We have passed the winter solstice and the daylight hours are very slowly extending. The winter solstice marks the shortest day and in many cultures and across many different histories it has been seen as a day of significance. It is often referred to as mid winter, however this is only the case in countries and cultures that define the seasons astronomically. This is when the seasons are delineated by specific points in the Earth's trip around the sun.
In Australia where we use a meteorological definition the winter solstice or shortest day does not mark mid winter. In Australia June 1st is the beginning of winter therefore the shortest day is not considered to be mid winter. This is particularly so if you live in the cold climate area of the Southern Tableands, where we are located, as we still have the coldest part of winter to come. So while the day light hours start to increase the temperature continues to get colder.
Interestingly, even though we still have some cold weather to come, you will probably start to see an increase in egg production. Hens are one of the many creatures who have a physiological response to the length of day and night. Egg production drops significantly in late autumn and usually begins to slowly increase after the shortest day. This is more evident as a chicken matures. Other birds respond too - especially migratory birds who need to travel vast distances to breed or feed en mass. Many of your farm animals are not as responsive, apart from a thickening of their autumn coats you wont see much change.
So, the daylight hours may be gently increasing we still have many frosty mornings to go with frozen water troughs and very active chickens and water fowl. During this coldest part of winter the gardening day cannot begin until the frost has abated and the garden warms up. I like the slow start to the days this brings, sitting by the fire drinking tea while waiting for water to become liquid again in the animal's water bowls.
Each season has its own rhythm and characteristics. It is easy to see why so many cultures attached ritual and celebration to mark these changes.
Keep warm and enjoy the slow lane in the garden - we have planted lots of vegetables over the last few weeks - now we get to watch them very, very slowly grow.
I find the winter garden a fascinating place to be and so different to the summer garden. There is more time in the winter garden, the life energy has slowed down and there is a gentler pace to everything. I love weeding in winter because once you have removed the weeds they take months to grow back. The soil also responds differently. While it may be dry it does not take much water to make it moist, and we find that a hand water is sufficient during the dry periods of winter, whereas in summer this is totally inadequate. In winter, while we may have periods that are quite dry the soil remains very cool and evaporation is at a minimum. According to Roger Hosking our local Weather Data Analyst “Soil water / soil dryness is a complex function of rainfall, temperature, evaporation and vegetation type” and I find this most evident in the winter garden.
Frost of course adds another dimension. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) "Frost occurs when the ground and ambient air cools down by the loss of heat to the atmosphere. This most commonly occurs under clear skies and with little or no wind. Clear skies favour the escape of radiation (heat) from the earths surface to space. Frost s a deposit of ice crystals formed on objects exposed to the air. Water vapour in the air freezes upon contact with an object that has a surface temperature below 0°C. Frost begins at ground level and gradually rises to higher objects. Crop covers can be used to manage the risk of frost by preventing the loss of heat during the night."
At Wynlen House we use crop covers to great affect in our garden. As I have said in an earlier post It’s officially Winter and your veggies Know it, there is about a 3° air surface temperature difference between our covered beds and uncovered beds. In light frosts this temperature difference can provide complete protection, of course temperatures below -3° will affect plants even if they are under cover. Cold temperatures and frost can freeze the cells in a plant, causing damage and interrupting the pathways for nutrients and water to flow. Cold hardy winter vegetables are less vulnerable and can withstand very cold temperatures and some frosting. Mind you our extended frost period of over 3 months (109 frost days) does provide some challenges to even the most cold hardy vegetable. The aim of using crop covers is not to grow vegetables out of season but to ameliorate the impact of severe frosts and enable some growth. The majority of winter or cold season vegetables will continue to grow at temperatures as low as 4°.
At the moment we are growing a range of Japanese and Asian greens that are doing extremely well (Ive got some photos of these below) and coriander also thrives in these cooler temperatures. We find that many of our customers are surprised that Asian greens cope well in the cold assuming that they require warm climates to grow. I often think about the Chinese who came to this area during the gold rush era who find their niche as market-gardeners. What vegetables did they grow? How did they provide crop protection? Were they growing the same vegetables that I am growing today?
It may be cold but a winter garden has much to offer including the time to ponder the practices of our market gardeners in times past and wonder about their response to our cool winter climate.
Our workshop in July deals with cover cropping, among other practices. You are most welcome to enroll.
