Horn Farm Happenings – February 28, 2020

We’ve been building some low-tech, low-cost systems to address the erosion issues on the farm. If you’ve been following along on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve already seen how we are mimicking some of the animals who used to live here–such as the beaver, by building beaver dam analogues such as these. This lean to design we developed takes advantage of the physics of a triangle. The more sediment that gets trapped, the stronger the dam becomes. The dam doesn’t block the flow of water, so we do not have issues with bank erosion. Instead the water slows as it passes through and sediment is deposited. We are often cutting ailanthus and using it for the logs in these structures.

beaver dam analogue

Like a lot of you, we are managing lots of water these days. This spot is where the fields on both sides of the road and the road itself drain. We are preventing further erosion by bolstering this hillside on the edge of the woods with an extended Zuni bowl, low rock dams, and cross contour swales and logs. Next we will plant this area with quick growing species like willow and dogwood whose roots will weave it all together. extended zuni bowl

Next, we will be addressing this eroded area. The farm fields adjoining these woods were graded so that water drained away from the fields so that large equipment could access the fields more easily. Unfortunately, that drainage pattern created this pattern on our farm and many others. What is hard to believe is that this erosion all happened in the past two years. During our whole farm assessment that we did in 2018 as part of the development of our land use management plan, this eight-foot gully was not even one foot deep. The increase in the frequency and intensity of rain events has led to faster and faster ecological damage. This is how our soil gets relocated to the Susquehanna River and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay. Not only do we lose our soil and damage downstream waterways, but this soil erosion lowers the water table eventually making water unavailable to the plants in these spaces.

erosion due to agricultural swales

We have already begun the repair work in this space. If you’re interested in this type of work, consider contacting us about volunteering, or, if you’re interested in an in-depth exploration of the what, why, and how of restoring damaged ecosystems, consider the Woodland Steward Training.

Learn to transform degraded woodlands into healthy, biodiverse, productive habitats through hands-on, ecologically sound techniques. This part-time program is equally suited for the professional and the layperson, for landowners and land stewards, activists, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. No previous experience required. Next session begins April 27.

As promised, we are offering you the chance to pre-order your seedlings in March for pick up at the Heirloom Plant Sale on May 2. seedlings ready for the heirloom plant sale

Upcoming events:
February 29 – Native Plants for Winter Interest and Wildlife
March 1 to 31 – Plant Sale Pre-Sales
March 2 – 2020 Regenerative Farming Training Program
March 7 – The Living Landscape
March 14 – Green Mulch: Native Plants as Groundcovers
March 21 – Home Vinegar Making
March 28 – Stormwater Management 101 for Homeowners
March 28 – Foraging Intensive
March 28 – WIldlands – Primitive Skills: The Art of Seeing and the Art of Observation
April 1 – Community Gardens open (weather permitting)
April 4 – Exploring the Inner Landscape
April 11 – Community Gardens Orientation Day
April 11 – Wildlands – Primitive Skills: Shelter Building and Finding Water
April 25 – Wildlands – Primitive Skills: The Ancient Art of Fire by Friction
April 27 – Woodland Steward Training Program
May 2 – 2020 Heirloom Plant Sale
May 9 – MAEscapes Native Plant Sale
May 9 – Wildlands – Primitive Skills: Foraging, Hunting, Trapping
May 23 – Wildlands – Primitive Skills: Advanced Primitive Hunting Techniques
May 24 – Children’s Nature Exploration
June 2 – Horn Farm CSA
June 7 –  Children’s What’s Your Impact
June 14 – Children’s Healing Plants
June 28 – Children’s Seed to Table

Custom Classes & Workshops

See you at the farm!