Category Archives: Interns & Woofers

August 2013

carrot damageAn interesting development in the experiment beds… we are noticing a lot of damage from rust fly and wire worms in the tilled bed. Significantly more than the no-till bed. So it looks like our overall yields will be higher in the no-till bed. Its strange that tillage is often recommended as a pest control! Clearly in our case, tilling has disturbed a natural eco-system that would normally contain predators for these pests.

edie beansThe garden is looking abundant…¬† our wwoofer, Edie took these beautiful photos

edie brassicas edie cabbages edie carrots edie sunflower edie view 2 edie view edie zuc edieThanks Edie!

marketWe have tons of gorgeous produce for market… for our first time inside the new Brickworks building in town.

Summer Visitors

kid with carrotsWe had some extra help on our experiment carrot beds, from Camp Eagle Rock kids…

kids thinningwho helped us with some thinning… kids with carrotsbeekiteOur new wwoofer Lee, runs a Kite Collective project so we asked her to do a kite-making workshop for the kids. Linking in with the garden theme, she asked them to make ‘bees’….

making kiteskiteflying2 kiteflying1Thanks to all the Eagle Rock kids! Marcella, Spencer, Julian, Kevin, Brandon, Piper, Rhiannon, Diego, Lily, Maddy, Fallon, Charlotte, Tony, Casey, Tobi, Brandon. And Lily and Katie, their counselors.

June 2013

whidbey drawing

We stole a couple of days from the garden to travel across to Whidbey Island and then to Bainbridge Island to visit Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms. These community commons have a very interesting history starting in 1928 with the Suyematsu family.

farmmap2This land, now owned by Bainbridge City is really a patchwork of different small farming enterprises. The reason we wanted to visit is to see how they operate cooperatively.

view of farm2walkinggroupThis guided walk and talk was organized by Tilth Producers of Washington

view of farmwomanBetsey Wittick who runs Laughing Crow Farm explained how some of the collaborations work: the 6 farms formed a Guild to help them work cooperatively. They buy equipment together and share an irrigation system. Their shared farm stand enables them to work out who is growing what so that they are not competing with each other. They take turns to manage the farm stand and take a percentage of the sales. An shared internship program also allows interns to work with the range of different farmers and participate in a variety of practices.

drafthorsesFor example, Betsey is the only farmer here using draft horses for her vegetable crops.

white raspberryShe also grows beautiful raspberries!

guy talkingBrian MacWhorter of Butler Green Farms has much experience of working collaboratively since he lived in a commune in the 1970s. He said that although farmers have a tendency towards independence, the Guild forces them to work together. Its not always easy and difficulties can arise between personalities. But as long as everyone understands that co-operation is better for business, there is strength in numbers…

tomatoes in greenhouseWe would love to work more collaboratively with the small farms on San Juan Island – a multi farm CSA cooperative, group buying of fertilizer, and sharing equipment for example… The Greenhorns have published a great resource on Farming Cooperatively:¬†

pumpkin patchEduculture is another wonderful project at Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farms. Local schools have access to plots for children to grow and learn in the field.

planting tomatoesBack at our farm, new woofers Isaac and Sarah have been holding the fort. Getting the tomatoes planted and …

weeding carrots…weeding our first two experiment carrot beds. We concluded that the tilled bed had far more weeds than the no-till bed.

mikaela seedsWwoofer Mikaela took home some Kale seeds we saved to start her own one seed revolution…

Through Mikaela’s Lens….

One of our June wwoofers Mikaela not only proved herself to be a master harvester, bean planter and quack grass eliminator she also has a wonderful photographer’s eye… here is her blog post.


Washing and sink area…


The trusty Japanese hoe…


The lovely Amy…


The most beautiful Rainbow Chard…


Cute beans that were planted by yours truly….


