The Greene County Farm Forum members and guests will be visiting a unique Beavercreek Twp. farm that produces fruits and vegetables year round without using soil.
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Oasis Aqua Farm utilizes the aquaponics method to grow food inside a heated greenhouse on the farm, which is home to sheep, chickens as well as Kimball Osborne, his wife Stephanie and their children.
“It’s a little bit different than hydroponics and a little bit different than normal farming. We use fish,” Kimball said. “Most everything grows in water … The fish provide the fertilizer, the plants pull all of that out of the water. It’s a closed recirculating aquaponics system.”
Perch and bluegill are kept in aerated tanks and that water is circulated through the plant beds and back to the tanks, according to Osborne, a U.S. Air Force veteran who works as a civilian cost analyst at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
“It’s becoming more widespread but it’s not really caught on everywhere yet,” he said.
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Osborne said he and his wife moved from Clayton and bought the 19th century farm in 2016. They planted their first seeds in January 2017.
The farm grows a lot of leafy green vegetables, including romaine and mixed lettuces and kale, as well as various herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers. Farm fresh eggs are also available.
“We know that there’s traditional farming, then there’s organic farming. We wanted to kind of take a step above that. We aren’t organic certified, but I wanted to move above organic farming so I don’t use any pesticides, I don’t use any herbicides. I try not to do anything but what I absolutely have to do,” he said.
Instead of pesticides, Osborne said he uses bugs to combat the bad bugs. He said he recently let loose 9,000 lady bugs in the greenhouse to fight the aphids, which can devestate a vegetable garden.
The farm is open from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Customers can also visit the farm’s website, place an order and pick up their fresh produce the next day. Because the produce is grown inside a heated greenhouse, the fresh fare is available year round.
“When it’s 20-below out, we will still open the doors on Saturday and people can buy their fresh produce,” Osborne said.
The farm group is scheduled to tour Oasis, 2450 Beaver Valley Road, at 6 p.m. Monday before the forum’s business meeting, which will be held at the Golden Corral, 2490 Commons Blvd.
For more information about the Greene County Farm Forum, contact President Paul Ayres at (937) 352-6379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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