as we can.
For example, we built a very simple greenhouse under the deck of the house, which we use for starting seeds, raising worms, and occasionally housing baby chicks. We would like to construct some hoop houses, which would allow us to get some plants in the ground a little sooner.
We start many of our plants from non-GMO seeds (we love heirloom varieties) in the greenhouse, using our own worm castings in our potting soil. We transfer these to our three gardens, which total about a third of an acre, rotating the crops each year.
Currently we use pigs to till the gardens (less work for us, more fun for them). But we hope to start some no-till gardens as well.
We spread poop from various animals before putting the pigs in or as top dressing – for example, rabbit poop, which is high in nitrogen and particularly good for tomatoes and other nightshade plants. And of course, the pigs contribute their own. Once the plants are in the ground, we spray them with worm tea, which often produces visible results almost immediately.
Everything is done naturally, without chemicals or pesticides. The gardens provide food for everyone at the farm, plus enough to can, freeze, and preserve for the winter months. And we sell some of the produce at the Newport Farmer’s Market.
Among the vegetables that we raise are: greens, tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, broccoli, artichokes, melons, summer and winter squash, rhubarb, asparagus, and carrots. But we’re always trying new things!
We’ve also started experimenting with aeroponic gardening, initially for micro-greens.
Long term plans include terracing the hill behind the house with raised beds, but that’s a pretty ambitious plan, and we have a lot of other things to do first. But we can dream!