Graystem is a small farm nestled in the Eastern Piedmont of Central Virginia between the James and Appomattox Rivers.  The farm's name comes from the graystem dogwoods growing along a spring-fed stream that marks our eastern boundary. 

At Graystem Farm we raise uncommon breeds of poultry in addition to growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and cottage garden flowers for the table.  Honeybees provide pollination services and honey from a unique blend of blossoms.  In 2016 we will be planting our first blocks of Petit Manseng and Cabernet Franc.

   We believe agriculture can work in harmony with nature if done correctly.  Instead of tilling each year and adding manufactured fertilizer blends, we maintain soil fertility with rotations of green manure cover crops such as buckwheat, cereal rye, hairy vetch, winter peas, oats, wheat, fava beans and a variety of clovers.  In addition to keeping the earth healthy by feeding the soils and beneficials, this method significantly reduces weed populations and erosion.

   Our crop rotation plan also includes a fallow bed for vegetative composting and we dress the perennial vegetable & herb beds with well-aged mixed compost from a tumbler.  When and if the soil needs amending, we use only those supplements that are closest to their natural form: greensand for potassium (K), rock phosphate and wood ash for phosphorous (P) and blood meal for nitrogen (N).  Limestone helps to sweeten our acidic Virginia clay with calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg).  Using green manure cover crops and non-synthetic supplements prevents the buildup of residual salts found in manufactured fertilizers, which in turn saves the beneficial micro-organisms and groundwater from decline.

To make the most use of available space, we grow vertically when possible.  This practice has the added benefits of keeping the fruits of the vines from direct contact with potential soil borne pathogens, provides better air circulation and additional sun ripening exposure.

Because we maintain honeybees, eat what we grow and drink the water from our well, we follow organic protocols and purchase organic seeds whenever possible; however, we are not a certified organic farm.

Black Eye Susans

Buckwheat(foreground) and Corn
Chickens in the Weeds
Post Office Box 887
   Powhatan, Virginia 23139