Companion Planting Information and Chart – The Permaculture Research Institute

It’s never too late to start a garden, but you have to arm yourself with knowledge first if you are like me and you don’t have an elder family member to go to who grew up gardening. We’ve gone from a nation of vegetable gardeners, who would never starve provided we have land and seed, to a nation full of lemming-like simpletons who don’t know what to do if left to our own devices. We’ve lost valuable knowledge in the course of a hundred years and now we must seek it out. Below is an excerpt from a good website about companion plants, this is extremely important for a successful garden. Are you ready to get dirty?

An updated chart of basic companion plants we’ve grown successfully over the years We recently received an e-mail from a gentleman in China looking for… … what plants you may have in your garden that you can transplant next to your rose or your apple tree to see how they nurture each other over time. As a result I thought I would post our own updated list of companion plants […]

Source: Companion Planting Information and Chart – The Permaculture Research Institute

A Walk Around the Farm 

Sarah and I took a walk around the farm this afternoon after the rain. 

   
    
    
    
   
Moments like these are priceless. 

So You Want to be a Farmer… Revisited

Today a friend of mine shared a post by a small farmer in West Virginia on Facebook. It was about the passion and ideals that drive one to farm, and about what to pursue and what to let go. Small sustainable farming is starting to gain popularity as a new way of life for suburbanites, city folk, as well as those who think of themselves as country but have decided to start growing food. Sadly there are a number who jump in without realizing just what it is they are getting into, and within a couple of years time they dust themselves off after falling face first more times than they can bear and go back to their old life. Maybe to try again later but they are definitely changed with a greater understanding that farming isn’t for everyone, namely themselves.

So here’s a list of free advice from a guy who is still something of a newbie with 4+ years under his belt.

#1. Consider your family first. Not mom, not dad, or grandma or grandpa (unless they are considering joining you), but your spouse if you are in that stage of life. If your spouse is not on board, just don’t do it. Garden, keep a rabbit hutch, get a couple of laying hens, but don’t move her or him onto a farm. Unless mom and dad are going to GIVE (not loan) startup money or land, keep them out of the picture too. Hopefully they’ll at the very least support you by buying your products and not expecting a family discount.

The Seedorfs

The Seedorfs

#2.Pick a passion. A passion, not several. Pursue it, perfect it, and you will profit from it. After that, add to it. I believe the very best farms are multi dimensional but don’t try to be Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms over night or in the next decade. What I mean is, pick one, maybe two products to sell (I suggest veggies and eggs). Get a milk cow and or pig for yourself, but only if you’re really able to.

Our pasture produced, free range eggs.

#3. Be brutally honest with yourself, but don’t be afraid to fail. It’s all a risk so be ready to fall flat on your face. Hopefully you’ll fall in manure instead of fire ants.

#4. You don’t NEED a tractor. Life is easier with one, but life is even better without debt. So if you buy an old $2000 Ford Jubilee (just an expample), know that making repairs will be a regular occurrence. Friends of mine got a nice big tractor with a front end loader on a trade but it was months of mechanic bills before they could use it reliably. You do need a truck.

Tilling the first garden.

#5. Find someone local to hire for tractor and heavy equipment work. You can get a lot done for $500-$1000 if he really knows what he is doing. 

#6. Before you do any of this, find a few local farms to support and volunteer your labor. You will learn more than any book, class or seminar can ever teach you.

Help from friends.

Help from friends.

#7. Be frugal but don’t buy cheap. Cheap hoses bust so get commercial grade. Rubber boots at Walmart are $20 but farmers live in boots, so get some that will last a year (I wear Bogs).

#8. Your first livestock should not be breeding stock. Dairy cows/goats are an exception, you have to breed them to get milk, just make sure that first few you buy are already bred and hire out a bull or buck or an AI tech.

#9. Price appropriately. Don’t try to match the grocery stores. Be familiar with what other farmers who’ve been around a while sell for. Anyone selling eggs for $4/doz isn’t even paying for their feed.

#10. Do not expect to be 100% grass fed or to produce all your own feed unless you have 100+ acres. We

Chaffhaye Alfalfa.

don’t feed grain to our milk cows, but we import a lot of hay and alfalfa. If you are raising any animal for production, you will have a significant feed bill.

#11. Expect discouragement, disappointment, and sadness. But take heart. There is nothing more satisfying than to hear someone say “thank you for what you do” and then to bite into that first morsel of food that you produced.

#12. Be transparent. Tell people what you do and why. Be ready to answer lots of questions.

#13. Fence. No matter how good your fences are, add electric fence. Electric fence is invaluable in keeping your livestock in, and protecting them and your garden from10306480_852392631496767_5349172154882013398_n predators and vermin. You will get shocked, I’ve lost count of the jolts I’ve received. You can build good strong fence from pallets.IMG_0975

 

 

 

 

#14. Make your own compost. No commercially produced product will ever compare to what you make yourself. Wood chips are free, leaves are free, and manure is

Making Compost.an invaluable byproduct of eggs, milk, and pork chops.

