Onions in the Ground

2 04 2012

These is now about 1/7th of an acre planted in onions and garlic to be used by the restaurant this year. I finished planting on April 1. Hopefully we can get through all of them now that we have a larger processing space.
The cover crops of oats and peas are in the ground that will provide the amendments for the mangels, squash, and corn that will be planted, hopefully with a no till method.
Tomatoes got transplanted, but we are out of space inside the house under lights, so they are going to be risked outside in the lean-to greenhouse. It looks like there are going to be lows in 30s over the next couple days, so hopefully some of them survive.
Our bigger greenhouses are going up now and hopefully they will be ready for summer planting in by may. We will fill them up proper quick.


If it is still Thursday.

18 04 2010

This has been a pretty crazy week for farming. It began with my continuing demonstration as a terrible carpenter. I got one wall of the greenhouse up and covered with plastic. The other wall is made of straw bales. Laziness is only part of the reason I did this. The greenhouse needs to be opened up in mid summer anyway to let the wind pass through to cool it down. I can just deconstruct the straw bale wall when I need it to be cooler in the greenhouse. The straw is local and no-spray, and it will also be used as mulch over the course of the summer. I need to be adding as much organic material to the soil as possible anyway. This straw will be used as mulch to prevent water evaporation from the soil surface.

With one wood and plastic wall and another made of straw this greenhouse can finally hold some heat. For a little extra oomph I am putting a couple of heat sinks in the greenhouse to maintain temperature for better germination for all the summer crops. With the greenhouse all sealed up, it was time to plant hard. Ten styles of tomatoes went in, about 144 total starts. This will add to the 150 tomato starts started some 3 weeks ago. One of the tomatoes, Big Red Italian, I am growing for seed for Baker’s Creek Heirloom seeds. MarketMore 80 cucumbers, Peppers (sweet, spicy, and hot), heirloom Melons, Watermelons, Winter Squash (Marina Di Chiogga, Delicata, and Georgia Candy Roaster), Summer Squash, basil, summer savory, and lettuce of course.  Eggplants have been started indoors, and the primary variety is Millionaire.

Somewhere in between all the greenhouse action I was inspected for my organic certification from Tilth. This actually took place on Thursday afternoon.  It went well, I learned a little about the vagueness in the system, and because of said vagueness I would probably be issued a non-compliance.  The inspector told me I would just have to comply.  I would not lose my certification and it would not mark against me on the great big bureaucratic board.  The inspector actually told me that I was more organized than most.  Stunned and always feeling like I am wading in disorganization, I did a doubletake, said, “really?”, and thanked the man.  I must throw in a proper thank you to the Small Farms Extension at OSU.  If not for their countless classes, I would have never have been adequately prepared for my certification.

As I saw it, Friday looked like a fine day.  The whole weekend was shaping up. I gave a quick call to my new friend Michael.  He is a very nice man that we met at a Small Farms class,  a neighbor to the field that I am farming, and he is also the owner of a tractor.  A tractor is becoming a very important tool to have available.  Until I work hard enough to earn the money to buy my own tractor, I currently have to beg, barter, or work harder to be able to borrow someone’s equipment.  As it happened, Michael was home, he agreed to some work trade, some starts, and some wine, and then we got the tractor up and running.  Having this tractor at my disposal allowed me to turn the compost pile, move the drum fish fertilizer closer to the injector, and till.  I tilled about  1/2 acre that over the next week will be planted in kales, cabbages, broccoli, bok choy, carrots, onions, lettuce, raab, and potatoes.

While all this is being managed with systematic and strategic organization and forethought, I enjoy spending many a day making sure I get my allowance of chaos.  Watching two two year old does just the trick.  Oy Vey is an understatement.

Where the farm is as of today

April Acceleration

11 04 2010

This month seems almost over.  So much is happening at once.   All the fertilizer for the year has been purchased.  There is liquid fish, liquid kelp,  and pelleted chicken fertilizer.  I use some bone meal here and there, but these are going to be the primary amendments (besides mulches and compost) to the soil over the course of the growing season.  All the liquid fertilizer is going be used with a fertilizer injector.  It will be a whole new technique for me to learn; the dilution rates, and the ratios to use for the amount acreage under irrigation so I don’t burn through a years worth of fertilizer in a couple months.

