The market garden at Storie Farms is based on the principles of bio-intensive, human scale, non-certified organic farming. What does this all mean? We believe we should be able to work within nature to feed ourselves and our community. Focusing on soil biology and health, we aim to grow as much food as we can on minimal acreage. We believe in healthy delicious food you can feel good about.
Minimal tillage is at the forefront of the techniques we use to farm. Inverting the natural soil layers through deep tillage causes a disruption in the biology and microorganisms living within the soil. By reducing the soil disruption we are creating an environment for active, living soils which promotes the growth of healthy plants and we think- tastier food.
Hand tools allow us to farm on a human scale and get the job done.
From the early spring seed starting in the nursery, to bed preparation using forks, spades and rakes, to hand picking, washing and packaging all that we produce, we have the opportunity to keep a close eye on the quality of crops and the health of the soil. Although not strictly a hand tool, a walk-behind tractor is used in initial garden bed formation as part of our process in transitioning to low or minimal tillage. All of these tools allow us to create a more sustainable operating system that is simple and effective.
Ground Covers allow us to till the soil less and encompass a variety of methods used on our farm to reduce soil erosion, promote water retention, and reduce weed pressure. Wood chip mulch, straw bed covers, compost application, cover crops, tarps, and landscape fabrics all keep our soil covered. We feel there is no one size fits all method so we do what suits the crop, soil or season the best, observe the outcomes and adapt as needed.
Composted manure is the result of the whole systems approach we take on the farm and is the basis of our soil fertility. Manure is collected from the barn yard and winter animal bedding, piled and then turned multiple times throughout the season. We then spread this fertile compost on the gardens and pastures, feeding the soil and in turn the plants. The cycle continues with the animals feeding off of healthy pastures and the gardens producing stronger healthier plants and vegetables.
Crop rotation ensures that the soil we farm on is not exhausted of its nutrients from season to season. Each family of vegetables consume different nutrients and provide varying benefits to the soil. By not planting the same vegetables in the same spot every year the garden does not become depleted of its nutrients. Soil that is deficient in nutrients results in plants that require more work, inputs and results in weak, unhealthy plants which can result in pest infestations and poor production/quality.