By mimicking nature, we tap into cycles that maintain the biodiversity, resilience and integrity of soils. We seek to minimize off-farm inputs by utilizing more on-farm resources. The farming system is information and management intensive – but not necessarily labor intensive, though all “good work” does require daily physical interaction with the soil. Seminary Hill Farm is committed to sustainable, regenerative methods. Here are some specific examples of the tools and techniques we use:
Organic matter management
Soil organic matter is the foundation that maintains soil life. It serves as the habitat for a diverse, dynamic population of soil microorganisms, micro and macro arthropods, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Organic matter is produced by turning cover crops and other fresh plant matter into the soil. These “green manures” replace the use of animal-based manures. Through harvesting on-site organic matter to build, amend and mulch, and to compost into stable humus, we build soil organic matter over time.
Long-term crop rotations
By creating and maintaining longer term (more than two or three years) crop rotations, we not only build soil organic matter but also create the ability to better manage insect pests, diseases and weeds, and, most important, incorporate rest into the soil’s life. From rest comes regeneration, and from regeneration comes sustainable production as the cycle continues year after year. We presently have a five-year crop rotation.
By extending the traditional spring-to-fall growing season to the entire year, we enhance not only our ability to produce but our ability to eat and, moreover, teach how to grow and eat seasonally. Greenhouse, hoop houses, hot frames, cold frames, row covers and shade clothes are all tools we use to extend Seminary Hill Farm’s season to year-round.