Happy autumnal equinox! Great organic gardening workshop we had on Saturday... dug out a fair bit of the plastic mulch from previous farmers (at least figured out a system to do it efficiently), juiced carrots cucumbers and lemons harvested only moments before, met great new friends and neighbors. A guy who got out of the military just last month met the WW2 vet who owns where we farm. Veteran's Collaborative SLO hooked us up with lunch through their network together with what we could russle up on the farm. Ruth made a pasta sauce with all farm-grown ingredients that was delightful :)
After everyone left I continued work on our duck coop until after dark. It's nearly complete! Wish I'd snapped a photo before we left, but you'll see it soon enough!
Photo text reads: "Thank you to our participants that joined us at Branch Mill Organic Farm this past weekend! We enjoyed hosting another wonderful group of veterans and their families for a day of fun and delicious food. Thank you California Fresh Market and Smart & Final Extra! for your generous donations for lunch. Additionally, we're extremely grateful to Beto and crew from Moon Phase Farmers for hosting this special day."
More photos from the veteran's farm workshop at the bottom of this post!
The mornings have been so dreamy lately. Here's Angela harvesting spinach last Wednesday.
Earlier this month we had a Beginning Farmers Workshop co-hosted by the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District. We shared the trainings, classes, research, and courses that prepared us to farm, the alternative forms of financing we leveraged, and our apprenticeships & careers that led us to this place. Attendance was light. We were able to focus on the specific needs of future urban farmers visiting us from Oxnard, CA, where Angie and I previously urban gardened, and a visiting intern from Texas. We're now turning everything into an online resource in a project with the central valley East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District. Learn more and we teach! Sharing opportunities with the next generation of farmers coming up a few years behind us.
Expanded our irrigation system using parts mostly scavenged on the farm, plus the hose we bought using Slow Money SLO financing. I literally dug up some aluminum irrigation pipe sprinklers from a corner of the field and from under several years worth of wildberry bramble. Here you can see the sprinklers going in the far end of our field, in preparation for removing the plastic mulch left underground by previous tenants.
The valve assembly bypass (foreground in picture) will be for "venturi injecting" compost tea and other "fertigation solutions" directly into our drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. Our thanks to our landlord Ruth for saving this equipment from her previous winter squash enterprise.
New visitors at the farm:
Branch Mill Organic Farm & Retreat Center is now hosting a pair of WWOOF interns from Utah! They've recently begun shadowing us mornings a few days each week. You can just baaarely make them out behind the sunflowers in the irrigation photo above.
This Tobacco Hornworm caterpillar (five-spotted hawk moth) was picked off an heirloom Black Krim tomato on our Monday morning field walk. Often confused, the simplest way to tell apart a tobacco hornworm (black spots on white stripes) from a tomato hornworm (simple white stripes) is the color of the non-venomous horn on their bum. Red for tobacco worms and black for tomato worms.
We've had some excitement a few days this week with a visiting egret as seen in this video hunting lizards and grasshoppers in our piles of summer zucchini plants. (If you have the instagram app you can also watch a video tour of our farm on our profile!)
Our hearts are full and our bank account is nearly empty- so buy a share of our CSA for yourself or someone you love! Or for a stranger!
Here's some choice photos from the workshop :) taken by the veteran's outreach coordinator Gabriel: