At Green Meadows Farm, we grow a large variety of certified organic vegetables. Approximately 10 acres are under cultivation in vegetables and an additional three acres in blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Our goal is to provide vegetables grown on the farm (either in the fields or in the greenhouses) for as much as the year as we are able.
The first crops we harvest from the fields are fall-sown spinach, early seeded arugula and other leafy greens and scallions. As the warm weather and sunlight increase, the daily harvest increases dramatically. By late fall, the fields are mostly growing a winter cover crop. Some crops, like brussel sprouts, leeks, broccoli, carrots, and dark leafy greens are harvested until around Christmas. As the temperatures stay below freezing, chard, lettuce and arugula are harvested from the greenhouses.
Growing nutritious vegetables and fruits requires sufficient fertility. Plants under fertility stress tend to attract more pests and disease. Our goal as growers is to provide the vegetables and fruits with all the macro and micro nutrients they need to produce. The heart of our fertility program is rich compost. Well before the start of the growing season, compost is spread generously on the vegetable fields. Up to 20 tons per acre is provided to ensure the organic matter in the soil is high. As the plants mature, frequent applications of fish emulsion delivered through a boom sprayer ensures the plants have all the fertility they need. So as not to waste all the fertility added during the year, once the crops have been harvested, a dense planting of cover crop is planted. This cover crop will prevent leaching to occur and keep the left over fertility in the upper layers of the soil profile.
Vegetables takes a lot out of the soil. Allowing the fields to rest, or lay fallow, provides the soil time to rebuild all the microorganism populations that are depleted when plowing, tilling and harvesting. A one year fallow period has been proven throughout history to be necessary for continued production. A major land improvement project ongoing at the farm is opening up 12 acres of forest to more vegetable fields. By opening up more land, fields that have been intensively cropped will be given a much needed rest. Although some fields are laying fallow, they are still being extremely productive. The fallow fields are seeded with a forage crop. Sheep, chickens and pigs are rotated onto the fallow land to add manure.