One of the important roles of the small scale farmer is to care for the animals that are part of any farm or holding. The primary role of domesticated farm animals is about productivity and are an integral part of farming or homesteading. Farm animals can contribute, meat, eggs, fibre, and manure.
We often only think of our pets as domesticated animals but poultry, sheep, cattle, goats, horses and pigs and so on have been domesticated animals in the sense that humans have been cultivating these species for hundreds, even thousands of years for the purpose of providing food and other resources.
To enable a domesticated farm animal to be productive for us we need to have a responsible and respectful relationship. This is the basis of animal husbandry.
We are responsible for caring for our animals and this involves, housing, feeding, health, their welfare, the environment they live in, and handling them without injury either to them or us.
At Wynlen House we consider how you raise, feed and care for your animals is vitally important. We care about what they eat, their health, their housing and their environment. They live happy lives and this is very important to us. An animal that lives a happy healthy life will provide quality food. So just as with organic gardening you need vigorous healthy soil so that you have vigorous health plants, we also believe you need vigorous, healthy, happy animals to raise healthy meat, eggs or milk.
Animal Welfare is a ‘Duty of Care' obligation.
The RSPCA Australia believes that farm animal husbandry and management practices should provide for the behavioural, social and physiological needs of the individual animal and not cause unnecessary injury, suffering or distress. As a new farmer how do I know when my goose or chicken is happy or conversely, when it is in distress? Unless we begin to learn the basics of animal care, in the same way we are prepared to learn about growing vegetables, we will not be able to meet our duty of care and will unintentionally allow our animals to suffer.
A respectful relationship with our farm animals can be a very rewarding one and learning about the behavioral needs of your farm animals is as important as learning about their feed requirements. To this end I build a turkey gym for my turkey poults when they are confined to a hover in their early weeks. Turkeys are curious and out-going birds, they love a challenge. The gym allows them to hop up on a pole, like a roundabout, which swings around when they add their weight to it. They just love it. It meets their need to have their curiosity engaged and in experiencing something new. I also hang shinny pie plates which catch the light and creates great interest.
As they grow they like to participate in farm activities. - including investigating the tractor and grabbing free rides on the trailer whenever they can. It's important to make sure your animals are psychologically fulfilled and able to engage in their natural and instinctive behaviours. Its like giving a cat a scratching pole or a dog a chewing toy. Its important to have that stimulation, especially when animals are young and confined for their safety and physical needs, before they are ready to tackle the world as teens or adults. I know you are probably thinking that I'm an indulgent crazy woman about now but I have to disagree. I Find that making sure my animals are well cared in all ways accounts for the best eggs in town and the most delicious roast chicken you have even eaten!
Our Animal Husbandry workshop is in early July, on farm in Braidwood. "Raising poultry and Small Farm Animals Organically" is on Sunday July 9th from 9.30am. Come along and see how we raise our farm animals and learn how to best raise yours.
According to the Climate Glossary on the Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM) website:
“In Australia, the seasons are defined by grouping the calendar months in the following way:
So June 1st is the officially start to winter. A quick count shows that we had approximately 14 frost days in May with the lowest temp being -3.7° and a total of 22mm of rain for the month. A cold and dry end to Autumn.
I took the soil temps in the garden this morning at 8.30. The official temperature (BOM) was 0.9°. The soil temp in an uncovered bed was 6° and the surface air temp was 3°. Under the cloche covered with insulnet the soil temp was 7° and the surface air temp was 6° . While these temperature variations between the covered beds and uncovered beds may not seem great they can be significant. Of the winter vegies there is only a very few seeds that will germinate below a soil temp of 7° (peas 5° and Lettuce 4°). Carrots, radish and members of the Brassica family will germinate at 7°. The reality is at these low soil temperatures germination will be very slow and not reliable. The only seeds we plant in our garden over winter are radish, which we grow under cover and peas at the end of winter (late July). During the winter months you will have greater success in your garden if you plant out seedlings as this gives you a head start.
What you plant now as seedlings you will be eating in Spring (September). The produce you harvest from your garden at the beginning of winter (June) is what you planted in late summer and early Autumn (February and March). We must fully understand this if we are to harvest produce from our garden all year
As I have already noted in a previous blog Colourful Autumn, Frosty mornings…cool season planting guides are not necessarily accurate for our very cool climate region. Often as gardeners we therefore look at information from the Northern Hemisphere (England, Canada, USA) which can experience much colder winter temperatures than ours, for further guidance.
