Passive Solar Green House
Designed as an ecological four season garden and specifically positioned true south, our passive solar green house provides the highest amount of sun exposure throughout the whole day, allowing us to grow efficiently throughout all four seasons.
In the greenhouse, we are implementing hydroponic growing systems. These systems enable us to grow plants in a soil-less medium, using mineral nutrient solutions to feed the plants in water instead of soil. Hydroponic growing systems work best for transplants and for germinating. These conditions are best for plants like kale, spinach, and beans.
We use several types of hydroponic growing systems: ebb & flow units, or flood & drain systems, in which the plants sit in a tray of clay pellets while nutrient rich water runs through the bottom of the tray, the excess water flows through pipes to the next tray, and continues circulation throughout the system.
We also use growing towers, which use an advanced form of hydroponics, which allows for a more bountiful harvest quicker and with less water.
Lastly, we use a drip system that works best for growing sprouts from grains like wheat and barley. The resulting fodder sprouts provide fresh food for our livestock. When ready for harvesting, the fodder looks like trays of grass. We mainly use this feed for the rabbits and chickens, as the pigs are more interested in corn.
In our outdoor gardens, we are implementing a couple different methods to grow our plants and vegetables: straw bale gardening and Mittleider gardening. These systems are best for growing our potatoes, onions, garlic, chives, carrots, radishes, beets, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.
Straw bale gardening uses straw as the base for root growth. When the straw inside the bale begins to decay, the straw becomes conditioned compost that creates an extraordinary plant rooting enviornment. Although you can grow directly into these bales, we use this system in our raised beds. When the beds get too soft, the straw is spread over the ground to improve the soil composition.
We also use the Mittleider gardening method, a method centered around vertical growth, low but focused watering, and high nutrient infusions in raised beds.
Be sure to ask Grace how we’re implementing this system on our farm.
We raise our all animals with an emphasis on non-GMO/organic feed and humane living conditions.
Our pigs – red wattle hogs – are a large heritage breed with fleshy wattles attached to each side of their neck. The wattles have no known function, but Grace suspects they aid with temperature regulation. Red wattle hogs are known for their hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate; which accounts for them producing a lean meat that is flavorful and tender.
We’ve specifically placed their pens where there are lots of acorns, because acorns are their favorite food! Currently, we are mating Gigi and Boo, so we’re expecting a farrow litter of 10 or more in the next 3-4 months.
Our rabbits are New Zealand white rabbits. Their white color and red eyes are actually a form of albinism caused by a gene mutation. We have about 35 rabbits at the moment, between the mature adults and the young bunnies. We give them a more humane lifestyle with our pens on wheels, which are designed so that to be wheeled around to different areas allowing the rabbits to constantly explore and eat fresh grass.
We also keep Golden & Americana chickens and Norwegian ducks.