We are always experimenting to see what works best for our area. Last year it was swales and berms, which have been fairly successful. This year it will be different earth works and a deeper look into our personal food systems. Below is a list of our current experiments:
- Corn- The best way to grow it. Sunken hugel bed and corn planted in the bottom of crater gardens for wind protection. Which will do best? I suspect the wind protection will be a big boon to growing corn here, though the soil at the bottom of the craters is quite hard, so may not allow the corn to grow sufficient roots. We shall see.
- Potatoes- I bought 4 different varieties of potatoes and I am going to plant them in 3 different ways to see what does the best. Some will be planted in our raised bed, some in the berms and some in a tire tower.
- Bio char is going to be added to a wide variety of plantings to see if it helps.
- We are going to be testing the viability of Sainfoin as a dry land forage/hay.
- I am going to be setting up the silvapasture but have not decided what the best planting method will be yet. Do I plant in holes for water and wind protection, but risking animal legs, or do I do swales? I don’t know. See what we come up with and how it goes.
- Ginseng experimentation. Can it grow here? What is the proper soil/sun conditions in our area. We will be spreading 250 ginseng seeds through various rows of trees in our tree line and seeing what does best.
- Best earth work for our environment. Now, I enjoy our swales and berms and still believe in them. However, the bush experiment from last year has me thinking basins and mini craters are going to be the absolute best way to grow things here. This years earth works will be building basins and mini craters and testing them against last years systems.
It is an exciting time for us here on the farm. Establishment has been stressful, expensive and exciting. I can’t wait to see how our plants succeed here.