While many countries popularly use the equinox and solstice dates to "start the seasons" this is not the case in Australia. There are two ways that mark the season, one is to by weather, summer is the warmest time and winter is the coldest and secondly by the solstice and equinox dates. Meteorologists around the world use start of the season dates, and this is the convention that we follow in Australia.
The winter solstice is the day of the year that has the least daylight hours of any in the year and usually occurs on 21 June but can occur between 20 and 22 June. This is also known as the mid winter or Yule solstice. The equinoxes represents the two times of the year when the Sun crosses the plane of the Earth's equator and day and night are of equal length. While we may not use the equinox and solstice dates to mark the beginning of the seasons it does not mean that these events do not represent important markers in both the garden and our lives. Many cultures have developed traditions of celebration and thanks around these events for obvious reasons; blessing the crop, storage of the harvest; passing of the shortest day; celebrating the awakening of spring and glorifying the longest day. Let’s face it who doesn’t like to have a party!
If you are interested in some practical hands on experience in a winter produce garden, Wynlen House is currently offering learn / work exchange opportunities. Minimum work is 3 hours a day. Contact wynlenhouse @bigpond.com. We also have our Cool climate All Year Round Vegetable Growing Workshop in Late July. This is aimed and helping you have great produce on your table even in the worst of winter.
Happy gardening and do keep warm out there.
In the last few years demand for Australian garlic has been growing and so has the garlic growing industry. From its fledgling beginnings in the 70’s the industry grew steadily until the mid nineties when deregulation of our agricultural sector saw the importation of cheap Chinese garlic and resulted in the virtual collapse of our own garlic industry.
However over the last few years our garlic industry has been bouncing back and at the same time demand for garlic at farmers markets and supermarkets has been surging ahead. This has coincided with the general increase in demand for local Australian produce, increased awareness of Country of Origin, a love of fresh food, a desire to reduce food miles, unnecessary handling, and a general increase in home cooking.
Most of the garlic grown in Australia has been early season varieties, Monaro Purple is one of the local early season garlics grown in the Capital region and across the Southern Tablelands. Early season garlics are planted in March / April and harvested October / November. A key factor of Australian garlic production is that the majority of garlic grown for the Australian market is from a small range of garlic varieties that are harvested at the same time, (November & December) and only store well for a few months. This generally means that most Australian garlic is no longer available for consumption by April/ May. That is, Australian garlic is generally available for a short season from late November to around April, with the majority consumed by February / March. (This is referred to as the narrow production window.). After that we are forced to turn to imported garlic which is heavily fumigated on entry into Australia. We know little about how these imported products such as Chinese garlic is grown and no idea of farming practices, use of chemicals or anything else about how the product is treated before it leaves for our shore. But, things are changing!
Over the last few years the industry association has been helping garlic growers to understand the different garlic groups and varieties; their different planting and harvesting times and correct curing and storing approaches, to ensure a year round supply. This means that instead of a once a year garlic planting, potentially growers can have 3 plantings a year and 3 harvests a year: very simply:
Braidwood has had a garlic growers group since 2012. I love growing garlic and I convened the group in 2012 as a community to share knowledge and experience of garlic growing and encourage new growers to enter the business. It was fairly clear that Braidwood could have a broader agricultural base than it currently has which could create jobs and bring income into the town. The group has participated in a project over the past two garlic growing seasons to “demonstrate the potential for garlic as a crop to enhance economic resilience, agricultural profitability and sustainability” All garlic grown as part of the project has been grown using organic principles. A key part of the project has been to develop grower knowledge of the different garlic groups and their different growing requirements. With the aim to see the Braidwood region position itself as a key producer of the late season garlic varieties that store well for 6 to 12 months. By growing these different varieties of garlic Braidwood should able to put garlic in to the market when little Australian garlic is available.
Over the weekend the wind up meeting for the garlic project (not the Garlic Growers Group) was held and the growers decided to move towards the development of a cooperative with the support of the Farming Together Program. This may well be the first garlic growers cooperative in Australia. Exciting garlic times are ahead.
All this talking about garlic is great but it's the garlic growing that counts. We are planting our mid season garlic this week, perhaps a little late, delayed by too much talking! If you too are thinking about planting a late season garlic crop or have already planted your early season garlic you might want to enroll in our online garlic course just to stay informed and have your garlic growing questions answered as they come up. Happy garlic growing.
