Slowly Gaining Speed

12 03 2009

I went to another monthly meeting of the League of Women Farmers the other night. This is such an inspiring group; I love when we do farm tours. We went to Whistling Duck Farm, which is one of the longest running, most successful farms around here. Mary and Vince have been hard at work doing what they do since 1992! We wandered through their fields and Mary told us about how they do their cover crops, (which is definitely something we could use some pointers with) and looking down their 500-600 foot rows it dawned on me that we can do this.

In one of the classes I have been in recently, someone said, “It’s not rocket science. It’s just growing vegetables.” Everyone laughed, of course, but this is one of the main reasons I am out here doing this; I had the same thought in Chicago. “It’s not rocket science. How hard can it be?” Then I got out here and found out about water rights and farm insurance and succession planting and the cost of seed and irrigation line and fencing and how hard it is to do what we do without a tractor. There are a lot of impediments involved in the just growing vegetables part, so it is easy to get lost in everything else.

But this time of year is great because all we have to do is start seeds and watch them grow. There are row after row of soil blocks in the greenhouse with little sprouts coming up out of them. It is so awesome to see. We don’t have quite as many as Whistling Duck, but they also have quite a few more acres than we do.

Our neighbor who has an awesome tractor came over and turned over the rest of the field for us to start using for vegetable production and for planting forage for our chickens. Chad planted crimson clover into it to get a head start on all the newly uncovered weed seeds that will germinate quickly.

We moved all of the chickens from the backyard coop to the field coop. This was part of the master plan, but we had to hurry it along because one of the chickens escaped (we aren’t sure how) and the puppies killed it. So rather than let them get used to killing chickens, and us losing all our current layers, we relocated them to the field house. Now we just need to get another CSA membership or two to pay for the portable electric fencing we want to use to pasture them effectively.

Speaking of our lack of CSA memberships, we would like some opinions. Why do you think people aren’t signing up so far this year? It is not just us; a couple of the other women farmers and I were talking about it Tuesday. There is a general shortage of CSA customers across the board. Yes, yes. The economy sucks. But this is food, not designer handbags, as my mom said. What is holding people back from buying into the farms so far this year? Or do we all just need to chill and give people some time?

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3 responses

13 03 2009
Jade

Just started reading your blog . . . enjoying it.

My husband and I are trying to do similar things, but on a smaller scale.

I think the CSA issue is about the economy. I read on a forum that someone was about to lose a CSA member until they offered to let them keep the share in exchange for labor. . . . Might be something worth considering.

13 03 2009
Uthor

Frankly, I’d rather do rocket science than grow vegetables. I at least understand rockets.

15 03 2009
Shelley

Hi Gabe,

I mentiond this to Chad as an idea; how about an insentive to those who sign up early? For Example, $30 off if you pay in Feb, $20 in March, &10 in April.

Hugs,
Shelley

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