Thursday, April 25, 2013
Building Unity Farm - The Year of Produce
I skipped my Unity Farm post last week due to the events in Boston that required undivided attention.
2012 was the year of animals at Unity Farm since we acquired our herds and flocks from May to August of that year. 2013 will be the year of produce as we create the mushroom farm, orchard, and hoop house.
Last weekend, after the Marathon related events subsided I finished cutting the 220 oak logs needed for the Spring inoculation of 11 types of Shitake and the 72 poplar logs needed for cultivating 6 types of Oyster mushrooms.
Using 85% shade cloth, my wife and I built the 10x30 foot shade house pictured above. As the logs are inoculated the weekend of May 11-12, we'll stack them in the shade house for a yearlong mycelium run. Next Spring, when the spawn has grown throughout the logs, we'll place them in the forest for fruiting.
Also, last weekend, we continued orchard preparation by placing erosion control tubes around the perimeter of the recently cleared 2 acres in preparation for grading. The orchard borders a 100 foot wetland buffer so we do not want sediment running off into the wetland.
We added topsoil and loam through the area to smooth the topography and amend some of the poor quality soil that was used as fill during the original house and barn construction.
We rebuilt rock walls that were scattered due to erosion and forest growth over the past 100 years. Those rock walls now provide stability to the hillside and will serve as a terrace between the fruit trees and the blueberries.
Next week, we'll install 1000 feet of 8 foot deer fencing around the perimeter including 3 gates that enable travel on the new dirt road we've graded through the orchard.
In two weeks, we'll plant 30 trees, blueberries, raspberries, and orchard grass between the tree rows.
Finally, we'll add drip irrigation to all the new plants.
In early Summer, I'll build a 20x48 foot hoop house for 20 raised beds of vegetables and create a raised platform for bee hives.
By mid-Summer, we'll have completed all the foundational components for produce. We will have delayed gratification on fruit tree and mushroom harvesting, but the hoop house will provide us a bounty of Fall vegetables and year round lettuce, kale and spinach.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM