Ono Valley Farm
Field notes from Ono Valley Farm, owned by Carl and Sherry Shafer
Look – what’s up? Hügelkultur (hill mound)! (no-dig raised beds with a difference. They hold moisture, build fertility, maximize surface volume and are great spaces for growing!) How to make one? Plow open a ditch, fill with wood, and manure, cover with compost (all organic material). The mounds should be placed where you can utilize water drainage to your benefit, to catch irrigation for your garden. Plant so weeds cannot get through. You can plant even when it is wet and cold! Make the mounds so you can reach without stepping on them. When we walk on the garden it compacts the soil. Plant to face the sun in the south-west. This completes all elements necessary to garden.
Hoop House – use drip irrigation. Purchased with a USDA grant. Our Farm is organized with a tax number. Under the grant guidelines, we paid for personally and built. USDA inspected and reimbursed. Spinach planted in the fall along one wall. Eaten throughout the winter, in the spring we started harvesting and selling. The pond is used for irrigation water barrels are essential, you cannot use city water and be profitable.
Look at all the natural vegetation that can be consumed, like chickweed, curly doc, yarrow, dandelion. Each can be added to salads.
Develop mulch paths around your garden to protect the soil from compacting. Start beds in late fall for spring planting. Use all resources that are available like grass clippings, leaves, manure, and rotted hay. Grow a cover crop (clover, rye, wheat). In the spring, this is cut into the beds. It adds nutrients.
The potatoes are up. The bed is facing the sun. it takes 8-10 months for manure (green organic matter) to become usable in garden soil. USDA says 120 days of application to harvest manure.
Here is a recipe that the Shafer’s shared with us:
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
1 lb. fresh spinach torn in bite size pieces, 1 red onion, 24 fresh strawberries quartered, ¼ cup pecans or walnuts sprinkled with 1/8 tsp cinnamon, bake 5 minutes in oven until toasted and fragrant, cool.
Poppy seed dressing: 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ tsp dry mustard, 1 ½ tsp salt, ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup plus 3 tbs vegetable oil, 1 ½ tsp poppy seeds. In top of double boiler, combine sugar, mustard, salt and vinegar. Cook over hot water until sugar is dissolved, then transfer to a blender, with motor running slowly add oil to thicken, add poppy seeds and blend. Refrigerate until needed.