It was a slow week on the farm.
We ordered the Brinly-Hardy drop spreader we discussed in last week's post. Ended up ordering it from Home Depot, as it is an internet special item only. Hopefully it will be delivered this next week and we can get the rest of the lime down on the production fields next weekend.
David has started work on the chicken coop again, getting the fence posts up. After looking at the turkey run for the last several months, we think we finally came up with an inexpensive, but hopefully effective, way to keep ground animals out. We will be stringing a fence wire around the base approximately 4 inches above the ground. We were having problems trying to figure out how to secure the wire to the fence. The salesperson suggested using hog nose rings, so we purchased a box, as well as 200 feet of fence wire. We also purchased several tension fasteners we hope will help keep tension on the wire. We will be using this method on both the chicken coop and the turkey run, and will be placing rock around the base of the fence as an additional safety measure (we have enough rock around here to build several low walls).
Donald spent the weekend working on the planting schedule for the production fields. Data has been compiled on the vegetables we hope to plant, as well as cover crops (both summer and winter). The data includes the crop and family it belongs to (for rotation purposes), method of planting (seed or transplant), dates for planting (as well as starting seedlings), germination range, temperatures required during germination, and average harvest period, as well as additional information. He will be using this to establish a planting calendar for next year so that we can plan our crops to take advantage of as much of the year as possible. Once the calendar has been completed, we will start assigning crops to each plot. Several of the plots will be planted in cover crops to start improving the soil, which will reduce the amount of production crops we will be able to grow. As we improve our rotations and start seeing improvement in the soil, we will be able to plant more production crops and less cover crop.
We have not yet determined if we will be able to plant winter cover crops this year or not. We had our first frost this weekend so we may be behind schedule. We want to be sure of what we are doing so we are taking our time and performing the necessary research before we jump in feet first and waste money. Cover crops are necessary in our operation, as they will help breakup the soil, add nitrogen, control weeds, and provide beneficial insects. Cover crops will be used in place of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, and will eventually reduce or eliminate the need to till, in keeping with our goal of being good stewards of the land.
After we complete the planting calendar, we will start working on the irrigation issues. While most backyard farmers will not normally face the same irrigation issues (we have no access to water in our back pasture, except the pond), small-acreage farmers may very well face the same issues we do. We will be researching the use of drip irrigation versus the use of soaker hoses. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or experience with either of these two methods, we would be glad to hear them. We need to find out which system will be the most effective while containing initial purchase costs as well as the cost of water.
Next week we will most likely mow the test garden down and start work on preparing it for next year. We will till in the residue as green mulch as everything we planted was organic. We will be expanding the test garden in 2013 and plan to use most of the space.
Until next week,
Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms.