Why do you grow in containers?
We grow in containers for multiple reasons. First off, it means that we can control the soil that each plant gets and ensure that they have the appropriate soil type. Some plants grow better in acidic soils, while others grow best in more alkaline soils. Some grow better in sand, while others grow better in peat moss or mulch. Container growing also means that we can prevent weeds from spreading from the surrounding landscape into the surrounding soil to compete with the plants for nutrients. And thirdly, we don't have to till and constantly amend the soil or Georgia clay to get it to where we want it. We can start with exactly what the plants need and keep them healthy and happy.
What kind of containers do you use outdoors?
We primarily use two types of containers. For our outdoor operations, we use fabric pots where we can. We've tried a variety of different types of these, but have decided for the long term to go with Smart Pots. Smart Pots are BPA free and are made in the USA. While some of the other fabric pots we've purchased seem to be of a comparable quality and would save us money, we decided that the guarantee of BPA free, shorter shipping distance, and supporting American jobs was more important than trying to save a little money per container by buying imported products. For some of our outdoor pots, we have sourced BPA free plastic nursery pots (also made in the USA), which run about 25% of the cost of the Smart Pots, at least for now to help keep our costs low. We'd like to move to all Smart Pots as the farm grows!
What types of containers do you use indoors?
For our indoor hydroponics operations, we decided to use glass jars using the kratky method. Glass is known for not leaching chemicals into its contents. While this does mean that it might take a little more effort to grow using the kratky method compared to some of the other hydroponic methods, we felt it was the healthiest and safest option. For a few of our other indoor plants, we use the same type of fabric Smart Pots that we use outdoors. We also have a few compostable pots made from natural materials that we use for some of our indoor seed starting operations.
How did you choose the name Fig Leaf Farm?
No, we don't wear fig leaves! We're still operating out of a smaller property for the time being, so our neighbors probably wouldn't approve. While we do have a bit of a hippie vibe, and can get away with less than fig leaves indoors, we still at least don the shorts when we go outside. We chose the name fig leaf farm because it lends to the minimalist idea that you don't need to use pesticides, herbicides, and all sorts of synthetic fertilizers to grow things. We love nature and try to intervene as little as possible in the plants' growth. When planting in containers, we don't see nearly as many weeds or pests, and it's not as likely for diseases and pests to spread from plant to plant from our experience.
Where do you sell?
As I write this, we're still in the beginning stages and haven't gotten to the point of selling quite yet. When we do start selling, we'll be selling online, at farmers markets, and setting up pickup times at a local business in Carrollton that's convenient to get in and out of. We're looking forward to growing into a larger property where we can eventually offer on-farm sales and a pick your own operation. Every purchase you make from us helps us to reach that goal!