Spring 2012

Stonebranch MicroFarm

Chambersville, Texas

Our goal at Stonebranch MicroFarm is to create a model of a sustainable, profitable farm on the smallest amount of land possible.

We use as few “off farm” inputs as possible, i.e. we make as many of our own farming products as we can. We make our own compost and mulch.

With the compost we make liquid fertilizer.  Seeds are collected each year and saved for use the next season in order to better acclimate our plants to our environment. This helps produce stronger plants year after year. Homemade green houses and specially designed grow tables are set up to start our own plants from seeds each season. Seedlings go from the greenhouse to the grow table then to the garden.

Cuttings from our existing fruit and berry plants are rooted and planted to expand our orchards.

Water conservation plays a role in our overall operation. We collect rainwater, use drip irrigation, and have constructed self watering containers.

All areas that are in production are also mulched to retain moisture (mulch is put in place after May 1st)

Soil conservation and health are maintained by never plowing, tilling or in any way disturbing the soil. Compost is added to each bed or container before they are replanted.

Labor on the farm is reduced by automation and design. Drip irrigation is controlled by the use of timers and the self watering beds maintain themselves. Planting systems and the use of mulch eliminate much of the need for weeding.

Chickens serve a purpose in farm operations. Feed for the chickens is purchased but cost is off-set by egg and meat production.  We have several flocks in different areas of the farm.

Our latest chicken habitat is a moveable mesh electric fence attached to a hen house. The fence is moved every few days to new range area around the house. In each new area the chickens leave a layer of fertilizer. These areas are then mowed and the clippings are used to make rich compost.

Two other flocks have permanent runs into which fresh grass clippings and garden fodder are placed. The chickens scratch and fertilize these clippings and move them from one end of the yard to the other where the processed plant material is collected and taken to the compost.

One area of the farm is set up as a Forest Garden model. This area has fruit trees, berries and other useful plants maintained in a natural state, mimicking that of a forest grove. Heavily mulched and minimally drip irrigated this areas only upkeep is pruning, dividing plants and weeding out the occasional unwanted invader.

We have reused, repurposed and salvaged as much as we could for the construction projects on the farm.

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