Rachel Hicks | Three Hearts Farm | Bozeman MT
~ Recorded November 22, 2017 ~
So, I grew up in Moiese north of Missoula, close to the bison range. We did a lot of gardening, outside work, 4H, that kind of thing. After I was married, Josh and I moved.
We spent some time in Harrison and north of Ronan. While we were in Ronan. Josh’s Aunt and Uncle had the opportunity to buy Three Hearts Farm. They asked us if we would be interested in Managing farm, and they gave us the opportunity to manage it and own it as well. So we are still in that process of getting there.
We moved a year ago from last June. We’ve been here about 18 months. We learned a lot about Bozeman and the community and gardening here.
We have 4 boys the oldest is 11 the youngest is 3
We enjoy teaching them about
We have a milk cow, and we enjoy her and some ducks
our primary animals as well!
So I always remember working in the garden.
I remember sitting and I was with my parents bothers and sisters. We would pod peas for hours on end while dad read a story to us. Or we would snap beans IDK I remember being up late late at night processing corn so we could freeze it with my mom and my sister. And the crazy things that you do because garden season just happens that way.
my brother and sister and I
chores in the garden
planting seeds with my dad early on.
We just did a lot of gardening growing up.
I love that I have always pictured mike and I sitting on the porch shelling peas with the grandkids.
I feel blessed having that growing up
real appreciation and connection to the land around us
how it feeds us
and how we can take care of it.
I hope we are passing it on to our kids as well.
Are you a millennial? I figure millennials are born between 1980 and 1995.
I was born in 1973.
My listeners and guests are the kind of people who want to share those things with their children.
I definitely started learning about gardening organically growing up
It’s been a journey
When we were living in Harrison I met a woman who’s become a good friend, Jenny Carl. She really introduced me to some other organic gardeners and really paying attention to the soil.
How to be thinking about how to take care of the soil
it’s so important for growing really healthy nutritious food for us as well
I continue to learn
I don’t think I’ve arrived yet at thee best way to garden organically.
Every year the climate change and seasons are changing My husbands constantly talking about how things have changed so much even since 10 years ago.
For sure soil health has been the biggest talking point on my show. IT all starts with healthy soil. Do you have anything about how you keep your soil healthy?
I feel as though we’re really working on developing a system for maintaining healthy soil here in our particular area, on our particular land
there isn’t a real system set in place
not that its really rigid
not just rotating vegetable crops
before it’s put back into vegetable production
Also looking for other sources of manure
You have to be so careful these days what to bring into your land because it’s hard to know what your
that have a long residual
explore ways of regenerating our land with just the
Three Hearts Farm is 20 acres
there’s a deer fencing
We’re actually looking at reducing the amount of land were putting into practice
You’re dropping lots of golden seeds for listeners. I’ve been running this study group based on the book by Anna Hess Home Grown Humus. Mike’s the gardener here. Do you want to tell listeners what a cover crop is and how that whole rotation piece works.
I feel inexperienced at this as well
I think of a cover crop as a crop that you plant
We’re looking for that to kind of over winter and start growing early n the spring. We would like for that crop to get really tall to wear it’s setting – starting to actually set seeds but not mature enough for them to be viable for winter.
Then bring animals in cows and sheep followed by chickens or ducks even after that to have 2 sets of animals moving across that and grazing that down and that would happen in June
put some in so that the animals are crushing that organic matter back into the ground
Then seeding something like buckwheat which can come quickly or
Would also be a good combination
always trying to have a cereal grain along with a legume together kind of pairing
second crop would grow into August or Sept at which time you would either
graze it again or mow it and then seed it again for a second fall crop
terminated it early enough
seed a fall crop
that would grow up and would winter kill
We seeded it in August I think it would have to be August
Sept didn’ get tall enough so I think you have to seed in August and then it would winter kill in the that time
You could almost have 3 cover crops
following spring would hopefully be ready to prepare the soil for planting vegetables
I’d really like to get into
between my vegetable rows
kinds of clovers are good in walkways leagues that add to the nutritional
transplant things like your brassicas
You can seed in these smaller lower kind of growing clovers things like that that will grow along with the other crops with the vegetable crops
Kind of more intercropping rather then cover cropping
because as they are growing they are feeding the soil
a number of crops
as those roots are growing
networks growing and develop
longer we let that soil grow without telling it the healthier…
see how we can make it work
That’s so true. I want to mention to listeners I know that Rachel is talking about their farm, you can do this if you have a small backyard garden. I bought this because I talked to Jes Pearce at the John Jevin’s Institute. HE wrote a book that talked about growing enough food to feed your family in the backyard each year and she talked about how they spend 60% of their space growing cover crops but like you said we have a hard time doing our little garden with soil.
I feel like we had a great crop of garlic this year!
I honestly don’t know why it was
and it just was an amazing crop of garlic was really fun to see how well it’s doing!
that did really well!
We had a great tomatoes in our greenhouse!
So that was fun
Everyone, many people love tomatoes our family is no exception to that eating them fresh!!
We had other things that did well as
such a blessing!
I talked with David Wolverton in Arlee who plants his seeds in December and I also talked with Richard Wiswall and he talks about keeping them in greenhouses any time of year because they provide the ideal condition for a tomato.
In Montana, we struggle to get tomatoes that ripen and turn red.
we don’t keep our tomatoes
all through the year
heat our houses
pretty supplemental heat to keep our pants
we would have to provide supplemental heat and probably light.
to sweeten them up
they really start slowing
thats a little bit earlier
He actually starts them as flats in his living room until about February. The tomatoes were not cheap but they were affordable and they were a nice size in the middle of June! They were probably totally worth it.
one of our hard house
double layer then
More insulated then a hoop house
No, I was gonna ask what’s a hard house?
It’s kind of common
you can get hard plastic
comes in sheets like metal roofing has a layer of insulating
double layer of air
hard plastic instead of soft plastic
instead of new
houses are smaller
We get a significant amount of significant
Their solar energy is a lot less
They’re not quite as cold
solar energy can heat
We do have electric heaters
We’ll start them in February