Jason and I are looking for someone to apprentice with us for the 2016 growing season. The apprenticeship will start end of March-early April and go until mid-November. The apprenticeship, as we like to think of it, is much less a job and much more an experience of being an integral part of our farm. We only take on one apprentice at a time, so you would be working closely with us on a daily basis. Our aim is to provide an educational experience that teaches the ins and outs of our style of farming and gives our apprentice the tools to continue farming after they have left our farm. You would also be a part of our community which gets together often for potlucks and other communal activities.
Vegetable farming/gardening experience is helpful but not necessary. Must be physically fit and willing to do hard physical labor. Construction experience is a bonus. Open-mindeness, flexibility and a sense of humor are also attributes that will serve you well on our farm.
There is a $500 stipend and as many vegetables as you can eat. The apprentice will be housed in our brand new yome (a dwelling that is a cross between a yurt and a geodesic dome). The yome is located on our farm and serves as the main living space. There is also an off-grid solar shower house/composting toilet. We are in the process of building an off-grid kitchen. This living area is a work in progress and our apprentice will be asked to help with the construction of this project. There are also on-site laundry facilities.
If you are interested in working with us, please email Jason Oatis at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include a resume and let us know who you are and why you’d like to apprentice on our farm.
We haven’t updated our blog with photos in awhile so we took a few to show what’s going on in the greenhouse in December. Lots of greens!We have 2 polyculture beds going this winter. One outside and one in the hoophouse. These beds have over 15 varieties of cool weather crops growing in them simultaneously. The seeds of the respective veggies were hand broadcast all together and covered lightly with soil on the same day. Soon there was a thick carpet of germinating greens and root vegetables covering the soil. This living mulch quickly outcompetes weeds and helps keep moisture in the soil, so it’s a very low-labor-intensive style of farming. It looks beautiful too!
A few weeks after sowing the seeds, we can begin harvesting the baby greens for delectable salads. By thinning the greens in this way, it makes space for select plants to grow bigger and reach full maturity. We are regularly thinning the polycultures so there is a constant supply of food, but we are careful to make sure that the soil is always covered by the lush vegetables.
Another advantage of polycultures is that they confuse the pests because the varieties are all mixed in with each other. A bug might find one plant he likes to munch on, but the plant next door is probably something totally different, so he’ll have a hard time finding all of the plants of that variety that he craves.
Spring and fall are the best times to start a polyculture, so now is a good time to start planning a spring polyculture in your garden. It doesn’t take much space to grow great polyculture!
This year, we’re looking to expand our production acreage from 1 acre to 5 acres. We’ll be developing a 2 acre perennial plot, a 1 acre rice padi field, and adding another acre of annual vegetables to the 1 acre we already have in production. Currently we have 1 apprentice, Devin, living and working on site. He’s been with us since last September, and doing a fantastic job while learning various aspects of our farm’s day to day operations. We’re hoping to find one more hard-working apprentice to work alongside Devin and help us with our expansion as well as our ongoing vegetable production, CSA and farmers’ market.
Every Saturday, after a day at market, I look forward to the evening when I go out into the fields to soak in the beautiful sunset glow at the time of day when anything I do on the farm is pleasurable. This evening I had the intentions of weeding the burdock bed but I noticed the squash wasn’t looking so peppy. Sure enough the squash bugs had found them! I had just finished reading an article on squash and squash bugs in an older edition of Mother Earth News.
The garlic that we planted last fall is growing beautifully and they should be ready to harvest in 2 or 3 weeks. We know they are about ready because they send up shoots to make flowers and seed we call ‘garlic scapes’. If you love garlic, you will absolutely LOVE garlic scapes!!
About a week ago, a light, early morning frost dusted our spring crops. They shrugged it off without a second thought, while our summer varieties waited patiently in their wood-stove heated greenhouse. The unofficial ‘last frost date’ of April 15th has come and gone with no signal of a late season freeze in the 10 day forecast. While today may not have been the warmest day of the year, it certainly felt like the most humid. That got my mind churning beyond lettuce, carrots and beets. The first thing I thought of was ‘how soon can I jump into the pond for a swim?’ and then I turned my attention to the bright, beautiful tomato starts that have been hardening over the past week. Their bed sits manicured and mulched, awaiting their arrival. Tomorrow seems like a good day for them to enter the ‘real world’ with afternoon showers in the forecast. They’ll be followed by basil, cucumbers, peppers, squash, corn and numerous other summer-thriving crops in the weeks to come. The turn towards summer appears to be upon us, as I thump my wood floor with a good, strong knock. Don’t get me wrong…I cherish the spring and the bounty it brings, but the coming of summer sparks something in the soul of the farmer. The season of abundance is right around the corner!
Winter has melted into spring here at Edible Earthscapes. Haruka and I have been neck deep in our preparations for the upcoming season over the past 2 months and figured it was about time to step back, take a deep breath and let y’all know how things are looking over here these days.
We’ve got 4 varieties of garlic that overwintered very well and are starting into their big growth spurt before the May/June harvest.
Last Tuesday We woke up to a blanket of snow on our farm. About 7 seven inches of the fluffy stuff. Haruka and I went for a walk in the woods as big, dry flakes floated down from the sky.
We got back inside just in time to watch the Presidential Inauguration while we sipped on Snow Maiden sake. We were both deeply moved and inspired by the words of our incoming President, as well as overcome by a sense that this was truly a new beginning. A feeling that was accentuated by a clean, white blanket of snow. It was such an enlightening feeling that I scarcely gave a thought to the fate of the crops growing under row covers in the field. I said “All things come to an end” and went on to engage Arlo and Zafer in a snowball fight. It was a wonderful day.
Two days later we went to a sustainable Agriculture conference (SSAWG) in Chattanooga, and came home yesterday to find our crops thriving and as delicious as ever. I still realize that all things come to an end, but just not until they’re good and ready.