Welcome! Field’s Farmstead is located in Cavan, Ontario, just off highway 115 near Peterborough. The farm began in 2020 with JP Field and much help from his family and friends.
At our farm, we use no pesticides of any kind, and work with Nature as much as we can.
How do we do this?
We don’t till or dig the soil in our garden. We use compost, mulch, and/or tarps, as well as animals, to prepare our beds for planting.
We do this for the sake of the soil life, which repays us with healthy plants and good water absorbtion into the earth.
We interplant many plants together, as many as possible!
This practice is based on the observation that Nature plants in this way. It’s supported by plants’ abilities to collaborate and help each other when compatible plants are planted together in good arrangements. Plants like basil, marigolds, and tomatoes, for example, all work together and, when managed properly, don’t get in each others’ way.
Another common companion for us is any plant in the onions family. Their small upright leaves, lovely scent, and insect-appreciated flowers make them great companions to most of the other plants we grow.
We love annual vegetables. But we recognise that, in Nature, most plants are perennials.
Perennial plants live year after year. They collect the most sunlight, sequester the most carbon, build the biggest root systems, and support the most life. To leverage these fantastic benefits, we mix as many perennial plants as we can, even in our annual garden beds.
We plant perennials often at the end of our garden beds, leave all pathways to grow perennial meadow plants and clovers, and have numerous perennial beds between annual beds.
Perennials also provide food to people, such as delicious apples, berries, nuts, rhubarb, asparagus, etc.
We love animals and we love allowing them to work with plants, mimicking as closely as possible the way animals and plants interact in Nature.
We encourage our animals to rotate across the pasture, to forage on grasses and to browse on leaves and bark, to sift and scratch at compost, and pick out all the weed seeds.
This is the aspect that we really need to work on the most! We foresee great progress in this area and have several exciting projects in the works.
We manage the non-garden portion of our land drawing inspiration from many sources. One of those is permaculture.
To this end, we dig swales along the contours of the hillsides that make up our land. These humble ditches help soak water, including spring rain and snowmelt, into the landscape. This turns an erosion problem into a water table-healing solution. We have noticed an improvement in the soil around our first test-swales, possibly due to the improvement of the water situation in that part of the farm. And so we are adding more swales.
We also spend a lot of time in the forest, thinning crowded trees, planting and propagating trees and shrubs, encouraging diversity, helping old trees shed their unused branches and allowing more light to reach the younger trees and plants that are the next generation.
The forest gladly repays us with lumber for our animal coops, furniture, etc, with good fertility in the form of old logs and forest humus, and most of all, with a deeply gratifying good time.
I personally am very passionate about Farming with Nature and could talk about it all day. Perhaps one day I will improve this section of the site to better describe how we strive to manage this beautiful piece of land. Feel free to approach me anytime as you visit me at the farm and ask me about our land management practices.
We sell eggs and vegetables locally through our roadside fridge.