We moved to our new farm in Summertown, Tennessee, at the end of the summer in 2015. The farm was an organic farm before we moved there, so I was excited to know we weren't dealing with any residue from pesticides. However, the previous farmer used something that many farmers love to use:
BLACK PLASTIC SHEETS.
You may have heard me harp on this before. Imagine this: You go outside on a sunny, summer day. It's 85 degrees outside. You wrap yourself in black plastic garbage bags and lay on the ground. How are you going to feel in a few minutes?
Imagine how the plants feel, being surrounded by this black plastic! The plastic makes the ground way too warm and leads to a need for more and more watering. But most importantly, the beneficial microbes in the soil are literally being baked to death. Those microbes are working the soil, adding valuable nutrients to the crops we're growing.
So, we've been ripping out old black plastic from the ground, tilling the ground to expose the rich dirt underneath, and adding nutrients back into the soil. I let my cows graze the field earlier this spring to deposit manure, which helps the soil immensely. (Plus, the cows benefit from free ranging all over the farm on fresh growing grass!) We also added lots of compost, and even supplement the soil with old milk that we can't sell. The fermented milk adds probiotics into the soil and the sugars are used up by the growing plants. Nothing is wasted using this method.
Once the soil is prepped, we're planting the veggies and fruit plants that we've ordered for this year or started in our greenhouse. We continue to supplement the soil with compost and dairy as the plants grow. We mulch around the plants once they're big enough to foster that good activity that's happening around the plant roots.
More updates to come!