La Fontaine has eight acres of land of which currently five acres are grassland (pasture for horses) and about one hectare for vegetables, fruits and grains. The acreage could be expanded up to two acres more. The altitude of the land is at 750 meters.
The rural farm life and yogic community (Sangat) are one. We live consciously and form a mutual enrichment for each other. We strive for a balance between practical work and being on a spiritual path.
In the field the vegetable crops consist of potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, leeks, pumpkins, zucchini, beans and tomatoes. We also grow winter wheat, rye, and einkorn for our bread production .The versatility of the crop is important for the fertility of the land.
In the two green houses we grow spinach, corn salad, lettuce, chard, fennel, in 10 different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, basil and melons, and various herbs and medicinal plants. We grow the plants from seedlings ourselves, the two greenhouses, (each 200 m2) allowing us year-round harvest.
In the orchards, we manage some apple, pear, cherry, apricot and plum trees. We also grow raspberries, red and black currants and blackberries which provide the basis for the manufacture of our own jams.
In the winter we cooperate with the forestry companies in the surrounding forests. We cut firewood and we move the logs with our horses.
Our aim at La Fontaine is to be as self sufficient as possible.
Some of our garden products are sold on a local weekly market. This connects us with the people of our region.
We also contribute to the supply of food for the Yoga Festival in France and the Sikh Dharma meetings in Germany.
Working with the Soil / Mound cultivation / Horse work
All outdoor crops are grown in mounds with a working width of 70 cm. By this the fertility, structure and warmth of the soil is augmented. The surface becomes larger and the ground area for root growth deepens. Mound cultivation help us to make weeding more manageable and to take better care of the crops. We do this with the right equipment and the help of horse power.The feature of agricultural work based on horse work instead of machines work is that the machines compacts the soil much more. The tools used on the land are mainly modern equipment from Prommata, some traditional and self-constructed tools are used.
The earthworms are the true cultivators of the soil and are considered as an indicator of the soil fertility. We work the heavy clay earth with our horses so just the top soil is turned. The aim is to create favorable conditions for soil life.
Working with horses is not only ecological, it also makes no noise. It fosters the direct exchange and contact between human and animal, as well as among us humans and in addition it also has a therapeutic effect.
Soil fertility / fertilizer / crop rotation
We try to maintain and build up the fertility with manure from goats from the farmer nearby. We also grow large quantities of green manure, with different legume blends. Our fields are protected in winter by cover crop.
The combination of animal manure, green manure, biodynamic preparations and our loving human presence creates the fertilizing compost building the foundation for sustainable agriculture in La Fontaine.