Since the beginning of the project in 2000, the act of growing organic seedlings for the farm and the community has been a constant. Each winter we pour through catalogs and secure our favorite varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit. For many years we have longed to expand this area of our work, knowing that starting with healthy baby plants is critical to the success of any aspiring gardener or farmer. This year we have finally taken the leap and have been working hard to develop an expanded and improved greenhouse and garden supply center here at the American River Ranch. One component that we are currently working on is a redesigned hardening off area where plants are moved into when they leave the greenhouse. This space allows baby plants to acclimate to the outdoor world and protects them from squirrel and bird predation. Soon this space will be filled with a constant flow of beautiful and healthy plants that will hopefully make their way to your garden. We can’t wait for everyone to see and experience this and many more improvements that are being made at your community farm. Happy gardening!
Even though we are closed to the public right now, Soil Born Farms has been busy making improvements to the American River Ranch. First and foremost, with soil health at the core of our work we now have about 80% of the production fields in cover crops for the winter using our new seed drill. Oh, what a difference this tool has made. Cover crop germination has been fantastic and the mix of seeds we have included will keep our soil covered, add ample amounts of organic matter and nitrogen to the soil, suppress weeds and reduce compaction. We have also recently just completed the construction of a new greenhouse on the farm. This facility will focus on increasing the production of vegetables, flowers and herbs for sale through our marketplace. Not too long from now, more garden plants and garden education will start flowing into the community and help support our vision for an Edible City. Not far behind the greenhouse are plans for improvements to our entrance. The narrow driveway into the farm that constricts cars, people and bikes will be widened and a paved parking lot will finally be constructed to replace our dirt lot. Right now we expect these updates to be completed by late June of 2021. New native plantings and a really cool bio-swale design feature that captures and conserves water will be integrated into these projects. Our outdoor classrooms and garden spaces are also taking shape. You will notice a new chicken coop and shade structure in our Youth and Family Garden. The Sustainability Square classroom is close behind with features that enhance our hands-on classes in herb production, composting, container gardening and water conservation. And last but not least, we are starting the design process for a new animal barn and associated animal program. The barn will take a bit of time, but by Spring of 2021 we expect to welcome back pasture-raised chickens. More animals will follow. We cannot wait to see all of you back on the farm. Until then, stay healthy.