Last fall, when we were going through our farm purchase, we needed somewhere to plant our garlic. Cindy and David from Pleasant Hill Farm (in Pleasant River, Queen’s County, NS) were generous enough to let us plant a bed at their farm. They prepped the bed with their spader, applied compost and gave us hay to mulch with after we had planted the garlic bulbs. They also scaped the garlic (took off the scapes aka flower stalks) when it was time. Super generous! They were fellow vendors with us last year when we attended the Lunenburg and Hubbards farmers’ markets and we can’t say enough about how much we admire and respect them as farmers and human beings. This past week, we drove out to their farm (4 hours from ours!) to harvest our garlic. We also went to Windhorse Farm (where we were leasing land last year) to visit and pick up our beehive. We didn’t end up bringing the hive home however, since our bees have become amazingly aggressive since we’ve been away. I (Shannon) ended up with at least 10 bee stings on my face and head. So, by the time we arrived at Cindy and David’s, one of my eyes was almost closed shut with puffiness.
Ideally, we would have harvested our garlic earlier than we did. But it’s hard when it’s 4 hours away from us….
Cindy and David have a strong interest in insects and biological pest control (the use of living organisms to maintain pest populations below damaging levels). They plant flowers (such as Viper’s Bugloss, the blue flower in the picture below) at the ends of beds to attract and retain insect species.
David told us about a cool project called The Lost Ladybug Project out of Cornell University. When you find a ladybug, take a picture of it, then upload it to the site and identify what species it is. It could be the rare 9-spotted Ladybug! We’re looking forward to finding as many species of ladybugs on the farm as we can.
David and Cindy are into intercropping and have a thriving field corn/winter squash section planted. They also have permanent pathways to prevent erosion and keep as much of the soil covered as possible. They do a great job of growing lots of beautiful vegetables while respecting the work that nature has in mind.
Below is a picture of some of the compost they create on the farm which they lay out in long windrow piles. And some of their hens. They keep laying hens for eggs and chickens, turkeys, and 2 cattle for meat.
They have quite a few greenhouses. And the contents of their greenhouses are very very impressive. As Bryan said, something for us to aspire to. They do an amazing job growing greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers. They started harvesting tomatoes this year at the end of May! That’s when we set our tomatoes in the ground! Their tomatoes and cucumbers are beautifully trellised and pruned, which is a lot of work. The greenhouses that have cucumbers in them have screens on the open sides where the plastic gets rolled up for ventilation as well as on the doors. The screens keep out the cucumber beetles. They are also growing peppers, eggplant, basil, sweet potatoes, ginger, and a little turmeric under greenhouses. One of the greenhouses has a huge sunflower “tree” that volunteered early in the season.
We always learn so much from Cindy and David. It was great to see what’s happening at their farm right now and get inspired. They gave us a ton of their time which is very precious indeed. Check them out at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market on Thursdays which they attend all year-round and the Hubbards Barn Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.