Alice Williams and Darren Smith from New Life Farm give us an insight to what is happening down on the farm and what you might find in our New Life Farm salad over spring!
Welcome to Spring. A time when we dust off the cobwebs and emerge from hibernation as the days become longer and warmer, and we witness new life in the garden.
This is our fifth Spring of New Life Farm, a beautiful patch of dirt in between Sapphire and Moonee Beach where we are fortunate enough to farm organically grown, chemical free produce for our family and the local community.
We’re in transition at the moment between the cool and the warm seasons. We still get to enjoy dinners filled with broccoli, cabbages, radishes and Winter crops whilst our Spring seedlings are in the dirt starting to grow.
With Spring here and no longer a risk of frost, we’ve well and truly started the planting of our warm season crops including zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, capsicum, chilli, eggplant and more.
Because we only grow outside and in the ground, we are more susceptible to the elements and as such, farming in this fashion requires forward planning.
We seeded our warm season seedling stock in our seed raising house nearly six weeks ago. Now safe from the cool of Winter, and only just recently with the warmer weather, we’ve transplanted our seedlings into the garden.
Our warm season crops won’t be ready to harvest until mid Spring, so now we excitedly wait for that day of the first harvest, for the first meal and tastes of a new season!
With the change of season and warmer weather, most of the new life we see in the garden is welcome but is accompanied by a few new challenges too.
With the shift of the season farmers in our area and up and down the coast are reporting an influx of pests including the Rutherglen bug (small native cluster bug), flea beetle (they enjoy eating small holes in leaves and sucking sap!), cabbage moth and aphids.
We may be garden nerds, but we do get pretty excited when we see the ladybug army arrive to keep the aphids in check, along with parasitic wasps and the very aptly named ‘assassin bug’!
Nature is incredible the way she is committed to returning everything back to balance. We just ensure we do our bit to facilitate growth with healthy soil, rich compost and supply of moisture.
With the recent dry conditions it’s never been more important to be aware of what we can all do to save and make the most of our water.
We ensure all soil is covered at all times with mulch e.g. straw, woodchip, compost, weedmat.
We predominantly use drip irrigation which ensures the most effective watering of the plants and also schedule watering to be early morning or late afternoon where there is less chance of evaporation and more time for the water to soak into the garden beds.
Longer duration, less frequent decent soaking watering sessions are more effective than frequent, short watering sessions.
New LIfe Farm has recently teamed up with The Happy Frog to supply a regular changing selection of fresh produce that the talented froggies are turning into yummy salads each week. Being food lovers ourselves, it’s a privilege to see the result of our hard work enjoyed by so many people. We hope you all will enjoy the salads!
New Life Farm is a small scale mixed produce farm located in Sapphire Beach growing using organic practises, without the use of any chemicals. New Life Farm runs weekly produce orders for customers with pick up days for pre ordered produce available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. To order or to sign up to the farm’s mailing list visit the website www.newlifefarm.com.au