So… According to our ‘production schedule’, about 12 days ago we were to transplant early greens, just so they will mature for our first few CSA shares of the season, but the fields were too wet meanwhile the plants kept growing and were getting so BIG and needing to go outdoors. The last week of March, our propagation greenhouse was out of space but this past week the soil finally dried enough, allowing us to transplant swiss chard, lettuce, broccoli, napa cabbage, and baby boc choi. Our direct seeded crops that should be maturing for the first market, which is April 16th, does not have consistent germination. The reason is most likely because we had too much rain and the temperatures too cold. It rained each day for the 2 weeks after these crops were direct seeded.
Throughout the growing season our schedule, continuously impacted by Mother Nature, results in Carl mentioning to me several times a month, “Julie we need a rental cabin”. The uncertainty of growing crops makes one consider what kind of “insurance” a farmer can have should there be a crop failure.
I highly recommend the film, “The Farmer’s Wife”, if you haven’t already seen it. This film is a documentary of a farming family that keeps going into dept, year after year, trying to make up for a bad crop year. We don’t want what happened to them happening to us, as each year they kept borrowing money, hoping that one year mother nature would finally co-operate giving them great yields. Our farming style, being small scaled and highly diversified, is a little different where we cover our initial operating expenses with our CSA membership versus obtaining a loan from the bank. A rental cabin should help Carl and I with added income when we have a poor growing season and the word from the old timers’ is that this season is going to be wet and cold. The weather is starting out wet, not that cold, but it remains to be seen if it will continue being wet.
While the fields were too wet preventing us from working outdoors, THANKFULLY we were able to get a few jobs done on the farm that have been on our backlog. The past couple weeks have been spent with Townes, Danielle and Nern putting up our pig fencing and building an extra rack to hang up hand tools so our equipment barn is a little more organized. They also have been moving and splitting wood for the wood boiler and pizza oven and I must say that our wood shed looks very nice and organized so we are hoping it will stay that way. We have another stack of wood yet to move and cut but once that is done the farm might look a little less trashed out. They are also working on Greenhouse #5 which we hope will be used for an early cantaloupe production followed by a crop of fall greens. Greenhouse cantaloupe production is just another experiment with our greenhouses so I will keep you readers posted on this project.
I’ve been cleaning out the walk-in cooler a bit with hopes that we can pressure wash it and sanitize the area in preparation for our 2011 growing season. In addition we have cleaned up the post-harvest area as it has been used this past winter for storing tools and parts used in ongoing winter projects. I also plowed and disced our field where we will be growing potatoes and onions.
Carl has been organizing and instructing in construction of greenhouse #5 and the pig fencing projects, fixing broken equipment, tilling the soil where our greenhouse tomatoes have been transplanted, keeping the wood boiler going, conducting tractor and chainsaw safety classes. (Oh yea…. We just transplanted tomatoes into the greenhouse this past week.)
So how to proceed with the ‘Crop Insurance’ (a.k.a. The Vacation Cabin). Our latest plan is that we borrow Alvin’s 3-point tractor mounted winch to pull a tree out of the woods so we can saw it into lumber and then hopefully use it for building the rental cabin that will eventually be our ‘crop insurance’. There are no guarantees in life so the cabin may not turn out to be the ‘crop insurance’ we hope but it seems to us that it will be a more reliable income source than working with mother nature in growing crops. We are evaluating purchasing a winch and sawmill because it just may be worth our money to invest in such equipment rather than pay someone to harvest our timber and saw lumber for us.