Peacehaven Community Farm is on 89 acres, located in Winsett North Carolina. The mission of the farm is to provide a home for disabled people, while teaching them growing techniques at the same time.
At the moment, housing is being erected for disabled individuals in the community to live. While residing on the farm, they work one on one with farm animals and in gardens. The community garden is maintained by volunteers in the community. On weekend mornings volunteers gather to get work done on the farm. In their first two growing seasons, they grew an incredible 15,000 pounds of produce.
Some of the plots are raised, for easier access for the handicapped. The raised beds contain herbs, peppers, and inedible flowers.
In the main garden they’re growing asparagus, cabbage, other greens, and have a large strawberry field.
Back on Red-bud Farm, fall crops are in full swing. Crops currently ready for harvest include: kale, Swiss chard, collards, arugula, green and red lettuce, turnip greens, radishes, bok choy, spinach, and cilantro.
Aside from harvesting a bounty of gorgeous greens, fall is the time to sow in cover crops. I personally got to sow in hairy vetch (a legume) and rye. Using a seed spreader, I walked through the field sprinkling seed everywhere. The purpose of the cover crops is to protect the soil during the winter. Having a crop growing, shields soil from oxidation, excess sunlight and heat, prevents soil nutrients from leaching out, and will add the nutrients back to the soil when the crop eventually dies.
Tilling is the process of turning up the top portion of soil. When you turn the soil, you are leaving nutrients open and exposed to air, light, and consequentially, the organic matter will be quickly used up. Not surprisingly, this is not a good thing. Minimal to no tilling practices are desired. Red-bud Farm tries to minimally till their soil. In order to sow specific cover crops in some of the fields (and protect the soil throughout the winter), tilling was necessary to break up all the weeds that had taken home. I learned to drive another tractor, and till many rows of soil. 🙂
Once I had tilled several rows, Clay (the farmer) went over the rows to add some extra nitrogen. He then sowed oats/crimson clover and lastly used a harrow to slightly cover the seeds for germination.