Cultivating seeds and solutions at Buxton

It would not be honest of me to claim that farming is easy. In many ways it is work that is evokes physical strength indeed, but there’s an emotional tone that can often claim the day when dealing with animal ailments and death. I have been playing nurse Grace with our hens as I try to understand why some of them are compromised. It’s been time consuming but I’m committed to solutions and passionate about the well being of all the animals that come to Buxton. I owe it to them.

I joined a wonderful organization APPPA American Pastured Poultry Producers Association ( Here I found a team of people who have been through similiar challenges and are committed to raising poultry on pasture with success. If you join at the $60 annual level you can get the professional advice of Jeff Mattock from Fertrell Fertilizers when dealing with complicated poultry situations.  Jeff has been terribly prompt answering my concerns questions.  Clearly, we are on a learning curve as we peel away at the symptoms the hens are revealing. We’re getting  closer to some answers.  I am so pleased I found this awesome organization and highly recommend them to everyone raising poultry.

Grace planting onion sets

Upon dealing with the frustration of the unknown, I am pleased to turn to our garden where I can put my worried heart to work  cultivating new life, planting seeds. I like to get down and dirty in the garden, it soothes my anxious mind and satisfies my appetite for physical exercise. Garden work always  empowers my mood. The cows haven’t come home to Buxton yet so Michael has time to help me in the garden. What a treat!  Air quality at this time of the year is cool but  supreme!

Michael bringing compost to garden

We’re rotating the planting of seeds this season. With the exception of the perennials already in the garden, we’re  planting from north to south rather than east to west this season and we’re not planting anything where it was planted last year. Just like the animals, the garden gets rotated.

Red Onion Sets

So far, I’ve planted peas (fertilized with wood ash from our wood burning stove), spinach, onions, lettuce, radishes, cilantro, sunflowers, turnips, fava beans, marigolds and poppies. I intend to plant  pak choi also this week but after the full moon.  Inside, I started some tomato seedlings, broccoli and cabbage. I’m really fond of companion planting. Turnips go well with onions, spinach goes  well with radishes and lettuce. Planting with companions saves me a lot of space. I’ve been using the Vegetable Gardeners Bible for years for this purpose.

Excellent Gardening Resource

The worms have multiplied from last falls sheet mulching where we used our chicken manure from the brooder to build the soil. We layered it with cardboard. It’s a sight to see! Soon the days  will be lighter  and Buxton will be in full steam !

Worms under sheet mulch

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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."

7 Responses to Cultivating seeds and solutions at Buxton

  1. Annie Kate says:

    Ah, chicken diseases! I can’t help you out, but I can sympathize. I hope they soon get well.

    We still have a lot of snow and ice up in Ontario; no chance for gardening yet! Enjoy your warmer climate.

  2. J.P. Mathews says:

    I want to know your rational for N / S planting? As a practice and w/ many years experience as a plant breeder (conventional) Vegetable trial evaluator, organic grower and promoter. I just am very curious as to your plant selection positioning.

    • Grace says:

      It’s an instinctual choice really. Some factors influencing this is sun exposure, wind, and space. I had long rows last year and I wasted space planting this way and the long rows felt overwhelming. Also, could not control the weeds, with shorter rows I feel I have better control over the weeds, we will see….This year, I want smaller rows, easier to access. It already feels like a good decision.Truth be known, I don’t like planting in straight lines at all. Nothing in nature grows in a straight line. Our peas are being planting on a curve, it’s lovely! Stay posted for results!

  3. Joe Hernandez says:

    Best of luck. Here in upstate New York just seeded greens and beets in hot bed. Recent temp inside was in the 80’s. Today we might hit 55. Can’t complain about our “Virginia” winter so far this year. Move from 1/8 acre to 10 acres in June. Chickens next year for sure.

  4. Ewetoo says:

    I’m chomping at the bit too. Still too early to start in Maryland – though I think I’ll put the potatoes in this weekend – it’s just too beautiful not too!

  5. J.P. Mathews says:

    I won’t go there about rows or not that is your choice, particularly if you are doing hand weeding. I use wheel-hoes so straight rows are essential. My question about N/S has mainly to do with plant management, plants that produce runners, cucx, melons, etc. runners generally tend to follow the sun so E to W is preferable to keep the path ways more clear. You also appear somewhat closed to any outside horticultural input so I will offer up no more. Just thought 33 yrs of experience would be helpful. I remain.

  6. Sabine says:

    I came across this interview, discussing farmers, seeds, sustainability and corporate pantents, etc, and immediately thought of you guys: