When I’m not researching and curating content for my day job as a Global Health Security Analyst for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, I’m a flower farmer! Farming was never in the plans, it just sort of happened, and my husband and I couldn’t be more thrilled. We have 65 acres of a former tobacco farm, and the soil is a depleted dust bowl from over 350 years of growing tobacco. Yup, you read that right, 364 years to be precise. We jumped into learning to farm in 2020, which turned out to be a fantastic place and time to isolate during the early part of the pandemic. We planted cover crops, tilled in soil amendments and compost. We started a worm farm and produced gallons and gallons of vermicompost tea. The spring of 2021 I seeded and planted thousands of flowers, but they were still struggling to thrive. We grew some healthy weeds though.
The 2021 Season
The 2022 season was better, but the flower crops were about half the height they should have been, and we encountered some nutrition deficiencies despite all of the amendments added.
The 2022 Season
For the upcoming 2023 season, we are bringing in some assistants. Meet our new employees.
The idea is that the sheep will assist with mowing the pastures, and fertilize as they mow. The donkeys will serve as an alarm system for the occasional coyote or wandering dog, as well as provide fertilizer. The goats will help to keep the treeline cleaned up, and also fertilize. We also have a mobile chicken tractor (with chickens) to rotate into the pastures for nitrogen enrichment. We have no idea what we are doing, but that’s never deterred our enthusiasm for learning new things. If readers out there have experience and wisdom to pass along, please do!
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