What could be "greener" than a small farm, right? As a matter of fact, there are eco-friendly practices you can easily employ on your own small farm that will enhance its sustainability and lower its impact on planet earth. While some of these ideas require a bit of work and planning, you may well be surprised at how little effort "going green" can be! Consider the following:
Sure, this term might sound a little like composting with vermin and, well – that's kind of what it is! The term "vermicomposting" refers to turning the food waste generated by your home or your farm into rich compost. There are a number of benefits here: you’ll be "going green" by reducing the amount of waste that you throw away (which will save you plenty of cash over time if your waste removal service charges you by weight).
When cold temperatures make traditional composting difficult, you can continue vermicomposting throughout the year. Finally, think about the rich, natural humus you’ll generate to fertilize your crops when growing season comes around!
No matter how small your small farm may be, there’s a high likelihood that its environmental impact could be reduced. An environmental farm plan is a way that you can get on paper an action plan for reducing areas of potential environmental harm, from the way livestock is managed to the way vehicles are used on your property.
One of the great things about an environmental farm plan is that there are probably areas where your small farm is actually doing a great job in terms of environmental risk. Getting to know those strengths and developing them even further will be both enlightening and rewarding.
Hydroponic gardening is no longer a mere curiosity – it’s a smart, simple, cost-effective, and super-efficient method of growing certain crops and herbs. Instead of planting these crops in the soil, they're grown inside a series of tubes (often plastic pipes) in a nutrient-rich water solution.
If you house your hydroponic system indoors, or inside a small greenhouse on your property, guess what? You can grow fresh herbs and veggies all year long!
Hydroponic farming may sound complicated or expensive, but don't worry. DIY hydroponic systems are relatively simple to build and maintain. And did we mention that you'll use up to 80% less water than if you'd grown those vegetables in the soil?
That's right. Small farm sustainability at its best.
Crop rotation has been done for centuries, and for good reason – it works marvelously. In fact, crop rotation is one of the easiest ways to maintain your soil's health, reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizer. Proper crop rotation destroys the spread of disease as well, so you don’t have to worry about using chemicals to keep your plants growing strong and free of blight or rot.
Plus, if you rotate your crops properly, you can actually reduce weather damage and erosion on your farm, creating a further environmental benefit. It's perfectly natural, perfectly logical, and makes for more robust crops.
Organic pest control doesn't just mean getting rid of the bad guys; it means giving the good guys a place to live! While you probably don't want bats or birds nesting in your dream gazebo, a little shed can provide them a home when they’re not attacking the pests that destroy your crops.
Even tinier friends in the animal kingdom can help as well. Ladybugs and beetles, for example, are two little critters that love chowing down on the mites and flies that want to chew your farm away. Buying some of these beneficial insects when growing season arrives and creating an environment they’ll want to stay in will help to ensure the quality of your garden-grown goodies, and will definitely have a positive impact on the amount of pesticides you use.
The bottom line is, green farming doesn't have to be a chore. It can be a perfectly simple, natural, inexpensive, and ultimately gratifying experience. Give it a try! You'll reduce your farm's environmental impact, and as a bonus, you'll likely yield better crops!
Country Lane Woodworking was founded by Samuel Stoltzfus in 1994. Samuel and his brothers have been running the family business ever since in Lancaster County, PA. They began building gazebos on their small farm and moved once business outgrew their farm. They provide a network of dealers from United States to Canada and are very proud of their precise and skilled craftsmanship. Their craftsmen are able to custom build any gazebo, pergola, pavilion and cabana to their customer's preferences. Brandon Peach is a writer and content strategist at web design, internet marketing and IT firm EZSolution in Lancaster, PA. Brandon is constantly writing as a strategist and co-founder of Theologues. When he’s not writing he spends his time with his wife and son.