Persimmon Moon Farm Goals for 2022

Persimmon Moon Farm Goals for 2022

Our farm is in the early stages of development. This is our second year on the land and we are heavily focused in two areas: building soil life and farm infrastructure. We need to restore the soil before we can go full into planting mode. 

SOIL 

Keyline Plowing 

One of last years projects was the initial clearing some of the big sagebrush to form the areas to be keyline plowed. We worked with Gordon Tooley of Tooley's Trees in Truchas, NM to map out and mark the contour lines on our land. We then worked with Adrian Vigil to clear the sagebrush. What remains is a natural contoured area vs. a traditional cleared square farming field with rows. The contours facilitate the movement and capture of water across the land. We also wanted the fields to look organic, natural in shape, and they will hopefully return to a prairie state over time.

Adrian Vigil Land Clearing

Persimmon Moon Farm cleared land

In late April Gordon will return to Keyline plowing the fields. This plowing is different from traditional plowing that disrupts the top layer of soil. Keyline plowing reaches deeper in the subsoil, breaking the ground up underneath while the outer top layer is largely undisturbed. This allows the clay soil to absorb and capture rainfall more efficiently, allowing the water to move as it would naturally along the contour lines of the land. The furrows created by the Keyline plow infiltrate water, increase oxygen in the soil, and greatly boost plant root depth and development.

Gordon Tooley of Tooley's Trees in Truchas, NM

Compost & Biological Amendments 

When the Keyline plowing occurs compost tea and fermented plant waters will be applied in the rips created by the plow adding microbial and fungal food and life to the dirt. Additional foliar and sub soil injection applications of compost tea and other plant liquids, such as Nettle or Comfrey, will be made throughout the year. 

We have a large pile of sagebrush from clearing the house building envelope that we will burn to produce biochar. It will be charged with with beneficial microbes and fungi and then added to the fields to slowly breakdown and add carbon. 

We will experiment with using Korean Natural Farming (KNF) JADAM techniques. These methods facilitate the capture of diverse local indigenous microorganisms and biology from our land and make it available to apply at a larger scale as a soil or foliar drench to enrich the soil and plants over time.  Calcium brews from egg shells. LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) a rice water inoculum to make a working serum for use on the farm.

We will establish a kitchen compost pile for food scraps, a compost pile following Dr. Elaine Ingham's, the soil food web, approach, and a Johnson-Su bioreactor to create compost rich in biology, add nutrients, and to increase water retention. 

Cover Crops 

Keeping roots in the ground year round is critical. It helps to slow erosion, keeps soil temperatures cooler, prevents water run off, provides root exudates for the soil biology and helps build organic matter. 

We have sown about 500 lbs of a custom diverse cover crop mix from Buffalo Brand Seed Company in Colorado. It includes, vetch, oats, flax, sunflowers, clover, wheat, barley, Rocky Mountain bee plant, rye, prairie coneflower, and more for this area. 

Broadcast sender with cover crop seeds from Buffalo Seed Co in Colorado

Medicinal Herbs

We have sown a diverse mixture of perennial and annual herbal medicinal plant seeds. Wood betony, calendula, milk thistle, wild thyme, marshmallow, plantain, mullein, dandelions, chamomile, sunflowers, and much more. We are also trialing some perennial plants such as roses, lavender, hops, and elderberries to see which varieties will do best. 

Medicinal herb seeds

 

INFRASRUCTURE 

Water Catchment 

We will catch rain water from the workshop, the bee house, and the event space roofs. We will install gutters, 1st flush diverters, to funnel rain into IBC totes and rain barrels for storage. The rain water will primarily be used to create compost tea and other brews for a spray application of natural nutrients. 

Event Space

We are setting up a covered event space with a workspace, fire pit and seats to eventually host workshops and farm gatherings.  

Persimmon Moon Farm event space seating area

Bee House

Unfortunately we lost our original bee hive over winter. This year we are replenishing the Flow Hive and adding a second hive to the bee house. We are trying an Apimaye hive which is constructed of a double wall food grade plastic with insulation to provide better temperature management in summer and winter. We are also putting in a small bee pond for water access. We've ordered two packages of bees from Bee Weaver Honey Farm in Texas, they deliver to Roswell, NM where we pick up and then bring the bees home to the farm. 

Irrigation

We have decided against a well. Our house water will be provided by a buried cistern with rain catchment. We will mainly irrigate the plants from the IBC totes distributed around the farm using delivered water and any available rain water. We will use some Oyas, terracotta pots, to slowly release water in some planting zones. We will use a technique from the Zuni Pueblo people to create waffles, a sunken garden space, to facilitate water holding around key plants and trees.  We hope combined with the techniques noted above the land will be able to heal and be more efficient with the little rainfall we receive each year. 

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1 comment

  • good afternoon….just want to say how honored and proud I am to have gone to school with you (Grier/Ashbrook) and how wonderful it is you have moved on in life and do what you love. I have always had a green thumb myself but YOU have truly taken it to the next level. When I get time I will peruse through your shop and order some things for family and friends and make certain they know where it came from and WHO provided. Good Luck to you both John F King Ashbrook Class of 89

    John King

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