 

 

 

There’s really so much more I could say but this is a fair summary I think. Farming is a lot of work (think 12 to 18 hour days, 365 a year). There will be critics. There will be as many dissatisfied customers, or more, as loyal ones. Some folks just don’t get it. You are already brave, daring, and courageous. Make sure that you are also wise, fair, and industrious. You can do it.

Oh, one last thing, close the gate.

IMG_20120106_171918

Fun for all ages

Pastured Pork

Source: Pastured Pork

We are now taking orders for 20 lb boxes of our pastured pork. Please visit the Pastured Pork page for details. The order form is at the bottom of the page.

No more chicken for 2015.

We have sold out of pastured chicken for 2015. We do have whole and half pigs available to reserve for the end of October. Send us an email at eastwestfamilyfarm@gmail.com to reserve yours today. Be sure to sign up for our emails (click HERE) and be ready to order your birds for 2016.

11010499_863292100406820_755773544621705160_n

Time to let the cat out of the bag…

We are MOVING! For real this time. We have made an offer that was accepted by the seller of a 20 acre farm in Jacksonville, Alabama! This has been our dream and now it’s being realized. We are weary of the crime, politics and traffic that have come with living and farming in Cobb County. Not to mention we’re getting three times as much land for a fifth of the price, a nicer barn, and a much nicer house.

So the obvious question. How are we going to continue to provide our grass fed, gmo free, drug free, humanely raised milk and meat to our loyal customers? We already have one farm member who is willing to be a pickup site near Marietta, and we would like to find a couple more who would be willing to do the same around Dallas/Hiram, Acworth/Kennesaw, and Powder Springs/Austell. Anyone who would like to be a pickup site would need to have a spare refrigerator in a garage/carport/basement that other farm members could gain access to. This would mean that folks would be coming by your house to get their milk, eggs (yes, one day we will be making eggs) and possibly meat or veggies. But hey, all of our farm members are awesome folks! Plus you would get a lifetime membership as long as you are working with us. I would be bringing products for members 2-3 times a week as I will continue to work at the Cobb County Fire Dept.

Next. What about the farm on Barrett Parkway? We would really love to find someone who could take over our lease. Our landlord has agreed that if anyone assumed the lease, he would renew and there would be an option to buy. This would be a great opportunity for someone to get into growing food or to expand upon their existing gardening. Our friend Jeff has been manning the vegetable operation and has said that he would gladly work with anyone else. We’ve planted numerous fruit trees and have built up and improved the soil with lots of good organic material. This location is really ideal for a fruit and vegetable farm with close access to farmer’s markets in Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, at KSU, Acworth, and Atlanta. If someone would take over here, we would love to be able to work with them. The other option is for us to find a buyer, and that may well be a developer or just someone buying an investment property. Land on Barrett Pkwy is selling in the ballpark of $100,000/acre and as it becomes more scarce, it will continue to go up.

Finally, we need to unload some livestock to reduce the number of animal we need to move. We have added a couple of new cows to keep up our milk supply, but we have a couple who are dry and we will be selling. For details on the cows, see our page Animals For Sale. Then there’s the pigs. Much to Katie’s delight, we are moving up our processing date for the pigs and will be selling a number of live pigs for others to grow out or to keep as breeders. Pork will be ready for pick up the third or fourth week of October. Whole pigs are $3.00/lb and halves are $3.50/lb plus processing fee (approximately $80-90). $100 deposit to reserve per pig and you can place your order on our Pastured Pork page.

Mary

Martha

 

 

 

 

The new farm is only 1 hour and 45 minutes from our current location. Once we get moved and settled in, we would love to have you come visit us and see the bit of paradise we will call home.

We Want to Make Nutrition Available to ALL | eastwestfarm

Hunger and poor nutrition is more widespread than most of us realize. As a firefighter/EMT, I see people every day whose poor health is directly related to their diet and many of them are caught in the trap of having limited money and resources to feed themselves and their family appropriately. People who live in poverty will sadly choose the cheapest source of calories rather than fresh fruit and vegetables. This doesn’t just affect the impoverished, many a working middle class family finds themselves strapped for funds when an emergency strikes and their food choices become limited. Our goal is to start a garden ministry with the help of churches, food banks, and volunteers and give healthy food to those who need it.

Below is a survey to allow us to gauge the level of support we can expect and will give us data to provide those with unused land whom we will approach about hosting such a garden. Please take a moment to fill out the survey and let us know how you can help. No amount of support is too small!

Once this project is underway, this page will be updated to show the progress we are making.

Matthew 25:35

Click this link for Survey.

Want Want to Make Nutrition Available to ALL | eastwestfarm.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,189 other followers