Monday, December 31, 2012


H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R 

From Baker Heritage Farms

Due to the holidays, weather, and unexpected travel, there will be NO update for this past week. Occasionally, farming operations will be interrupted with unexpected emergencies, but more often, unless you live in certain states, weather will be the primary cause of interruptions.

We had approximately 6 inches of snow fall the afternoon and early evening of Christmas Day, and some of the snow is still on the ground. Since then, we have had sporadic rain, sleet, and snow flakes (did not add to what we already had), so it has not been practical to do any field work.

All-in-all, 2012 was a successful year at Baker Heritage Farms. We consider our test garden a success, and we were able to start field work before the real winter weather set in. Some supplies have been ordered and we are looking forward to having a real, small-acreage farming operation in 2013.

We hope that everyone will join us in following our adventures in the New Year.

Until next year,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

"This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you." Exodus 12:2

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Not much happening on the farm right now due to the holiday season. The weather has been erratic at best, with warm weather prevailing. Most of the area is back in (or still in) a severe draught. In fact, rain was predicted for this past Thursday and we did get a nasty storm with high winds and rain. Even though we received about 1" of rain, it did nothing for us and the ground is still crispy critter (crunches when you walk on it). We were really anticipating the rain and planning on burning our brush piles that are in and near the production fields; unfortunately, while we are not in a burn ban, we have been advised that any burning is strongly discouraged.

David finished up tying down the Turkey run and chicken coop fences. The Turkey run still needs rock placed around the bottom of the fence and then it will be ready for the turkeys. The chicken coop only needs a gate and then it will also be completed.

Today was order day. We placed a number of orders (and are now officially broke and probably in debt), including Hydrolyzed Fish Powder, seeder, sprayer, and poultry.

In November we explained that we would not be planting cover crops to increase Nitrogen ("N") due to the cost of the seed and other concerns. We also explained that we made a risk management decision to purchase a tow-behind sprayer and Fish Powder to input "N" this year. We have once again changed direction due to cost concerns. As we researched seed, we learned that some crops should not include any "N" input. In addition, some plots will be planted in cover crop and will not need "N" input. After reviewing our needs, we determined that we will only need to worry about "N" input on 6 or less plots, and they are interspersed throughout the production fields, so it would not be beneficial to purchase the tow-behind sprayer.

We have ordered a Pro 4 gallon Diaphragm-Pump Backpack Sprayer from Home Depot ( This sprayer was about $90.00 compared to $370 for the tow-behind sprayer. Even us poor rednecked dirt farmers can figure out the best way to go.

Back-Pack Sprayer
NOTE: It is very important that you check the sprayer's capabilities before you purchase one. There are many less expensive makes and models to chose from; however, most of the less expensive models do not use a Diaphragm and are only suitable for straight liquids. If you are doing organic gardening, you will have many occasion to mix certain powders, etc. This particular model is suitable for liquids, powders, and water-soluble solutions and is essentially the same as one used at the Kerr Sustainable Farm.

We also placed our order with Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (, Grass Valley, CA) for Fish Powder and a Seeder.

We ordered a 40 pound bag HFPC Hydrolyzed Fish Powder ($129.00). This product is organic and provides fast Nitrogen. It is water-soluble and contains 10.4% "N". It will fulfill our "N" needs for some time (you mix 4-5 pounds with a minimum of 20 gallons of water per acre).

HFPC Hydrolyzed Fish Powder

We also ordered an Earthway Precision Seeder ($109.00). The seeder opens the soil, spaces and plants the seed, covers the seed, packs the soil, and even marks the next row. This will save a lot of back pain and also make planting more accurate. The seeder comes with plates for planting 28 different seed varieties that cover most (if not all) of the seeds we will be planting. Granted, this is a tool that is probably not a necessity for the backyard farmer, but will most likely be a useful tool for the small-acreage farmer. For our operation, it is a very practical tool that should earn it's keep.

Earthway Seeder
We also placed our Turkey and Chicken order with Murray McMurray Hatchery (, Webster City, IA). We ordered 25 female Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens ($75.00) and 15 straight run Narragansett turkeys ($157.00). The chickens should be delivered the week of March 4th and the turkeys the week of May 13th. We included the Marek's Disease vaccination for the chickens, numbered bandettes for the chickens and un-numbered bands for the turkeys.

A very expensive weekend, but it had to be done, and we still have to order seed.

If weather forecasts are to be believed, we are in for some real winter weather on Christmas day, with up to 7" of snow accumulation predicted by Christmas evening.


From your friends at Baker Heritage Farms

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not parish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Weather was nice here in eastern Oklahoma this weekend, though there was a little rain Friday evening (we could use a lot more).

