Greetings from the farm! As the Spring flowers wither, and the spaces between rains grow, summer creeps onto the farm at a decidedly slow pace. And while we're impatiently awaiting the departure of the freezing cold mornings (which seem to have been a particularly enduring feature this year); we are also relishing the bountiful rains we have been blessed with over the past few months - as are our plants!
Gaby getting our faithful little tractor, Lisa Leyland, ready to prepare the orchard for its next chapter.
Updates from our Fields and Gardens
Each plant we grow is somewhat like a little adventure of discovery and exploration - playing the observers in the life of a living carbon-sequestering, oxygen-producing, food-growing organism is like watching a miracle slowly unfold. When we planted our trial blueberries last year, we had tentative hopes and no experience with growing the fruit, and now our little bushes have just gone from flowering into fruiting! Rest assured that we will keep you posted on how they ripen and taste, and hopefully include some in our boxes soon!
The purple potatoes which we mentioned in our last newsletter have finally braved the cold, and decided to sprout; along with the sunflowers, watermelons, marigolds and gooseberry seedlings we've transplanted in amongst our baby apple trees with the goal of serving as support species by keeping the ground covered and preventing weeds from running wild.
Our gazebo garden is also on track to go into its next planting cycle, where it will bid farewell to beetroot, carrots and broccoli, and welcome patty pans, swiss chard and bush beans. This is a key part of organic farming: crop rotation - cycling between different crops on a particular space in order to allow the nutrients those crops use a chance to replenish.
Our neighbour, Janét's beautiful chickens and their picturesque eggs.
More Eggs on the Table
Having joined our neighbour Janét for a brief visit at her farm, Bergskeurplase, Wednesday, we're very excited to have her eggs join our add-on menu! Laid by hens who live as chickens should - roaming the farm's orchards and paddocks completely free-range, and eating GMO-free feed, there is no doubt about the nutritious, delicious, and ethical nature of these eggs! A number of Janét's chickens are Araucanas - a breed renown for their delightful blue eggs, so keep an eye out for some if you order a tray...
Get your hands dirty!
Kiss The Ground
For anyone who hasn't yet, we highly recommend watching the new documentary "Kiss The Ground". It exemplifies a whole lot of our philosophy, and what we are trying to achieve through our farming methods and practices. It all comes down to soil health. We've found that people often have a misconception about farming - that it comes down to successfully growing plants; but in actual fact, farming successfully comes down to building good soil.
While conventional farming seeks to "wipe the slate" of the soil clean, and then feed the plants chemically-produces nutrients, this process results in increasingly dead soil, meaning more and more chemicals are needed with each crop. We, on the other hand, farm with the intention of building up soil resilience, fertility and life with each crop. We do so by keeping the soil covered as much as possible (by crops themselves, mulching, and using cover crops while the field is not being harvested); constantly adding organic matter to the soil in the form of compost, in order to feed the micro-organisms which help plants obtain nutrients; reducing the amount of disturbance we cause in the soil by keeping beds and pathways in the same locations year-round; and diversifying our crops so as to encourage biodiversity in the ecosystem of our farm.
One of many rainy delivery days in Cape Town
A Small-scale-farmer Maak 'n Plan
One of the best things about farming is how it often forces one to think differently, act creatively and improvise, on so many levels. Over September, we've had our fair share of all of these, and are all the more thankful for it. With our farm bakkie having been out of commission for almost the entire month, we've have to make contingency plans in order to deliver our boxes - from making multiple trips and swapping cars with family, to shuffling some delivery logistics for Cape Town, we have managed to "maak 'n plan", and it's safe to say that now we have the bakkie back in action, or even better - once we have a dedicated Those Who Harvest vehicle, we are confident that delivery logistics should be somewhat of a breeze! On that note, please let us know if you know of any good panel vans looking for a new home.
If you enjoyed this newsletter, and think somebody else you know might like it too, please feel free to forward it on. If you're interested in reading a bit about our experiences, visit our website thosewhoharvest.com to find out more and read our blog.