If you are just thinking about eating delicious Aussie garlic, don't despair. In the next few years you will be able to get good Australian garlic from April to November if all goes well.
Where have all the small farms gone, long time passing.
Where have all the small farms gone, long time ago.
Where have all the small farms gone,
Broad acre farming has them, every one.
When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.
Lyrics by Bronwyn Richards with help from Peter Paul & Mary
It was not that long ago when most farming was mixed and small scale. All towns small or large had small mixed farms producing grains, fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and eggs in their locality. It is only over the course of one lifetime that we have seen large cities such as Melbourne and Sydney loose the market gardens on their outer ring.
How did this come about? An easy answer is to say that population growth in our big cities means that the land used previously for producing food has been needed for housing. Yes this is certainly true of big cities, but what about smaller rural towns, where population has decreased and so have the small mixed farms?
This did not happen by accident, the shift to broadacre (industrial) farming was a world wide agenda endorsed by the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in the late 1960’s known as the Green Revolution. This began primarily as a humanitarian initiative to end world hunger. In fact, Norman Borlaug known as the "Father of the Green Revolution", received the Nobel Prize in 1970 credited, with the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of farm management techniques, the distribution of of hybridised seeds, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. All leading to significant increase in agricultural production that saved over a billion people from starvation.
The industrialisation of farming that resulted from the Green Revolution has developed hand in hand with global food empires. One major example of this is Monsanto, a company that started as a chemical producer manufacturing DDT; Agent Orange and Glyphosate herbicides (Round Up); and is now the leader in genetically modified and hybridised crops; one of the major pesticide producers; and owns 26% of total world seed production.
It has also become clear in the 21st century that industrialised farming has failed to feed the world. The FAO estimates that the amount of food produced in the world could currently feed 12 billion people. (world population is estimated at 7 billion) Nonetheless, more than 1 billion are still suffering from hunger, whilst 1.5 billion adults are overweight. It also estimates that 40% of the total daily global production of food is wasted. 80% of the worlds soya bean production is used to make stockfeed primarily for intensive poultry and pig production for the 1st world. This is putting the Earth’s resources under increasing pressure and are symptoms of an unhealthy and unequal food production system.
Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, summarises the major problems with industrial agriculture and global food empires:
They control 80% of world agriculture and promote monoculture farming. Industrial agriculture is:
(Terra Madre, 2016)
350 million small and peasant farmers are producing 50% of the worlds food. It is not about the quantity of land farmed but the key factor is productivity and energy efficiencies per hectare. Small farm inputs of 1 kilocalorie can produce between 15 to 30 kilocalories while the average energy of industrialised agriculture food production is 1 kilocalories to produce 1.5 kilocalories. (a kilocalorie is a measurement of the amount of energy in the foods you eat.)
We need to become conscious consumers and educate others to go beyond the passive role of consuming and take an interest in those who produce our food. In actively supporting local food producers, we become part of the production process. The term co-producer was coined by Slow Food to highlight how collectively our consumer choices can bring great change to how food is cultivated, produced and distributed.
We need more small farms and more farmers. Our food choices can make small scale food production a reality. So do go to your farmers markets and producer street stalls, introduce yourself, ask how the food is produced, and where it comes from, buy what you can. Support farmers who are creating clean, fair and local food on a small scale. Form a critical relationships with your local farmers because as co-producers this is how you can bring small farms back into our towns and cities and maybe take some steps toward making the world a better, more delicious and healthy place.
This is our small market stall in the courtyard of Provisions Deli & Grocery in Braidwood, NSW. Every Saturday morning we sell our vegetables and preserves and enjoy a chat with our friends and customers. We love exchanging recipes and introducing new and interesting vegetables each season.
Having a chat in the shade with vegetable and produce lovers, and dear friends Tim and Suzie.
Conventional wisdom says that small family farms are backward and unproductive. This is just not so. There is undeniable evidence that small farms are much more productive than large farms, if the total output is considered rather than the yield from a single crop.
