Tulip Tree Hill is the name of my home, farm, and art/design studio. Encompassing just under four acres, with perhaps one third of that in crops and pasture, it truly is a tiny little farm. Along with me on this hill reside a half dozen sheep, a handful of bantam chickens, a pair of geese, and a dog. And although the greenhouse construction was completed at the end of 2009, it was really 2010 that marked the beginning of the market garden, and the beginning of the tiny little farm. The goal here is to grow and sell not just locally, but also seasonally - with an eye towards increased sustainability.
This is the heart of the operation, with 2,500 square feet under cover. In the spring, heirloom vegetables seedlings are grown - both for planting here and for re-sale. It is a joy to grow not only old friends in the vegetable world, but also new and unusual varieties and species, most of which cannot be found at your typical garden or hardware store. During summer and fall, heat-loving vegetables are grown directly in the soil of the house. Then, during the winter, cool weather salad greens take center stage. Most recently, I'm experimenting with growing oyster mushrooms in bags of straw hanging from the rafters above the greens!
the market garden
The emphasis is on growing as naturally as possible, following good organic practices. Rather than relying on chemicals for fertilization and pest control, I utilize crop rotation, compost, mulching, and cover crops. My goal is to see an increase in soil fertility and health each year, which will hopefully bring about a corresponding increase in plant health and nutrition.
More than anything, the animals are here for my enjoyment, but they also earn their keep. The sheep produce lambs as well as wool; the chickens provide eggs; and the geese produce eggs as well as goslings. Sheep, chickens and geese also all provide manure which goes into the making of compost. The dog, of course, offers companionship. Everyone has a job.
About one third of the farm is wooded. While a very small amount of firewood comes from downed trees, more importantly, it brings wildlife literally right to my back door. It provides a wonderful balance between cultivation and the natural world.