Faux Honey Bee…




Cheeky Goats! (temporary guests at Talking Horse Farm)


Red Cabbages, Red Pac Choi, Green Cabbages, Green Pac Choi…

mikaela pizza

Beatin’ the sourdough…

gary oven

…for Gary the Pizza master and his cob oven!


Organic Sourdough (hand kneaded), farm-harvested arugula (that day), Amy’s secret sauce, organic local goat cheese, roasted garlic and red onions. Yum…!

April 2013

The new season has begun. Wish us Luck!

fourleafcloverIt’s Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday today. Poet, artist, visionary, educationalist¬† and sage. A huge inspiration to Good Earth. Peter Gill who has been Wwoofing with us left this quote in the visitors book last week:

When organised national selfishness, racial antipathy and commercial self-seeking begin to display their ugly deformities in all their nakedness, then comes the time for man to know that his salutation is not in political organization and extended trade relations, not in any mechanical rearrangement of social systems, but in a deeper transformation of life, in the liberation of consciousness in love, in the realization of god in man. Tagore

peter plantingContemplating this goes hand in hand with planting the first spring lettuces!

mum&calfThe nurturing of new life is what Spring is all about.

lambAnd the season’s creative energy and joy is expressed in the small animals that surround the garden at Talking Horse Farm…

baby tomatoes… and the small plants in the greenhouse.

covercrops viewThe garden is thick with cover crop.

covercrops rye in pathsA mix of vetches (purple, hairy & common) and clovers in the beds. (the one on the right also has garlic growing in it). Rye in the paths to suppress the quack grasses. Our beds are 3′ wide and paths 18″ to allow for maximum planting area in a small garden. These cover crops are providing bio-mass above and below the ground, nitrogen and other nutrients.

fava beansIn our SARE experiment beds the fava bean cover crop is almost ready to flower.

garyscytheThe cover crops are scythed multiple times…

japanese tool… and we using this small Japanese tool called a Seikobo (?) to get a closer shave.

transplantsincovercropsTransplants go directly into the cover crop residue…

braising greens…as we continue to harvest last year’s chard, kale and mustard flowers for a braising green mix, thanks to a mild winter.

September 2012

blackberry drawing

Its blackberry time…


… and time for our annual trip to the beach to gather seaweed from the shore for making a compost tea.

seaweed 1

Seaweeds are rich in nutrients that plants (and people) benefit from hugely.

seaweed sunset

Luckily, we are surrounded by the Puget Sound and her abundant offerings.


Abundant offerings in the garden too… its been a great year for our crops.

tomatoes in field

The long summer has been wonderful for the tomatoes.

tomato on vine

Beaverlodge Slicers, Black Prince, Brandywines, Persimmons.


Beans and leeks.

garden view3

Fall Brassicas.

garden view

Over wintering carrots and lemon balm.

farmers market

A bountiful harvest at San Juan Island Farmers Market.


market 3

Other buyers this season include San Juan Island Food Coop, Duck Soup Inn, Pablitos, Deb Nolan Catering, The Coho and Cafe Demeter. Thank you for your support!

kirsten and amy

Another huge thank you goes to our intern Kirsten, who leaves us at the end of September.

kirsten blackberries

She worked hard all season on scything, bed prep, planting, weeding and harvesting both cultivated and wild seasonal treasures…


May your future be fruitful and bright!

July 2012

Man is by nature gregarious. When many live as one, each one benefits by the combined strength of many. Rabindranath Tagore

people working in garden

A temporary community has formed here at Good Earth… Wwoofers from all walks of life and people volunteering in exchange for attending our up-coming workshop, have gathered to help at one of the busiest times… planting, bed prep, harvesting, weeding, helping out with the workshop and keeping us company…!


A big thank you to: Chris, Kirsten, Whitney, Callie, Lee, Morgan, Sam, RP, Brad, Kesley, Matt, Danielle, Brandon and Rachel for sharing all your varied talents and your willingness to develop new ones…

dill harvest 5

Co-operation between humans and respect for nature are co-dependent factors.