Diversified farming systems, in which the small-scale farmer produces grains, fruits, vegetables, fodder, and animal products in the same field or garden, out-produce the yield per unit of single crops such as corn grown alone on large-scale farms. A large farm may produce more corn per hectare than a small mixed farm, however polyculture productivity in terms of harvestable products per unit area is higher than under a single crop with the same level of management. In the United States the smallest two-hectare farms produced $15,104 per hectare and netted about $2,902 per hectare. The largest farms, averaging 15,000 hectares, yielded $249 per hectare and netted about $52 per hectare. (Source:http://monthlyreview.org/2009/07/01/agroecology-small-farms-and-food-sovereignty/)
Polyculture has long been recognised as highly productive. Simple season extension practices and intensive polyculture were used by the market gardeners of Paris in the mid 19th century. Occupying 6% of the land within the city limits of Paris the maraîchers (market gardeners) produced enough food for the inhabitants of Paris (1.5million) as well as exporting to England. They averaged between four to eight harvest per year from the same piece of ground. The modern proponent of intensive market garden polyculture is Elliot Coleman.
Our small village farm in Braidwood is much much less than 1.5 acres (0.6 of a hectare). Yet from that small market garden we produce 2.0 tonne of produce annually. This does not include the meat and eggs we also grow. Small is definitely bountiful.
By managing fewer resources more intensively, small farmers are able to make more profit per unit of output, and thus, make more total profits—even if production of each commodity is less. In overall output, the diversified farm produces much more food.
Not only do small-to-medium-sized farms exhibit higher yields than conventional larger-scale farms, they do this with much lower negative impacts on the environment. Research shows that small farmers take better care of natural resources, including reducing soil erosion and conserving biodiversity. So in terms of converting inputs into outputs, society would be better off with small-scale farmers.
According to United Nations Food & Agricultural Organisation (FOA), small farm food production can feed the world. Every person that supports their local farmers market, their regional food producers and grows some food in their garden is changing the future of our world, one meal at a time.
Autumn is in full swing, the leaves are falling, the days are sunny and the mornings are getting crispy. The frost season has started in our cool climate region of the Southern Tablelands. This is not uncommon for this part of the state known as the Capital region. The Capital region, the Alpine regions of NSW and Victoria and many parts of Tasmania are the most extreme cool climate regions in Australia. Apart from the Alpine regions which experience heavy winter snow falls, the Capital region (and Tasmania) is the harshest frost region in Australia. We experience on average 109 frost nights per year. Our frost season officially begins on 23 March through to 22 November, although we can have a frost outside of this time frame. While this high number of frosty nights can mean some very cold starts to the day it also means we have an equal amount of bright sunny joyous days.
While Braidwood experiences a long frost season we rarely experience snow.
Other frost prone cool climate regions of regions of Australia experience between on average 20 to 50 frost nights per year with an average minimum temperature of 0 ° (The Central Tablelands, Central West, Northern Tablelands and some parts of the Darling Downs). In the Capital region our average minimum temperature is -5 °. This is why we find that most cool season planting guides do not seem "right" in our region. Cool season planting guides are based on climate conditions of the more "moderate" cool climate areas, which form the majority of cool climate regions in Australia.
Frosts and low temperatures can have a detrimental affect on plant growth and development, however there are some plants that require a period of cold to be fully productive. Garlic is one such plant. The Turban varieties (Monaro Purple) are generally planted in Autumn (April) with early pre winter growth focused on root development. Growth continues through winter and it is the increasing day length and warming soil that stimulates bulb development in early spring. Other cool season vegetables include members of the Brassica Family - cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale to name a few. However there are some traps for the unwary with some members of this cool season plant group. Our very low temperatures (average minimum -5 °) while not having an impact on plant growth, will burn the developing heads of both broccoli and cauliflower. This is when you need crop protection. It can be as simple as a plastic plant pot placed over the forming head each night to provide protection or for a larger number of plants, agricultural fabrics can used to cover entire rows.
At Wynlen House we use agricultural fabrics with a metal cloche frame to provide crop protection. The material we mostly use is a knitted permeable plastic polymer (polypropylene) called insulnet. Thermal Fleece is another product and these permeable textiles allow water to pass through and the plants and soil can breathe. Shade cloth can also be used to provide reasonable crop protection. Agricultural fabrics limit light frosts but do not provide complete protection particular from hard frosts. More importantly, they ameliorate the overall impact of very low temperatures enabling plant growth and development to continue, maintaining soil temperatures and air temperatures up to 3 ° warmer than unprotected garden sections.
The use of row covers or even very simple low cost plant protection strategies enables all year vegetable production in the low temperature extremes of our cool climate region.
