Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Adam and I believe in following sustainable agricultural practices. Although what is considered "sustainable" may change over time, we are committed to constantly learning about new and existing ways to produce healthy food that help preserve our surrounding natural resources, promote ecological diversity on and around our farm, and protect the food we produce from any harmful substances. Although we are currently undecided on whether to become certified "organic" or certified "naturally grown" or not certified at all, our customers and neighbors can rest assured that our agricultural practices meet or exceed the requirements of these certification programs. Simply put, that means that we will employ natural methods for building soil fertility, such as cover crops and organic or natural soil amendments. We will never spray crops with harmful pesticides or other chemicals that have not been approved by organic or naturally grown certification programs. We will encourage biodiversity on our farm in order to promote natural processes of insect and disease control and we will rotate our crops to discourage disease. Although Adam and I have a lot to learn about agriculture, we are committed to providing our customers and our community with the cleanest, highest quality fruits and vegetables possible. We are also committed to transparency and we are happy to address any suggestions, questions or comments that you may have. We hope to bring high-quality, nutritious foods to your table this season.
Monday, May 18, 2009
The farming has officially begun!! Adam and I finally put some seeds and plants in the ground on Friday and Saturday as the rain held off until dark on Saturday night. Our tomato starts look wonderful- all 300 of them! We have a great assortment of heirloom varieties. We did buy about 45 organic tomato starts from Melanie Hernandez at Youngs Mill Plant Farm in Kingston, GA because we were unsure about how ours would do- but it turns out that our method of seeding in soil blocks (prescribed by Elliot Coleman) made beautiful, strong tomato starts. We will have the following varieties: Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Yellow Brandywine, Arkansas Traveler, Roma, Aunt Ruby's German Cherry, Principe Borghese, Kellogg, and one more I can't think of at the moment. Get ready to have heirloom tomato sandwiches, salsas and more!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
One issue that we have had the most trouble figuring out has been irrigation. We decided early on that we were going to irrigate from the creek using a gas-powered pump because there is no well closeby and no electricity run to the field (yet). We contacted our local NRCS office about applying for a cost-share for irrigation and to learn about how to set up our irrigation. We got good news and bad news. The good news is that they have engineers who can design a system for us since we qualify as "small-scale" producers, but that wouldn't be ready for several months. The bad news is that we can't get any cost share until we clear $1,000 of farm income, and even then, our application wouldn't go through until next year. So, we were on our own. After scouring the internet and coming up short on technical information, we finally figured it out ourselves with a little help from random people who sold different pieces of our irrigation system. We bought two 250 gallon tanks from a guy who listed them on craigslist. Then we went to Tractor Supply and bought a gas-powered water pump, hoses and other fixtures. We finally got a good farm boy who knew something about moving water and he was a big help. The last piece was the drip lines. Because we are going to run a low-pressure system, the drip lines are our best bet. We are lucky to have the Holt Family Farm Supply in nearby Euharlee, GA. Charles Holt is a dripworks distributor and he is ordering our drip lines and other fixtures. We hope to get this system going this weekend and I will post some pictures of that as well. Whew! Water is important! One thing we have realized in trying to figure out everything from straight fencelines to pumping water is that there IS a use for that math we learned in high school! If only we could remember it!
So, last weekend we made some progress. Although it was still too wet to till and plant, we made some headway on our fence and will be able to finish it up this weekend. Unfortunately I forgot to bring the camera, so pictures will be up next week.