“Our interest in having a small farmstead started several years ago when we began to feel a huge disconnect between what we were eating and where it came from,” says Clark Green. Green runs the 5.3 acre Green Haven Farmstead in Marysville, Ohio, alongside his wife, Carrie.
Successfully established, Green Haven Farmstead now hosts a troop of animals that includes seven chickens, a couple of goats, and some resident canines and felines. Recent garden hauls include bountiful carrots, tomatoes and raised bed squashes.
We spoke to Clark Green about the usefulness of raised beds and the joy of goats. We also touched on the Hügelkultur method.
From Florida to the Farmstead
When the Greens moved to Florida for three and a half years for work reasons, they discovered that is was “a struggle to find quality local sources for meat, eggs and other produce.” So after moving back to Ohio a couple of years ago, they pledged to “start growing and raising some of our own food.”
“We started with chickens for eggs then added our garden,” says Green.
The Science of Raised Beds
“Our soil here in Central Ohio is full of clay, and we didn’t want to wait another year to have it amended and ready to plant,” explains Green when asked why raised beds have become a key feature of the farmstead. “The biggest concern we had with raised beds was the initial cost. We wanted to use non-treated wood, but dimensional cedar was incredibly expensive. We opted for cedar fence pickets with cedar 2x4s for some structure.”
“To save some cost on soil and compost and to give a better long-term soil composition, we opted for the Hügelkultur method,” continues Green. “Even using the wood and other yard waste as a base, filling two 4×12 beds that are 2 feet high with organic soil and compost wasn’t cheap. I would suggest for anyone interested in raised beds that you spend time calculating your materials and costs ahead of time. It can add up quickly.”
Greeting the Goats
Five months ago, the Greens added some goats to the farmstead. “We purchased two Boer kid wethers from our close friends as a 4-H project for our daughter,” explains Green. “She named them Mocha and Latte.”
Originally, both goats were intended to be sold at the local county fair. “But our daughter instantly fell in love with Latte, the smaller of the two,” says Green. “He’s like a puppy dog trapped inside a goat’s body. Since it was obvious that he would be coming home from the fair with us, we made arrangements to purchase a young doe, Lily, from a 4-H friend.”
The Joy of Goats
“Goats have very unique personalities and bring us a lot of joy,” says Green, describing the impact of the resident ruminants on the farmstead.
“They’re relatively easy to take care of and they’ve helped our daughter gain a better understanding of animal stewardship. Neither my wife nor I grew up on a farm, so goats were a natural next step of animals to add to our farmstead.”
Connecting to Your Food Source
When it comes to the rewards of running a family farmstead, Green says that “being directly connected to your food source by growing or raising it is extremely rewarding.”
Additionally, Green explains that, as the family has embraced the farmstead, they’ve spent more time together outdoors. This, in turn, has “helped us teach our daughter about hard work and the importance of knowing where your food comes from.”
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