At Carob Farms, we’re embarking on a transformative journey, redefining our relationship with soil. Moving away from the conventional agricultural approach that often sees soil merely as a medium for chemical fertilizers, we embrace the concept of soil as a living, breathing entity capable of regenerating its own fertility.
Our number one priority? Bringing life back to our soil. We’ve recognized that a key component missing in our soil is organic matter – the very essence that binds it together and creates a thriving habitat for a myriad of soil-dwelling species. These microorganisms play a crucial role in forming symbiotic relationships with plant roots, aiding in the sequestration of vital elements like Carbon and Nitrogen.
The journey to revitalize our soil involves several strategies, including planting nitrogen-fixing trees and retaining rainwater. However, for this post, let’s zoom in on our ambitious compost-making plans.
In our consultation with permaculture expert Geoff Lawton, he highlighted a crucial piece of advice: dedicating 50% of our efforts to producing high-quality compost could significantly boost our farm’s sustainability and productivity. For our 5-acre farm, this means churning out 3 to 4 cubic meters of top-notch compost weekly. The ideal method? An aerobic/hot composting process, efficient yet labor-intensive.
Initially, we faced a dilemma. The manual labor required for this process was substantial, not to mention costly. A 16 cubic meter windrow, for instance, needed regular turning and watering, demanding significant manpower and resources.
The solution? Mechanization. A strategic investment in essential machinery – a wood shredder, a compost turner, and a versatile tractor – became apparent. After thorough market research, the cost of these investments stood at around JOD50,000. A hefty sum, but a worthwhile investment for long-term soil health and farm productivity.
Here’s where the serendipity of community and shared vision comes into play. As we updated our angel donors, Garth and Susan, on the progress and our machinery needs, they stepped in once again with their generous support. Their contribution enabled us to acquire the three crucial pieces of equipment: the tractor, the shredder, and the compost turner. We’ve already received the tractor and shredder, and eagerly await the turner’s arrival in February.
This journey of soil revitalization at Carob Farms is not just about enhancing our soil; it’s about embracing a sustainable future, one where we work in harmony with nature. We’re excited to share more updates as we progress, and we invite you to join us on this journey towards a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.