Insulnet is available from Redpath Australia http://www.redpath.com.au/
Thermal fleece is available from Weed Gunnel http://www.weedgunnel.com.au/
When are you considered a to be running a poultry farm?
Under NSW Environmental & Planning Legislation all piggeries and poultry farms are classified as intensive agriculture, and all intensive agricultural activities require Development Approval from your local council and may also require State Government approval depending on your location. As much of our region is classified as water catchment, being classified as a poultry farmer, will most likely require both Local Government and State Government approval. These types of approvals can be both time consuming and expensive. It is therefore important to make sure your small farming operation remains outside of this regulatory framework. So how do you know if your chook flock makes you a poultry farmer? Finding an answer to this question can be somewhat vexing.
Like other intensive agricultural activities it all comes down to livestock numbers, and while this may seem somewhat arbitrary it is the simplest way for all involved in making a determination.
While State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) No 30—Intensive Agriculture provides clarity on pigs and cattle feed lots it fails to provide any clarity in relation to poultry. Why this is the case is unclear. Clarity on what constitutes a poultry farm is to be found the NSW Food Authority legislation and regulations. (Food Act 2003 NSW, Food Regulation 2015)
Poultry meat producers (farms)
Poultry meat producers, or poultry farms, are operations where more than 100 birds are grown at any one time for human consumption. Poultry means chicken, turkey, duck, squab (pigeon), goose, pheasant, quail, guinea fowl, mutton bird and other avian species.
Egg producers are businesses or farms that produce more than 20 dozen eggs for sale in any week.
The accepted view within this industry and according to the DPI (Department of Primary Industries) is that a commercial operation requires a minimum of 1,000 meat birds or 100 doz eggs per week. There is quite a large disparity between being considered a poultry farmer and having a commercial operation. Given that having more than 100 birds at one time puts you into the regulatory framework and the associated expense it seems somewhat inconsistent that this number is based at 10% of the minimum of what makes a commercial operation.
There appears to be two problems in relation to the definitions used for determining if you are a poultry farmer. The first is the legislation location. There is no logic to having Environmental & Planning Legislation defining intensive agriculture that does not include poultry farming. The second problem in one of the number disparity.
These matters need to be addressed. You can take action by discussing this issue with your local state member. Our representatives need to understand that the problems with definitions and legislation are being used at local level to seriously compromise small farming enterprises and advantage very big agri-businesses who are the only people who can afford to go through the multiple Development application processes and pay the massive Development Application costs involved.
I know that I said I would talk turkey on poultry farming, but my farming week has led me on other paths including holistic grazing plans, Intrepid Landcarers and garlic crop preparation. My foray into Holistic Management resulted in a day spent contemplating and developing a grazing management plan that includes not only sheep but meat chickens, geese and turkeys. On our small village farm we raise a couple of sheep from weaners to hogget. We usually raise 3 Dorper / Damara cross breeds at one time. They come as 4 month olds from a local farm. We usually kill one a just under 12 months (lamb) and keep they other two to grow out to hogget. We have grown very fond of them as a breed, they are reasonably intelligent as sheep go and generally can be tamed relatively easily, for handling.
In the course of the two years we run our sheep we also have pasture raised meat poultry, a small breeding flock of geese and from September through to December a small flock of turkeys for Christmas dinner. As our grazing space is limited and we need to run our poultry after the sheep, the concept of understanding the number of grazing days our small farm provides for each animal sparked keen interest. Yes, it is clear that we need more grazing days than we actually have but fortunately we acknowledge the need for supplementary feeding and factor this into our costs. Working through this process also helped me to understand the recovery time needed between ruminant grazing of our paddocks and the breakdown rate of manure etc. from our poultry flocks.
Definitely an interesting meander on our small farm journey, which then leads us onto garlic planting preparation and Intrepid Landcare.
This Landcare movement provides a common space to inspire, connect and empower young people to join local environmental initiatives in their communities. We have a branch connected with Canberra University who have offered time in our region. This week we finalised arrangements for a group to help with our garlic planting. We provide accommodation and meals for the weekend; an overview of our farming enterprise, our philosophy and approach and they will lend a hand in our garlic endeavours. The weekend will finish up with a bush walk guided by our LandCare officer. We are excited by the opportunity to share and exchange with this wonderful young group.
So yes another meander, this one through the bush, but an exciting opportunity for us all.
Hopefully this week will not see me led astray and talking turkey will proceed.
The weather is stunning! Happy farming days.