No-Till the Two Boots way
Whew! We’ve been planting up a storm all week long. What a joy it’s been to spend our days under the sun getting our tender plant babies in the ground. We can’t wait to see the flowers they pump out come Summer! We’re continuing to pull loads of tulips from the field, and have started to harvest the first of our ranunculus. It’s been a beautiful Spring in Maryland, and we’re feeling lucky to have had such a pleasant start to the season.
Most of our time over the past month has been spent working to prepare our fields for planting. Because we try to do this without tilling the soil, bed preparation looks a bit different for us than it does at a lot of other farms. We use several different methods to kill of cover crops before planting. Our favorite method is occultation, or using large plastic silage tarps to cover beds for about a month before we are ready to plant into them. As the tarps sit on the beds, they heat the soil to high temperatures and smother the existing plants in the field, while also causing any weed seeds to germinate and die off. Occultation allows us to leave organic matter in the field and gives us a clean slate to plant into. Once we remove the tarps from the field, we generally broadfork the beds to aerate the soil if needed, spread compost and amendments, and rake them in. Once that’s done, we often lay landscape fabric on top of the beds and will plant into that. This helps us keep weeds at bay, which gives us more time to focus on growing even more flowers and veggies!
Another no-till method we’re trying out this year probably seems a little nutty to most people. We’re experimenting with cutting out cover crops by hand at the base of the plant, so that the roots can stay in the ground to feed the soil microbes. The green material from the cover crops is then spread on top of the bed and left to break down. After we’ve cut down the cover crops, we’ll gently aerate the soil with a broadfork or digging fork, and again, spread our amendments and compost, and possibly cover with landscape fabric.
We’re enjoying learning more about no-till farming. It’s gentler on the Earth, allows us to sequester carbon, and supports the life within the soil. The cherry on top? We’re finding that using no-till methods is easier on our own bodies!
This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, radishes, hakurei turnips, shiitake mushrooms, spring mix, tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, and mixed bouquets. We’ll also be bringing an abundance of flower, veggie, and herb seedlings to sell!
Save the Date
Saturday, May 4th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class
Saturday, May 11th - on farm plant sale and a free gardening 101 class
Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.
Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!
Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.