Getting Dirty with Ottawa Farm Fresh

We are passionate about growing amazing vegetables, but we are just as passionate about growing soil.


Yes, you read that right, growing soil!



The earth beneath our feet is so much more than dirt - it’s a whole world of organisms all working together in a symbiotic relationship that is fundamental to the functioning of our world. Every teaspoon of soil contains billions of bacteria, yards of fungus, and thousands of tiny creatures that are the foundation of life, and without which life as we know it would be impossible.


As farmers we are not trying to dominate the natural world, but to work with it in a reciprocal relationship in which we all flourish - we feed the soil, and in return it feeds us.


What do we do to feed the soil and help to maintain the soil food web beneath our feet? There are three main features of our farming practice that are fundamental to this goal - high carbon soil inputs, diverse crop rotation and cover cropping, and low impact tillage.


  1. Feeding the soil high carbon inputs - Science is only just beginning to understand the importance of fungus for soil health, but what we do know is that it’s fundamental to the soil food web. Feeding the soil high carbon inputs, like wood chips, provides an all you can eat buffet for the various fungal life in the soil, cycling nutrients down and locking them in the soil in forms that will eventually help to feed our veggies. This takes time, but is a vital step in ensuring fertile soil without needing chemical fertiliser.

  2. Diverse crop rotation and cover cropping - In order to give the soil time to recover and break down all of that carbonaceous material we practice crop rotation and cover cropping, two practices that help the soil rejuvenate and regenerate. We’re here for a good time, but also a long time, so we invest the time and effort necessary to keep the soil in optimal condition for ecological health.

  3. Low impact tillage - What’s the point in investing the time and effort necessary to produce rich and vibrant soil if you’re just going to go and disturb it all by tilling? The strata of the soil isn’t an accident, it’s fundamental to its overall health so we work hard to disrupt it as little as possible. Rather than tilling fresh planting areas we use a two step process of tarping and sub-soiling, which helps to keep the soil structure intact, while also providing optimal conditions for vegetable growing.


Why do we do all of this? Because we are stewards of the earth and through cooperation we all benefit. When you support the Farm, you support the earth, and together we can all thrive.

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