GROWING PRACTICES AT BEAR ROOTS FARM
The farm is certified organic through the Vermont Organic Farmers Association. We do not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides and we follow the strict guidelines of the USDA. We keep detailed records of harvest, transplant, and seeding records. Creating a transparency for our customers and certifying agents.
At our farm we have chosen not to use specific organic sprays, going beyond the federal regulations. We don't spray copper on our tomato plants because we don't want heavy metals building up in our soils. *If you have specific questions regarding our sprays we are happy to respond via email:
Each year we collect soil samples and send them off to be tested. Based on the results we add micro-nutrients such as zinc, boron, wood-ash (a source of potassium), or lime.
We seed cover crops during each growing season. In the fall we seed all together oats, winter rye, and Austrian winter peas. Each different crop has it's role in the system. The rye is very productive and creates a lot of organic matter that we work into the soil in the spring. It's root system aerates and breaks up the soil so that the plants can access nutrient reserves deeper in the soil. We use the Austrian winter peas to fix nitrogen. The oats die off after a hard frost which creates a blanket of mulch. Thus breaking down and creating a rich layer of organic matter. The three work well together as they each play a vital role in repairing and re-building the soil after a year of annual vegetables. In the summer we plant buckwheat; a very abundant grower and weed suppressor. The little white flowers attract a plethora of beneficial insects including native pollinators.
Sea Crop: This is a foliar spray (which means we spray it on the leaves of plants), that is derived from sea water with the salt removed. The minerals and nutrients help boost the plant's immunity and strength as it reaches maturity.
Biodynamic Preparations: We use several of the biodynamic preps which consist of horn silica and specific herbs.
Kelp: A beautiful diversity of sea minerals. This helps plant growth and improves immunity.
John Deere Tractor with a bucket: Our work "horse" of a tractor. We use this for most field prep which includes discing, bed shaping, mowing, and some cultivating. We do not rototill our soils.
Farmall Cubs: We use two small cultivating tractors. One with a basket weeder, the other with cultivating shanks.
Hand Tools: Most of our cultivation and field work is done with a basic scuffle hoe.