On-Farm Innovation - 12/13/12
December 13th, 2012 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Gospel Flat Farm, Bolinas, CA
Workshop participants spent a beautiful sunny afternoon touring multigenerational Gospel Flat Farm with farmer Mickey Murch. Mickey demonstrated his on-farm innovations, showcasing his lineup of farm-crafted and modified tools and machinery. The lineup began with a demonstration of his vacuum seeder, an indispensable tool for getting 100s of those small seeds planted in no time and many starts going at once.
The next tool that Mickey showcased was the transplanter that he custom made. It is designed to allow the person riding behind to be as close to the soil as possible, makes those perfect rows, and pack in the starts.
Mickey then led us through his custom early spring cultivator set-up designed for use soon after transplanting or seeding crop, when the weeds are still very short, thin and at the “hair” stage.
We then walked across the farm to the temporary chicken enclosure around an old artichoke field, including two mobile coops and approximately 300 birds. Mickey emphasized the role that the chickens play at Gospel Flat Farm. The chicken manure is a great source of nutrients for the farm and provide “feeding potential for bumper crops” when crops are planted where the chickens previously had free range. In addition to this manure, Mickey applies farm-made compost with some unique and nutrient boosting additions such as invasive green crabs shipped in as waste from a marine study and winery pumice.
We finished the afternoon by touring Mickey’s shop filled with welding equipment, wrenches, and all the tools he uses to put together his custom farm equipment, complete with a welding demo.