Our Highlighted Projects.
Family Haven Farms began it's efforts in 2017 in Pine Hill New Mexico. The land that chose us to steward it is in urgent need of replenishing. The process of bringing a biodiverse landscape, capable of supporting human and animal life, began full force in January 2018. Scroll down to see 2019 Projects...
A Holistic orchard is being created first by focusing on the biology of the soil life. Following the guidance of our local mentors at WhooVille and Tooley's Trees we are well on our way to having a diverse fruit orchard. Acquiring trees that are acclimated to producing in a higher altitude has been key in getting started off on the right foot. On March 29, 2019 we attended a grafting workshop with Gordon Tooley. We learned a lot from this experience and look forward to watching our baby apple tree grafts flourish in the coming years.
Terraceship AKA Greenhouse
Has everyone seen the documentary called The Garbage Warrior? If not, I would recommend watching it. The Earthship academy based in Taos New Mexico was lucky enough to get Marco to attend last fall. He has designed a "Terraceship" (what we have named it) for all our greenhouse growing needs. It will be made out of recycled/repurposed materials and the collection of 400 tires began at the beginning of 2019. Our near by neighbor and friends bought some land that came with a lot of tires (previous owners had plans to build an Earthship) which they longed to get rid of. This is what you call a win win. We at Haven get the materials we value for building our greenhouse (thermal mass and wall structure) in a very sustainable way and our friends are getting rid of the off gassing mosquito breeding tires! Our goal with this building is also to test cost, labor, materials, design functionality, basically the Guinea Pig for future buildings. The location site for the greenhouse has been created and when the weather permits, the digging will commence. This project is at the forefront of all projects taking place at Haven in 2019. I look forward to documenting the process and sharing it with you in the coming months. Marco will have all the specifics and I will make sure to include them so anyone interested has all the information.
Low Tunnels - Start Earlier
Marco & Aurelio are building low tunnels on the Garden Terrace. These tunnels will allow us to get seeds started earlier and protect them from frost. As soon as they finish the tunnels I will post a photo of the finished product. Growing your own food for personal consumption and an income takes dedication and knowledge. We have been very fortunate to form friendships with several remarkable growers in our local area. These grower friends have cut our learning curve in tremendous ways. They have shared native heirloom seeds, their planting schedules, nurturing techniques and most importantly their example on how to love nature. Creating a life, home and farm in a new area is challenging and full of possibilities. Being able to get seeds started earlier is one tip we can say is a game changer. The rewards will be plentiful for the farm and the community!
Seed Inventory & Planting Days
What a farmer/gardener does when winter snows, temps and winds keep him/her indoors. We learned that the winter season is just as important as the growing months!!! It is a perfect time to rest physically (mentally too sometimes) and let the mind create. This winter is still among us here in New Mexico and is said to be one of the most moist winters in years. Super great news for us. Can you image what spring and summer are going to look like around here with all the happy plants, flowers, animals, birds, bees and people?! Being organized and efficient is an art and it really pays off (in more ways than one) when starting a food forest. Fortunately Aurelio was disciplined and organized with his seed collections in 2018. With all those seeds and some additional ones adding in this year, we will have over 100 types of plants going into the earth this season. Perennials are our main focus this year as well as adding additional fruit and nut trees. A great tool to have on hand is the Biodynamic Calendar.
Three Little Pigs
January 31, 2019 we welcomed our first four legged farm animals to Haven! We are letting the animals do the work that is natural for them and benefits all life form. We created a pig tractor to move them along the new terrace section every 6 days or so. They naturally prep the land for our garden terrace planting this season which is super cool and amazing! In the coming years the land will be healthier because of the animal impact and have the ability to produce the food for the animals that take up residence here. The beauty of getting animals on the land as soon as possible is that they make compost, fertilizer, control pests, decrease farmers work load, prepare gardens for planting and... the list goes on and on. Our goal is to create sustainable cycles at Haven Farms.
Terrace Garden Winterizing
After the fruitful growing season in 2018 we inoculated our garden beds and Hugelkulture Mound with our thermal compost then covered it with a blanket of straw mulch. The reason for this practice is due to the lack of perennial plants covering the soil on our new farm.
Ground cover helps soil maintain adequate temperatures for the soil life to proliferate during dormant winter months. In other areas where there are cover crops growing, we did not put mulch. It is waiting to be grazed by the pigs 🐖 that arrive in a few weeks! It’s so exciting for us to be a part of healing the ecology.
Composting with the Bioreactor
On November 10th we assembled our version of a bioreactor. Our winter method for making method to inoculate and regenerate soil life is by following Dr.Johnson’s concept of the compost bioreactor. This is our first time building one. The reason it caught our attention is because it’s a no-turn thermal compost, high carbon matter content which gives outstanding results of high fungal bacteria ratios!
What is Biological Monitoring? A method used consistently to read the land. It will give you valuable insight, basic information and data to know how to work the land. Soil surface is key. The earliest changes on any piece of land are most likely to occur at or near the soil surface, but this is particularly so on land that has been reduced to a high percentage of bare ground. Changes could show up in plant spacing, soil litter cover, soil density, soil aeration or organic content, insect activity, seedling success, quality of water runoff, and a host of other things. Bi-anual readings allow you to diagnose how the land is responding to methods being applied.
*Quotes from Holistic Land Management Handbook copy right 2006 Allan Savory
Soil surface is key - Take 2! Over the last year we have had the opportunity to study with one of Dr Elaine Ingham's students who has been leading workshops on the microbiology of growing in our local area. Elaine Ingham's approach builds on over 4+ decades of research and practical application of the soil foodweb. To date she has helped thousands of clients reclaim their land, livelihoods and soil fertility without chemicals or fertilizers. By repairing the soil foodweb, a farmer's yields, soil health, and plant quality can be far improved over chemical applications. What Elaine and her students are showing is that the soil foodweb approach to agriculture can be a true biological paradigm to replace our failing agriculture system.
2018 - A test year.
Increasingly, food growers around the world are recognizing that modern agricultural systems are unsustainable. Practices such as monocultures and excessive tilling degrade the soil and encourage pests and diseases. The artificial fertilizers and pesticides that farmers use to address these problems pollute the soil and water and harm the many organisms upon which successful agriculture depends, from pollinating bees and butterflies to the farm workers who plant, tend and harvest our crops. As the soil deteriorates, it is able to hold less water, causing farmers to strain already depleted water reservoirs.
In the search for alternative, sustainable food growing practices, gardeners are turning to traditional farming methods used prior to the advent of plows, artificial chemicals and mechanized irrigation systems. The founders of permaculture, for example, developed their set of agricultural principles by studying “premodern” food systems around the world. In turn, they developed an agricultural method that promotes indigenous agricultural practices. This connection between culture and land shaped and continues to shape indigenous agriculture by creating food growing practices that are adapted to specific, local environments and that work with as opposed to against natural processes. Traditional Native American farming practices exemplify this relationship.