What are we farming?
A little bit of background:
Amare is not a farm in the traditional sense of large scale commercial farming, but a fumbling attempt at sustainability. We are completely off grid and use only solar powar, and in the process of healing our poor soil to grow produce.
I am a huge animal lover. I started out on my farm journey with raising our own animals for meat and dairy, but eventually reached a place where I could no longer participate in that process. All animals at Amare will die of old age.
We currently have two cows....siblings Snowbelle and Ferdinand. The cow manure is collected and put into worm baths for making vermicompost. All in all, the cows are the center of the sustainable farm universe.
We have 2 delightful mini-pigs named Captain Pugwash and Pumba. They live in a mobile piggy camp that performs a crucial role of soil preparation in my vegetable garden. They are fed on all our household scaps, kitchen scraps from my children's school and food waste from visitors to the farm.
Our chickens move around the vegetable garden in mobile cages. They move onto patches of garden that have just been harvested. They then feed on the remaining greens, bugs and pests, scratch the earth aerating and fertilizing it with their manure. All clippings of herbs and nearby vegetation are also tossed into their cages for them to process into mulch. This process prepares the soil for the next veg planting.
Our horses: Sherwood and Charlie are the only 2 animals on the farm that serve no purpose other than pleasure. Sherwood knows the surrounding hills like the back of his hoof, and Charlie is a retired circus pony with a bad back, but is the equine version of a dog and can be cuddled, kissed and fiddled with by all who visit the farm. He has the bluest eyes and the mere sight of him makes me smile.
Two little black cats called Schnitzel and Nanzi (Don't let your kids name their pets)
Last but not least are our dogs: Bowie is the K9 guest liaison officer and generally races down to the cottage to meet whoever arrives and assist them with disposing of any random bones you may need to be rid of. Little Holly is my daughters first love and Spencer is the Scruffy little man who's purpose we are unsure of.
What we are growing:
Tagasastes trees have been planted for animal fodder. Their common name is tree lucerne. This is a water wise way of growing dry feed for cattle. The chickens also really enjoy having branches tossed into their cages for them to feed on. We are striving to become completely self reliant with regards to animal feeds.
We are planting up a rather large permaculture vegetable garden. This incorporates the tagastes trees, herbs, a few fruit trees as well as many flowering plants as hedging and edge planting. This system of growing vegetables improves the soil, is very water-wise and completely free of any kind of pesticide, herbicide or unnatural fertilizer. The chickens are an integral part of this process. The vegetable garden will serve to feed our family and animals as well as provide opportunity to sell excess vegetables to our farm guests.
Specific fruit trees have been planted that can cope with our unique conditions. Guava's, Quince, Figs, Lemons, Macadamia's are all planted in conjunction with leguminous nitrogen fixing trees like Carob, Fountainbush.
The rest of our gardens are fynbos. That is what grows here naturally. Fynbos is water-wise, creates habitat for birds and butterflies and other species endemic to the area and is in keeping with leaving as much of our landscape as unspoiled as possible.