Ghost Star Farm

Ghost Star Farm

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Tre Ginzo Vino
Tre Ginzo Vino

Weaving the old ways into the new. Repairing land and inviting community through small-scale regenerative farming and garden education in southeast Austin.

11/16/2022

In my next life, I want to be an earthworm 🪱

08/26/2022

Happy National Dog Day!

Meet Chuck (she's a girl), head of security around here at Ghost Star. She's a weirdo so she fits right in 🙃

08/16/2022

Here's my lettuce seed mix, saved from 3 varieties that stood up well to the heat and dry earlier this spring. I wasn't really particular about saving the varieties separately this time around; we'll see how they do planted as a combo. These are Amish Speckled Butterhead, Green Oakleaf, and Key Lime butterhead, originally ordered from Sow True Seed. Looking forward to growing them out again this fall!

08/16/2022

Great post from Joanna's Farm on the importance of seed saving and garden resilience! We live in a world where the certainty of our food, and even our ability to grow it, is more and more often in flux. Many of us have a lot of experience with vegetable and fruits in the forms that we consume, but fewer of us know what it looks like to allow a plant to fully ripen for seed. It's a missing link in the circle of growth.

Maybe this winter/next spring would be a good time to offer a seed saving workshop. What do you think? Do you have experience saving seeds?

Last weekend I noticed that the entire seed section at my local HomeDepot was gone.

Only a huge empty space remained where just recently, racks of melon, lettuce, and every other seed you can imagine stood.

Perhaps they moved it, I thought. I’ll ask an associate.

“Excuse me, could you point me to the seed section?”

“The seed section? We got rid of that last week.”

“Oh? Why is that?”

“Well, planting season is over. We don’t need seeds anymore.”

“But this is Texas. Planting season is just starting. Now that the brutal summer is almost over, Fall is coming and it will finally be cool enough to plant lettuce, mustard, radishes. Shouldn’t the cool season seeds at least be out?”

“You might want to try Lowes or Tractor Supply?”

I nodded and walked away. I couldn’t remember if HomeDepot always took away the seed section at this time of the year or if this was something new.

This year, though, a bulk of the world’s food supply has been taken offline due to Russia’s war on Ukraine. This has sparked soaring food prices and shortages of fertilizer in top growing areas worldwide; an early indication of a potential global food crisis, especially if we don’t work towards growing more of our own food and becoming a bit more self-sufficient.

After getting home, I ordered my seeds online from Seed Savers Exchange. While they were sold out of several varieties, I was still able to get a few basic seeds.

The HomeDepot incident was a gentle reminder that seeds might not always be available at stores.

We need to become responsible for our own seed saving.

We need to build seed banks within our local neighborhoods and communities.

We need to support nonprofits, like Seed Savers Exchange, which preserve heirloom and open pollination seed varieties not controlled by Big Ag.

We cannot continue to allow big corporations to control our seed and food supply.

One day they might decide to take it all away and if we aren’t prepared, what will we do?

Sources:
https://fortune.com/2022/05/13/world-food-shortages-united-nations-grain-cereal-ukraine-exports/

https://www.seedsavers.org/

08/04/2022

Love this from Randy Johnson. I listened to a great talk from him last weekend about how lawns are disastrous for the local ecology and waterways. "The lawn is a monoculture of death." Consider planting natives this fall!

Photos from Ghost Star Farm's post 08/04/2022

Look at this wheel bug making lunch out of a harlequin beetle!

08/02/2022

One of my favorite things to see are public parks and byways left to grow native weeds and wildflowers. This is from a few months ago in Richard Moya park, where long swaths of field were left unmown for weeks while these flowers bloomed and set seed. These are Callirhoe Bushii, or Bush's Poppy Mallow, (more commonly found in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma) growing next to Gaillardia Pulchella.

Photos from Ghost Star Farm's post 07/30/2022

Yesterday I shared about the ways we’re working toward better water resilience. The journey does not always look perfect! This is a real-time picture of the garden. It’s dry. It’s overgrown. It’s totally in a hot weather holding pattern, waiting for water.

That doesn’t mean it has completely failed!

Check out these epic swiss chard roots. They’re helping break up deep compaction, and I’ve been totally surprised by how well these typically early-season greens have held up under duress.

Same goes for the arugula - when the heat picked up, these plants got decimated by harlequin bugs, so I cut them to the ground, only to find the roots were happy to re-sprout with the next rain. They’re still alive down there, somewhere. Wouldn’t it be cool to have drought-resistant, semi-perennial arugula?!

The tomatoes are looking rough but hanging on for dear life, and if they go back to fruiting at some point, those seeds will be worth saving because I know they carry super drought-hardy genetics.

There’s just one green comfrey top left, but I know the roots are dormant below ground, creating a home for soil biology, ready to sprout as soon as there’s more water.

Rather than fighting the elements, we’re striving to flow with them. It’s an extreme year, so we’re experimenting with extremes. Everything is an opportunity to learn!

Photos from Ghost Star Farm's post 07/29/2022

Y'all, it is hot. It has been a dry, windy, hot season, and everyone is feeling it. I have been seeing and hearing so much frustration and disappointment around the difficulties of this year's weather, so I wanted to share how we're dealing.

In farming we often talk about our “limiting factor,” the elements of our gardens that are most difficult to acquire, manage, or work around. For many of us in Texas (and all of us in a hotter, drier world), a main limiting factor is water. Being part of a community means being conscious of the resources we all share. How can we better utilize water for success?

One of the best ways to manage water is to not need so much of it in the first place. That’s why we’re focusing on building our soil’s water holding capacity and infiltration ability. Increased organic matter; soil cover in the form of mulch and living (or mostly living) plants; and deep-rooted varieties all contribute to better soil structure and water-holding capacity.

We're working on a more robust irrigation system, one that ideally relies on rainwater catchment and not solely city water from the hose. Our big focus is soil health, which includes a vast array of microbiology. I'm not too interested in using large quantities of treated water in our soils...not least because of the cost and limited availability.

Finally, sometimes the best management technique is patience. This too shall pass; we’re waiting on cooler, wetter weather to renew the garden, and trusting in the wisdom of the roots and soil to carry our plants through until then.

Good luck out there :)

pictured: our current irrigation system, back when I first set it up in early spring. It's a 375 gal. IBC tote hooked up to drip irrigation hoses that are gravity fed by the pressure of a full tank. After filling the tank with a hose 2-3 times, I decided it wasn't sustainable to continue that way, and the beds have gone unwatered since then.

07/28/2022

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07/28/2022

CALL FOR MATERIALS:

Hey community! We're gearing up to start our fall seedlings, and around here we love to reuse and recycle. If you have any of the following materials and want to donate them to the farm, send us a message! We can even arrange pickup if you're close by.

What we're looking for:

-Paper towel/toilet paper roll tubes
-Quart-sized yogurt or takeout containers (with or without lids!)
-Garden pots of any size
-Plug trays, cell trays, flats, etc.
-Any other sturdy plastic segmented item. Have something unique? Send over a picture and we'll see if we can use it!
-We're always looking for LARGE cardboard, preferably without too much tape, stickers, or printing.

Thanks y'all!

Photos from Ghost Star Farm's post 07/26/2022

Some progress shots of the farm. We purchased the property in summer of 2020, and it was mostly bermuda grass and rocks. I started building beds that fall and continued adding and amending with various materials (mostly free!) to build soil in place.

This has been a tough year but I have big plans for further expansion as soon as the heat breaks and the ground softens up with some rain.

Photos from Ghost Star Farm's post 07/25/2022

How it started...how it's going.

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Maha Loop Road
Austin, TX
78719

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