Last Wednesday, we had the opportunity to accompany Rylan, the owner of Forestdale Farms, to his eco-friendly farm to learn all about what it takes to grow in high altitude and to help clear out some soil beds to get ready for the next season. Here, he explains to us that in these beds they plant everything very close in order to preserve water on the farm. These beds are raised which helps to keep out rabbits and gophers, which also helps with preserving water. The hoops above the beds help to keep the covers up in order to protect the beds from the harsh weather that Flagstaff gets.
This greenhouse has an aquaponics system that helps a lot with plants starting out because it gives a great source of nitrogen. There are tubs underneath that contain fish (small, fathead minnows) to help fertilize the plants. The tubes that run throughout the greenhouse circulate water through the tanks. The benefits is that it stays warm a good majority of time because of the water that’s constantly in there. There’s little to no water loss because of the tanks underneath that catch water that drips out.
Kale that is grown close together in a raised bed. Thanks to these raised beds and cloth lining, the farm gets an almost 100% harvest from them since the wildlife isn’t able to really get to the plants. These beds also have a drip irrigation so that they are able to turn on/off each bed as it’s needed instead of watering everything at once, even when a certain bed may not need it thanks to their water conservation efforts.
This is the pond that the farm gets all of it’s water from since they are not on the city’s water system. All the water that is used is rain water which means that the Rylan doesn’t have to have water hauled into the farm. Conservation is definitely important for the farm since they only get it when it rains. In this pond they keep the bigger fish (catfish, rainbow trout, and bass) to later harvest for themselves (but not to sell).
Thanks to the moisture & heat enclosing greenhouses, Rylan can continue to grow “microgreens” through the winter at temperatures as low as 25 degrees Farenheit! These greenhoues (also called “season extenders”) also help collect water for the pond and minimizes watering needs of the crops.
This chicken coop is made of cork wood to help keep in heat during the cold winter nights. When the chickens are done laying eggs, they are sold as meat to local vendors while turkeys are sold mostly for their eggs. Also, the turkeys are bred naturally through a process called “heritage breeding,” allowing the turkeys to be less stressed than they may have otherwise been
At the end of the day we were so happy to have been able to get our hands a little dirty and learn so much about sustainable farming! Thank you so much to Rylan and his lovely Forestdale Farm! Go check them out at the local Flagstaff farmer’s market on Sundays!