Growing Practices: We are Certified Organic by QCS. We maintain good fertility with cover crops (oats, radish, red and crimson clover, rye, vetch, cowpeas, sorghum-sudan) and waste from the Twin Oaks tofu business (okara). We rely on hoeing, wheel hoeing, hand weeding, and a Farmall Super C cultivating tractor to control weeds. We are implementing various reduced tillage strategies including knock-down rye/vetch and intercropping with clover.
Selection: We have grown a lot of varieties since we started this work, and with our trials projects that number is growing fast. We have clearly seen that variety and seedstock choice makes a dramatic difference in the success or failure of crops. We want to be on the front lines of identifying the varieties that work well for Virginia and the surrounding region. We want to put our energy into producing seed for these varieties, and into selection for even better regional adaptation, productivity, taste, disease resistance and appearance. This is possible because we work with open-pollinated varieties. With hybrids what you get is what you get, but OPs can be adapted and improved. They can also deteriorate quickly without proper attention, thought and observation.
Some of our favorite varieties, most of which we have been growing and selecting for several years: Suyo Long cucumber, Ashley cucumber, Tennessee Red Cob corn, Edisto 47 melon, Early Moonbeam watermelon, Golden Bush Scallop, Burpee’s Butterbush, Seminole Pumpkin, Striped Green Cushaw, Amish Moon and Stars watermelon, Carolina Wonder pepper, Barnes Mountain Orange tomato, Cherokee Purple tomato, Shronces Deep Black peanut. Our seeds of these varieties are available through Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Also Crown Pumpkin and Japanese Pie Pumpkin through Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Breeding: We are working on development of Downy Mildew resistant butternut squash, melons, cucumbers, summer squash and more! And Vine Borer resistant summer squash.
Living Energy Farm is Twin Oaks’ new sister community in Louisa County. They have a seed growing business too, and we tend to work closely together.