People often ask, "is Abington Grown an organic farm?"
We are not a certified organic farm. Organic farming originally was formed around the idea of creating a healthy living environment for life on the farm. A vibrant living soil is the key to good healthy crops, so we focus on creating diverse thriving soil life for the betterment of our vegetables, our selves and our customers.
Here is what we use to grow high quality chemical free produce in a low impact manner:
- Our major source of power is draft animals (horses and oxen). Not only are they a green energy source, but they produce fertilizer and offspring as well. Learn about our Draft Animals.
- We rely heavily on cover crops and crop rotation. Both help limit pests and disease pressure, while the cover crops also feed the soil and the vegetables. Pest and disease management starts with prevention.
- With soil tests, observation and a certified crop consultant we are able to carefully add minerals that the soil needs.
- Only mineral, animal and plant based fertilizers are used to grow our produce.
- We purchase traditional hybrid, open pollinated and heirloom seeds that are either organic or untreated.
- With no source of water for irrigation, we practice dryland cultivation and mulching methods that conserves water in the soil, and encourages healthy root growth.
- Living and straw mulches help protect soil from erosion and limit moisture loss.
- We use proven methods of pest control that are approved for organic production, only if there is a problem.
We don't use:
- Conventional or harsh pesticides that require an applicators license.
- Synthetic fertilizers and excessive use of any natural fertilizers.
- Genetically Engineered seeds.
- Abusive animal husbandry.
If you ever happen to drive by and see our sprayer pulled by our oxen, you may be wondering why a no-spray farm is using a sprayer, or you may wonder if the animals are being exposed to something harmful.
Rest assured that we are using our sprayer for one of 2 beneficial reasons. First, as our soil recovers from some mineral deficiencies, we are not interested in dumping a lot of fertilizer and hoping for the best. Instead we add a little, and watch how the plants react. If the plants need more than what the soil has to offer, we use our sprayer to feed the plants through the foliage. It is the equivalent of giving the plants lots of small meals instead of one huge meal. Second while natural fertilizers and cover crops help to build up soil life and organic matter, we are also using this sprayer to innoculate the soil with beneficial microbes. These good bacteria and fungi help break down the cover crops and make nutrients available to plants in a form that they can utilize. To many people a sprayer indicates toxic chemicals, but to us it is a plant food and soil life applicator. If you are still wondering about the oxen or human running this rig, nothing harmful is ever used in our sprayer, the rubber wheels and slow pace of application make this a relaxed and easy job for all.