If there is anything I have learned from 2018, it is to stop thinking and start doing. That is precisely why I began to use the resources I have in order to grow many of my own foods. Not only is this financially effective, but it definitely has an impact on my environmental footprint.
My horses provide me with thousands of pounds of all-natural fertilizer each year. Having hoards of fresh horse manure comes with the territory of living on an equine farm. You can either choose to complain about the smell, OR use it to your advantage as fertilizer! In fact, many backyard gardening sites and books actually recommend individuals to locate local horse “fertilizer” for their own crops. How lucky am I to have access to this naturally? For those who do not have horses who produce this fertilizer naturally, find a local farm that does. Often times I give horse manure away in reused feedbags to backyard gardeners.
Next on the list is the hens. Not only do these chickens cultivate the soil and fertilizer, but they maintain healthy pest levels. Essentially, they keep the land from being over-run by insects that are attracted to our crops. In addition to being phenomenal workers, the ladies lay up to a dozen eggs a day. These eggs I can then consume myself, store at room temperature for weeks on end, give to family and friends, or give back to the chickens so that they are able to re-digest the shells.
Got weeds? No problem. Our “clean-up crew,” the goats, will take care of that for you. While you have to be sure to not allow the goats access to the crops themselves, they are the most efficient way to rid your property of weeds. Additionally, crops that have spoiled I often times give to our goats for their hard-work.
What do I produce?
Currently, I have a consistent flow of eggs, stevia, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, strawberries and cucumbers at my finger tips. By next spring, I would like to have mastered the art of producing and maintaining goat milk for yogurt, butter and cheese. My ultimate goal is to be able to provide and sell my crops to my community.
Why do I produce my own food?
I believe it is extremely important to know where your food is coming from. Even more so important when you are purchasing a product such as eggs. If you do not know the chicken that laid the egg and what they ate, why even consider consuming it?