Above photo is of five types of cabbage: Savory Alcosa (last year was our first try with this and it was superb!) Red Savory Deadon (I saw this at the locale food co-op. Beautiful! Can't wait to try it.) Red Express- an early red cabbage, and Evergreen Hardy White Bunch Onions. (These cabbage & onion seeds are from Johnny's Seed).
Along with those three cabbage types, I planted Mammoth Red Rock and Brunswick cabbage (seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), two types of beets: Bulls Blood (Excellent beet greens for fresh eating- seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), Detroit Dark Red (beet root has excellent flavor, I like it over the Bulls Blood root- seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), and kale: Blue Curled Scotch (it is our favorite kale for eating raw- Seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).
These vegetables are a main staple of food for us, year round. There are also 16 lettuce plants growing in the green house. This year I was determined not to be so far behind on getting our fresh produce growing. I try to seed the lettuce every two to three weeks to keep a fresh supply. Fresh, raw vegetables are very important for a person's health.
One day last week, we harrowed two of our grazing pastures. We generally graze our sheep on a pasture for two weeks or just under three weeks, depending the pasture foliage. After grazing a pasture, the sheep are moved to what we call a 'clean' pasture, which basically means the pasture has not been grazed for 60 days.
Dragging the pastures flattens mole hills, distributes manure more evenly, and stimulating the grass regrowth. Ideally, it would be great to run a flock of chickens on this pasture, as they would do alot of the work for you. They do a great job of cleaning up parasites, scattering manure, and flattening the mole hills, not to mention their own contribution of manure for natural fertilizer. However, because we live in a Bald Eagle's flight path, we are unable to do this. We have lost many of our laying hens and ducks to the eagles. If we were home during the day, it would be something we would definitely do again.
The photo below is our flexible harrow. You could pull this with a riding lawn mower, if you did not have an ATV. We purchased this 25 years ago, and used it to drag the riding arena.
Because we farm 100% organically, we do not use chemicals on anything we raise here, animals or crops. We rotate our sheep through the pastures for several reasons. First, some sheep are very susceptible to internal parasites. Mine happen to fall into that 'susceptible' category. By not over grazing a pastures, this helps the sheep to not reinfect themselves. The internal parasites (the worms) live in the digestive tract where the eggs are laid. The eggs hatch out of the manure on the ground. Within three weeks and weather dependant, another set of larvae climb the grass stems, only to be eaten and returned to the sheep. (My general rule on parasites activity: weather warming up, longer daylight (springtime, summer,fall) eggs hatch. Cold weather, short daylight, less issue of eggs hatching and reinfecting).
By rotating the sheep, it also helps prevent over grazing the pasture. If the sheep are left to graze an area too long, they will graze it right down to the roots. Not good. This then can lead to soil erosion, mud during rainy season, and unwanted weeds taking over a pasture.
We give heartfelt thanks for the opportunities we have been given to learn from. We continue to prepare, waiting and watching eagerly for the Lord to move us.