Planting is the name of the game.  Soil mix is made for all the summer crops, direct seeding is going on every three weeks, and lettuce transplants are being planted every other week.  On Thursday turnips, beets, dill, lettuce, scallions, chard, radishes were all direct seeded. On the harvest side of things, lettuce will finally be ready for sale in about two weeks for the restaurant accounts.

The greenhouse is still a pain.  I really need to insulate it down to better germinate all the summer crops.  I have a couple big water storage containers to use as heat sinks in the greenhouse, and I am about to buy straw bales to use the end caps.

I did end up buying some no spray straw to use as mulch, as the weeds are strong, and I need to apply efforts to other things besides weeding daily.  The perennial crops all were mulched.  While I mulched the strawberries I discovered a multitude of gopher runs.  While I have been setting out, and checking traps regularly I have not caught a single varmint.  I am planting back-ups upon back-ups of crops just in case the gophers decide to molest my farm.  I just received some of those underground noise makers to deter them as well.  I will use every tool to rid myself of this problem.

Since restarting a small farm from the ground up the field still doesn’t look like much as of now.  But below, and just above soil level there is tons going on.  Things are growing, and the rain mixed with hot sunny days of spring in Southern Oregon is helping the plants along.  About a half of an acre, everything that is tilled, has been planted with much more on the way.  Next week will hopefully involve more tilling, as transplants need to go in the ground.  Here are some pictures of the field as of today.

The goat is not mine.

New Brochure Out

8 02 2010

Second week of February, and we finally got the brochure done. It is going to the press tomorrow morning, but it has already been posted on the website. Thanks a ton to Greg who made it all happen.
I have made orders for pelleted chicken fertilizer, and at some time I will be going down to Crescent City to get a 55 gallon drum of liquid fish fertilizer. There is already an fertilizer injector set up on the pump so I apply the diluted fish fertilizer that way. The drum should last me the whole year.
It always seems that they most difficult thing for me is seed starting at the beginning of the year. Obtaining optimal temperatures to germinate my brassicas and onions in a reasonable time has always an obstacle. I just need a solid seed starting facility that can hold temp, and be well ventilated. But I don’t.

Post May Day

2 05 2009

We have two more CSA members bringing the grand total now to six.
We made our first sale of the year besides subscriptions. Summer Jo’s bought some broccoli raab.
The greenhouse, after a year is in full operation. It is glorious.
We planted then it rained. Mother nature has finally backed us up. It is green like freakin Ireland with clover to boot.
Why do We love farming? Dogs running around with machetes
The flower pictured here is butterfly weed. It smells great and attracts butterflies too

Mid April

23 04 2009

The greenhouse is overflowing all over the property. Still I seems like there is not enough plants. The eggplants and peppers germinated almost as poorly as the cauliflower. We need to take another recount to see if we have enough of these plants to fill the allotted space.
We have room for more peppers and eggplants than last year. There is 130 row ft set aside for both of them. We better fill those rows so our members a good amount of each.
Speaking of members, we are no where close to filling up the 20 openings we have available this year. We really wanted the CSA to be primary source financing farm operations. We believe that it is the best way to interact with our customers, and provide farm fresh food of the highest quality.
We are prepared to go to market, and sell our vegetables in other venues if everything goes as planned and we get all the members for the CSA. If that does not happen, we will have to shift focus to go to market to generate income this season. We are all pulling for the CSA to work.
Today we planted 4 varieties of potatoes for our CSA 😉

plant the tomatoes just to kill them

4 04 2009

I think that I might have killed all of the first two rounds of tomato transplants. It got really cold last night. The second round of tomatoes was just planted yesterday. Weak from the transplanting, the freeze last night finished them off. They were inside the greenhouse. Today’s warm sun might revive some them. Tomato Power.