Freedom-Farm is our little piece of paradise in the desert. It is a self-sufficiency farmstead and is the inspiration for the information that will be found throughout the website and its affiliated members. If we can do it anyone can! We felt strongly the need at this time and place in history, to share the miracles we have experienced as we "Advance confidently in the direction of our dreams...". It encompasses goat farming, cheese making, soap making, high desert gardening, canning, drying, solar power and other experiments/experiences in self-sufficiency.
Raised beds allow for protection from critters and extreme temperatures, while eliminating the need to till the soil. They also make gardening easier on the back!
Everywhere I've lived for any period of time, the first thing I have done is plant a vegetable garden. To me there is something very "down to earth" about putting my hands in the dirt to plant and nurture new life into being; I feel in partnership with God in the garden. There is also something very comforting about knowing there is some food growing nearby...and I (and my hubby) like to eat! We like to eat healthy! Can't get much healthier than fresh from your own garden.
ABOVE: Brocolli, January 26, 2017, providing nutritious greens since October. No green worms, aphids or pests of any kind growing in the winter. Some cultures use the green leaves and discard the flowerets. We enjoy it all! (So do the geese, ducks and chickens...) Plastic tent opened to allow the rain in;
Fava beans in neighboring bed remain covered as they are more sensitive to the cold. They also produce a little during the winter, but the real advantage to getting them established during the fall is that they are ready to produce during March, April and May, before it gets too hot for them.
Elephant Garlic can be seen in a bed to the rear; planted in November it is about a foot tall now in January. Thickly mulched with straw to protect the bulb, the tops are hardy enough to withstand the freezes we get here in the 10's-20's. It will be ready to harvest in May-June.
The "God Tree", a volunteer fruited mulberry, provides welcome respite in the garden from the blistering summer sun. Before it grew, beds were partially covered with shade cloth to protect even the sun loving plants that protest after a while.
This mulberry tree that volunteered in the garden also provides abundant delicious berries for fresh eating and jam. The raised garden bed model protects from all the hungry desert critters among other advantages. Self-sufficiency requires protecting crops from destructive forces.
SONG OF THE BIRDS FOR MIRTH
ONE IS NEARER GOD'S HEART IN A GARDEN
THAN ANYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH!
Before moving to the high desert of Arizona, I had mastered cold weather gardening in the North woods. Here I've had to re-learn just about everything! Alkaline soil instead of acid; hot dry weather instead of cold wet; several short seasons instead of one relatively long one; and most daunting is the endless parade of hungry critters out to get my choicest goodies. I thought keeping deer and coons out of the garden was a challenge! Through much trial and error I have devised my own version of raised bed gardening to meet most of the challenges. The abundance provided by the year round gardening here has allowed me to relax and let go the losses. I also no longer feel pressed to "put it up for winter". There is something growing all winter long. I have learned to adjust our diets to the seasons, which feels much healthier and in tune with nature anyway.
Successful composting in the Arizona Desert