June is upon us as the flowers are finally peaking their heads out to say hello. They’ve come along way since the February days of cold stratification (which involves refrigerating certain seeds for weeks before they are sown), the heat box of March (to keep the babies content at around 70 degrees), the mass plantings of April and May.
Everything is growing at Fawn Lily Farm…especially the grass. We spend more hours than I’d like to admit crawling around ripping out the grass roots with a hori hori – a badass Japanese garden tool. If I learn nothing else from this experience it’s this: grass roots movements are damn near impossible to stop. We’ve grown to love the soil biology we’re cultivating in our field as well as in the lines on our hands. If you were to examine our palms you’d see that our lifeline spells out “S O I L.” We hand crafted our beds – 3 feet wide and rich in healthy soil biology. When preparing the beds for the plant babies, we add crushed fish bones and feathers to bring up the nitrogen and phosphorous levels, gypsum to increase sulfur levels, limestone to bring up the soil pH by making the soil more alkaline, and glacial rock dust for trace nutrients for prime looking and tasting plants. These amendments provide food for the microbes that make their homes in the soil. Only with a healthy soil food web can you have healthy plants.
The heroes of Fawn Lily Farm We were far from alone in the first chapter of the journey. In fact, it would’ve been impossible without the help of some great Corbett folks. Michael and Pam, the ultimate stewards of Fawn Lily Farm and the rest of their 20 acres on SE Louden Road, have offered tremendous practical and emotional support. From helping me build the heat box to showing us the mechanics of the BCS tiller, Michael has been so generous with his time and knowledge. Pam is an avid gardener who shares in the excitement of new plant finds and will clip flowers from her own gardens for cut flower experimentation. They’ve helped us tackle drip irrigation and always keep an eye out on our plant babies in the greenhouse. Nothing we say here can possible justify just how lucky we feel to know them.
Dennis and Cynthia have put us up on their beautiful Ross Mountain property. They, too, are wonderful caretakers of their land, practicing sustainable forestry management, keeping bees, and living lightly. There are arrays of projects on the mountain and it’s fun to learn a thing or two about herbs, bees, horses, etc. Katie Coppoletta, who owns Fiddlehead Farm down the road, has been a steady rock for us. Whenever I feel anxiety about the farm, Katie sets me straight, telling me that we’re doing a great job. We hope to be the source of strength for beginning farmers sometime down the road. The Gordon Creek Road community: Mikaela, Ed, Chi, Forrest, Christina, and Aaron. These people have provided comic relief every Thursday at their potluck. In addition to a general good time they’ve assisted with retail opportunities, tilling, encouragement, plant nerd entertainment, and beers. Lest we forget how we came to be here! It wouldn’t have happened without the encouragement of the Marc Robbi, Corrina Cohen, and Tina Glaessner of Orleans, CA. This is a much larger story that transcends the scope of this blog, but pretty much they are our heroes. There are most definitely more people to thank, but my fingers are feeling arthritic from pulling so many weeds. We’ll just make this a series. It takes a village, you know?
Thanks to the efforts of these fine humans, we are harvesting our first sweet peas, Zulu daisies, and yarrow. Within a couple of weeks, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion the field is really going to come alive. We are so excited to share the beauty with you!