Below is an account of Rob Freeman '95's visit to the garden. Included in the end is some general advice from him about farming and/or buying local produce in your area. He also recommends some readings and places for further research. This dryer drum method of his was recently featured in NOFA's newsletter as well. It was a pleasure to have him come visit and bring valuable advice about farming in this area as well as some delicious and nutritious horse manure!
On June 21st, 2008, Rob Freeman CC '95 who is now an organic farmer in Plainfield, Connecticut, brought a truckload of horse manure and a dryer drum to the garden.
Rob showed me his "dryer drum" method of making raised beds. A dryer drum is a bottomless barrel salvaged from dead clothes dryers. It is a method for doing French double digging in a
more efficient way. It was also partially inspired by the old Thanksgiving
story about Squanto teaching the Mayflower Pilgrims how to grow corn, squash and beans in the mounds with the fish buried in the mound. It begins with digging a hole that approximately the diameter of the dryer drum, only about 3 to 6 inches below the ground. Shovel the dirt into a wheelbarrow or into a pile next to the hole. Put the dryer drum in the hole, and refill the drum with a mixture of the native soil and horse manure, or whatever soil amendments you may have. Then stand on the filled dryer drum to pack it down, as Rob is doing here:
Then pull the dryer drum off:
At this point you have a mound. You smooth out the mound, and you can make a water trapping "bowl" if you like:
And then you have a very nice planting mound. Here I am planting kohlrabi seeds that Rob brought.