Why Grow Organically?
Organic farming is a challenging and management-intensive way to grow, but the benefits to the farm, the farmer, and the customer are undeniable. Growing organically we can support a thriving and diverse farm ecosystem that provides both gorgeous vegetables and flowers free of synthetic chemicals for the table, and a healthy, beautiful work place for the farmers. For those of us doing it, organic farming is the only way to grow!
Healthy Soils Grow Healthy Plants.
At Blue Heron we know that every aspect of our farm, from the health of our plants, to the quality and vase life of our blooms depends on the health of our soil. Healthy, biologically active soil is the primary nutrient source for all plant life. We feed our soil by incorporating cover crops, compost and other organic material to encourage earthworms, micro-organisms and other soil-living fauna that feed on this organic material and, in turn, create nutrient-rich humus for plant growth. The end result of this careful attention to the soil as a growing medium is that the plants we grow will be healthier and healthy plants can more easily resist pest and disease pressure.
Work With Nature, Not Against It.
No matter how healthy your soil, pests and diseases are a reality on any farm. We focus our efforts on prevention. With careful crop rotation we can break the cycle of many crop-specific pests and soil-borne disease pathogens that can over-winter and build up in the soil. We also work to encourage beneficial insects on the farm. Most insect pests have their own natural enemies, usually another insect. For example, ladybugs feed on aphids and a tiny parasitic wasp frequently kills the cabbage worm. Beneficial insects are encouraged by planting flowers and flowering crops, such as buckwheat, as a food source. This strategy of “farm-scaping” has the additional advantage of making the farm a beautiful place to live and work. Bluebirds, tree swallows and many other birds also feed on insects, so nest boxes around the farm are important. In addition to these natural controls, we use floating row cover, which provides a physical barrier for pests, while allowing sunlight and rain to pass through. When all of our preventive measures fail, we use non-synthetic, organic-approved sprays.
How come you're not certified organic?
In our view, there are two ways to know if your vegetables or flowers are organically grown. The first is USDA organic certification, and the second is visiting the farm, getting to know your farmer, and seeing for yourself. After years of being certified organic, we made the decision not to continue it. While Blue Heron Farm is no longer a certified organic farm, we farm the same way we did when it was!