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The Salad Garden is located on 30 acres of land off of Route Y, east of Ashland, Missouri. The property is approximately 15 acres of open space and 15 acres of woodland. The growing areas lie on two ridge tops separated by a wooded ravine that enters Fowler Creek at the west back end of the property. These growing areas run east/west and have a gradual fall off to Fowler Creek. This season, the farm is utilizing 1.5 total acres of one ridge top for vegetable production, with plans to expand in the coming seasons.
Nestled between the two ridge tops is a ¼ acre pond, constructed in 1973. The pond averages approximately 7 feet in depth, with 10 feet depth in the middle. In 2006, a solar-powered irrigation system was installed and the pond is now our primary source of irrigation to our growing fields.
During the late 1800's to the first half of the 1900's, the land was mistreated by various agricultural operations and as a result, vital top-soil has been lost on the slopes, resulting in a clay loam. Using a combination of managed cover-cropping, mulches, compost and organic minerals and nutrients, we are repairing the soil, constantly building organic matter and boosting it's fertility so it remains healthy for decades to come.
A historical log cabin, built between 1865-1895, sits north of the main growing fields and currently houses our two young farmers. An old artesian well sits underneath the back porch (constructed more recently). At 15 feet deep, this well once provided drinking water to the families living in the cabin, in addition to a natural spring that was used during the summer dry months.
The abundant wildlife found on the property include white-tailed deer, coyotes, raccoons, muskrats and foxes. Several species of birds can be seen and heard during the spring, like the Eastern Bluebird that nests in our bluebird houses or the Northern Flicker flashing his yellow wings. The pond itself is home to frogs and snapping turtles, with the occasional Coot stopping in for a swim.
This season, the land will also be home to some new guests. This spring, we will be adding a flock of laying hens, a handful of ducks and two pigs. In addition to providing eggs and meat, our chickens will add their nutrient-rich fertilizer to our finished fields and the pigs will help root and till up a new piece of ground to be used for vegetables next season. We welcome them as valued members of the farm!