Saturday, October 13, 2012

12OCT13 Part Two

Greetings from Baker Heritage Farm;

Hopefully we are back on track. With our harvest of summer crops essentially complete (with the exception of the pumpkins and a few more watermelon) and rainy weather, work on the farm has temporarily slowed down. We will be changing our blog from weekly farm updates to writing of our plans for the 2013 season, as well as sharing what we have learned over the past 6 months from our test garden and the past year from the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. We hope you will add your comments, providing suggestions and ideas for farm operations, as well as let us know about your gardening and small farm adventures.

Today was Donald's last Beginning Farmer and Rancher classes at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture. We would all like to thank Kerr Center, USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative, Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers Association, and Oklahoma State University Extension for supporting this program and the excellent resources that were provided throughout the training. We would also like to extend a special thanks to George Kuepper, Kerr Center Horticulture Manager, David Redhage, Kerr Center Ranch Operations Director, Ann Welles, Kerr Center Program Director, and the great staff at Kerr Center for the work that they put into the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. An extensive amount of information was provided during the past year, and we have yet to absorb most of it. Over the winter months all of us here at Baker Heritage Farms will be studying the material and including it in our planning for 2013 and beyond. As we review and digest the information, we will be sharing as much as we can on this blog.

Today, the Horticulture class learned about hoop houses and actually built a 50' by 24' hoop house - these are great tools for extending the growing season on either end (starting earlier in the spring or going later into the fall). And, they are cheap and easy to build. The estimated cost of a 100' by 17' hoop house with a height of 7.5' is $1,200, and it can easily be built in a weekend by two people (including cutting and prep work).

The BF&R class building a hoop house:

This is what we started with
Pounding in rebar for hoop supports
Bending square metal tubing
Putting up hoops
Hoops installed
Putting on shade cover
We installed shade cover rather than plastic in the interest of time; however, it does not take much longer to install plastic covering, though it would have been a problem this day as there was a brisk wind.
Stretching the ends of the hoop house
Completed hoop house
As there were several people,the prep work had already been completed (ropes cut to size and in place, rebar cut to size, end hoops with wiggle wire channels installed already up), and the use of shade cover instead of plastic, it took less than 90 minutes to install the entire hoop house. Obviously, building a 100' hoop house will take a little longer, but surprisingly enough, once you get going, it is fairly easy and uncomplicated (after all, Donald even helped).

After building the hoop house, the class went to Kiamichi Vo-Tech in Poteau for lunch and graduation ceremonies. Debbie joined Donald for the ceremonies and everyone had a great lunch and received even more materials for study.

A great class and a lot was learned. With all of the material provided, learning will be continuing here at Baker Heritage Farms for months and years to come.

Best wishes to all;

Baker Heritage Farms

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