Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Update

Spring @ Sustainable Harvest Farm

Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,
We are very thankful for the relationships and blessings that God has put into our lives. Amanda, Finley and I are doing well and hope that you are as well.
We wanted to share our spring farm updates with you all and share some pictures from around the farm. I like bulleted lists, so I’ll share some bullets with you.
·         Over the winter I assisted in building a 24x20 greenhouse to start our plants in. We will also experiment with bringing you all fresh vine ripened tomatoes a month earlier than normal in this greenhouse.
·         We built an addition to our barn.
·         We battled beavers on 2 of the 3 fields that we raise the majority of our produce on. Each week sees a new winner. This week I’m ahead, but bloodied from battle. If we don’t beat them, we run the risk of our fields being unusable.
·         We had a wonderful goat kidding season, but unfortunately coyotes have been very hungry and have reminded me that I’m thankful that I have a day job.
·         Finley wants to drive the tractor and 4-wheeler more than I do.
·         Strawberries are looking good for the 1st CSA baskets that should on time for May 10thish.
·         Lettuce, broccoli, Cabbage, Sugar Snap Peas, Bok Choi, Tatsoi, and a half dozen other varieties of early greens are out in the field and growing.
·         We will raise right at a dozen varieties of tomatoes for this season in an effort to provide a more flavorful yet disease resistant tomato.
·         We are scheduled to have a spring, summer, and fall supply of lettuce. It is very difficult to grow lettuce when the temperature gets warm at all.

So what goes on this time of year to guarantee you have vegetables for 22 weeks this season?
1.       Planning, planning, planning. Starting the 1st week of February seeds start getting planted in the greenhouse
2.       Field Preparation. Fields must be fairly dry before any field preparation can begin. Any dry spell that we get of 4+ plus days I will be in some field getting it ready for planting. There are several different stages and steps to preparing a field for planting.
3.       Our 1st plants go out into the field early March to have you those fresh vegetables for May.
4.       Once plants are in the field weeds have to be managed and believe it or not we’re already facing flea beetle damage on some of our greens. There are a number of different ways to manage that pesky pest organically. Deciding which one is most efficient, effective, and affordable is the hard task.
5.       Tractor/equipment repair and modification. I have a wonderful neighbor that is always helping me fabricate tools to use.
6.       The balance of family, regular job, farming, and church is always a challenge this time of year. You’ve put your trust in me to deliver you with fresh vegetables for 22 weeks. If that means getting waist deep in cold water to fight beavers every other day for weeks on end, I’m going to do it.
7.       That’s enough for now.
Thank you for your support!
Ford Waterstrat