The Christopher Farm and Gardens is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment and sustaining the area’s farmland and rich agricultural heritage. While areas of the botanical garden itself are continually being designed, much of the surrounding land remains minimally impacted or untouched, either kept as crop land or allowed to remain in its natural state.
Christopher Farm Cropland:
Nearly 300 acres of the Farm are kept in cropping. Fields are rotated annually with a mix of wheat, corn, soybeans, and sorghum. This allows us to continue to be a traditionally operational farm while providing land to local farmers.
Our commitment to ecological land management and preservation extends beyond the formal Gardens to include nearly 200 acres of natural areas consisting of meadows, forests, farm land, lakeshore ravines, beaches and wetlands. We work to remove invasive species and restore natural habitat such as our current efforts to remove destructive phragmites from our wetland habitats. Recently several acres of outlaying abandoned field are being converted to pollinator habitat and we are also taking steps to remove refuse from abandoned dump sites.
We fill a 20’ x 20’ x 8’ composting bin which is approximately 100 cubic yards, over 3 times during our seasonal growing months. Compost is transferred from the bin to our farmland acreage for decomposing. We turn over the compost and once fully decomposed we use the rich soil in our planting beds.
Conserving the earth’s most valuable resource is of the utmost concern to us. Using drip irrigation systems and water-management approaches, our staff strikes a delicate balance between nature and man. Drip irrigation in our raised bed gardens decreases the evaporation rate and rain run-off water is channeled into our detention pond for future irrigation purposes. Rain water from our Landscape Barn is captured in an underground tank that is specifically used to water plants in our raised bed Heritage Garden.