Hay Bale Garden Tour

Here’s a tour of our experimental hay bale gardens:

How to Plant Garlic and Grow It as a Perennial

So the garlic is all planted, finally. I put approximately 6000-7000 cloves in the ground.

Some were planted in a ring around our fruit trees, and strawberries for their aromatic protection against pests. Most were planted in large blocks with vacant strips in between, so that vulnerable crops can grow within a protective border of garlic.

Usually, garlic is planted in the fall, and harvested the following year, in mid-to-late summer. This cycle is then repeated year after year, which is very time consuming and tedious.

I’m going to try growing our garlic as a perennial patch, so that I won’t ever have to plant garlic again unless we buy more seed stock to expand the patch, or plant more protective borders around fruit trees etc.

I will still cut all the premature flower heads but instead of pulling up all the plants, selling most and replanting enough to keep our stock up, I’ll pull only the biggest plants, leaving the rest in the ground to divide themselves and create more plants.

Every few years in the spring I’ll scatter some manure or coffee grounds over the patch, and every fall I’ll spread a thick layer of hay or tree leaves to suppress weeds. If weeds start to take over an area during the growing season, I’ll simply cover them with leaves or woodchips, making sure not to bury the garlic plants if possible.

The beds will never be tilled or dug. They were prepared simply by covering the undisturbed ground with about 2 inches of compost, manure, or coffee grounds, pressing the cloves into this, and covering with several inches of hay. No back-breaking labour or soil disturbance required.

I’ve tried this with a small garlic patch for the last few years and it’s worked very well so I’m confident that it will work on a relatively large scale. I’m looking forward to saving a lot of time on unnecessary tasks.

Twinkle Toes

Got the horses feet trimmed this weekend.  As this (trimming horses) is what I do for a living, I usually end up making sure my clients horses are taken care of first, which often leaves little time to do my own unless I specifically schedule them in.

In comparison to most of the horses I see on a regular basis, trimming our horses is always a treat.  This isn’t just because they know me and trust me. Although I don’t see them as often, I consider all the horses I trim to be ‘my’ horses meaning that I treat them with the same genuine care, love and respect as if they were my own which builds strong rapport. The ‘treat’ is picking up the hooves and finding there is almost no work to do at all.

The lack of ‘work’ is because of the naturalized environment we have set up for our horses.  Our paddock simulates a wild environment for the horses in which they move more, eat slower, have a species appropriate diet, come and go as they please from the shelters, interact with other horses at all times (play, groom, sleep, etc.) and most convenient for me… maintain their own hooves!!

We have actually added stones and gravel to the horses’ environment (contrary to traditional or conventional practices).  Hard, textured surfaces not only wears the hooves down but also forms harder, stronger, more resilient hooves.  Hard footing = hard hooves, soft footing = soft hooves. This is why the outdated practice of affixing metal to the bottom of horses’ hooves still exists today.

When we keep our horses in an unnatural and unhealthy environment then our horses are susceptible to becoming unhealthy and having hooves that are unnatural.  They become pathological and diseased due to lack of proper wear or by unnatural influences from man (horse-shoeing, misinformed trimming techniques).  Unnatural and unhealthy come hand in hand.  Natural and healthy are not all that difficult to acheive but we must learn to trust nature, evolve from traditional practices, and not be afraid to seem a little ‘strange’.

If you’d like to learn more about natural and holistic horse-keeping, please check out my website www.empathyequine.com. We also offer lessons, consultations and presentations on holistic horse-keeping. Contact info@healinghorsecentre.com

Angel gets her feet trimmed while the others eagerly await their turn

Time to grow our blog!

Our second growing season has come to an end and finally we’ve got some time to start up-dating or ‘growing’ our blog. We want to say thank-you again to our loyal CSA and market customers as well as our interns and volunteers who had a part in helping us to grow a greater good. We hope you enjoyed reading about the goings-on around the farm in our weekly newsletters. For those of you who are just learning about us, you’ll find there is never a dull moment around here. 🙂

Today we’ve got farm tours and horse demonstrations, a spin off from the success of our participation in the Kawartha Farmfest tours.  We’re also busy with processing our produce to store over winter, which will be offered for sale. We have tables at the downtown Thursday Peterborough Farmers Market, which goes until Christmas, as well as the Thursday Farmers Market at Fleming College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay.  Donna and Michelle are working on making ‘flavoured radish chips’ today with our extra radishes. It’s a great way to use up those that don’t end up going to the market as they’re a little odd shaped or have grown a little too big for the bunches.  We debuted them at the Bobcaygeon Farmers Market last summer and have gotten a lot of good feed back.  We almost always offer free samples with our value added products so stop by our market tables and see what unique yummy products we’ll be offering next.

We’ve got another tour starting in a few minutes, so I’ve got to sign off.  Stay tuned for frequent updates from our on-farm partners.  Ta-ta for now! -Kaileen

October 29th, 2011 - Guests pose after their "fascinating" garden tour.

Michelle and Donna make yummy radish chips

Welcome to our farm website!

Our website is a seedling growing day by day, just like our farm and the food we’ve planted. Read about us here. Check back often for updates.

You can purchase our sustainably grown produce — at the farm, the new Bobcaygeon farmers market, in Lindsay and Peterborough. You can buy as much or as little as you like, including a June-through-October weekly food box. See the 2010 produce list.

Why buy local?

  • eat fresh — maximize nutrition
  • healthy — no chemicals used to grow our veggies, herbs and fruits
  • food sensitivities — try field to plate
  • food security — you’re assured it’s available close to home and you know the people and land behind your food
  • support local farmers — your neighbours and friends
  • reduce our carbon footprint — slow global warming
  • try new foods — it’s fun… or old foods in new ways