PEAS Farm: Sprouting seeds and cow manure!

Baby lettuce
This time of year at Garden City Harvest’s PEAS Farm, as it is at many farms all across the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, is a time of preparation.  We use this time to prepare the farm in many ways, mending fences, starting seeds in the greenhouse, fixing the chicken coop, and cleaning up the pig pen.  But the most important thing we do as organic farmers is to prepare the soil to grow delicious, healthy fruits and vegetables for Missoulians to scarf down all year long.  When we prepare our soil for a new growing season, it is a multi-step process, and in my opinion, a really fun thing to do!

Onion Sprouts

First, we need to provide the new crop of plants we’ll grow this season with some “food” – we do this by amending our soil with compost and aged cow manure.  That’s right folks, cow manure, aka poop, is a huge part of growing healthy, big vegetables and fruits.  Right now, we are in the process of spreading a small layer of compost/manure on top of all of the bare soil and then “mixing” that into the soil in a variety of ways.  One way is to use a tractor implement (tool) called a harrow, which is kind of like a giant rake that rips any early season weeds out of the soil while it helps incorporate the compost/manure into the soil.   We also use an implement called a spader, which does the final mixing of the compost/manure, as well as fluffs the soil into a perfect condition to plant seeds or transplant seedlings!  Which we will be doing in just a few short weeks!