David and Donald were able to till plot 2C Friday and 1B Saturday. They started running into more rocks and old roots. While the pasture looks fairly level and clear, there are several "mounds" and, as was discovered, rocks and roots hiding just beneath the surface.
David Tilling Plot 1B
Current plans call for lettuce and radish to be planted in plot 1B (lettuce in February and radish in March) and carrots and tomatoes in plot 2C (carrots in February and tomatoes in April).

We have our plots now laid out and a tentative planting schedule in place. Planting should begin in February. We will also need to start seeding transplant beds by February (tomatoes and peppers).

Donald has been spending a lot of time researching seed. Deciding what variety of seed and what supplier to use has become a major concern. As we have been discussing, our intent is to plant heirloom seed that is certified organic. While there are a number of seed suppliers that offer certified organic seed, there are very few that offer heirloom seed (some include Sand Hill Preservation Center, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). There are even fewer that have a reasonable selection of certified organic heirloom seeds. The only supplier with a decent selection appears to be Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

We are also learning that there is no consistency in pricing. Some price their seed by the ounce, some by the gram, and some by seed count, which makes comparing prices a sometimes overbearing task. We will be posting our results as soon as they are in, hoping to save other backyard or small acreage farmers some time.

On top of all of the planning, we are coming to the realization that even small acreage farming can be adversely affected by the larger farming community. It appears that our seed choices in 2013 will be further limited by the drought that has plagued farmers for the past two years (and may be going into the third year). Being resilient farmers is going to be very important over the next year or so. Fortunately, we are confident that our farm plan has enough flexibility to change with the conditions.

Our long-term goal is to save our own seed for planting the following year, however, we will not be able to do this for several years. First, we need to determine what crops grow best, then we will need to determine what varieties grow best and are the most profitable. Once the results are in, we will need to be very detailed in our planting schedule to ensure that we do not cross-polinate crops.

The one good thing is that we will not have to (we hope) spend so much time on planning after this year. We will have our base planning done, and will only need to worry about what crops we will be planting and when we will be planting them. We do know that saving and planting our own seed will further ensure the success of our farm operations.

We hope to order our chickens and turkeys by either the end of this year or the very beginning of next year for spring delivery (see the 12NOV11 post for our tentative delivery dates).

Until next week;

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you." Hosea 10:12

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Friday David and Donald picked up wood fence posts to start fencing the production fields and laid them out along the fence line.

On Saturday, they were able to till plot 1D (far northeast corner) which will be the first plot planted next year. Currently the schedule calls for planting cabbage and onions in this plot in February.
Plot 1D tilled
Tilling went well with a few exceptions (most a result of not following standard procedures as recommended by Farming for Dummies). One unavoidable exception was a large tree root (about 10-15 feet long and 1 inch thick) just below the surface. The root played havoc with the tiller, but tilling went smooth after they finally got the root removed.

With good weather and ground conditions, it will take about 2-hours and one tank of gas to till each plot. A plot is 100' by 55' (approximately 1/8 acre). If you are doing this size garden and the soil has never been worked, it is highly recommended that you rent a good, self-propelled tiller, otherwise it will take much longer and require extensive muscle.

We will need to till at least one more plot (1B) where we will be planting lettuce in February and radishes in March. The other two plots in field 1 (1C and 1A) will initially be planted in cover crop. Plot 1C will be planted with sweet clover in February and plot 1A will be planted with buckwheat in March. We will till these two plots if time and conditions allow.

If our weather holds out (winter is slowly moving in) David and Donald plan to till plot 1B this next weekend, and if time permits, will also till plots 1C and 1A.

It is that time of the year when Debbie is hard at work in the kitchen baking holiday goodies.

The Baker Heritage Farms web site ( was finally launched on Saturday. You can click on the tab on the upper right corner of the blog to visit the web site.

Until next week,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's Building." 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Our 2013 field planning is well underway. In reality, our production fields will all be "test" gardens in 2013, as we have never tried growing many of the vegetables we are planning to plant, and those we have tried were not necessarily successful. We are planning to plant 12 plots of 1/8 acre each (55'x100'). The planting dates are tentative and actual planting will depend on weather and soil conditions.

We hope to direct seed cabbage, lettuce, and onions in February, followed by beans, beets, and radish in March. There are mixed reviews on direct seeding versus transplanting for cabbage and beets, so we will try direct seeding in 2013. If weather does not cooperate, we can extend our February seeding into March. We also have an opportunity to plant cabbage and lettuce latter in the fall if the spring planting does not work.

We will start our pepper and tomato seeds in February for later transplanting.

In April we plan on direct seeding corn, cucumber, gourds, muskmelon, okra, squash, and watermelon. We will also begin transplanting peppers and tomatoes in April.

At this time we are planning on having 4 plots in cover crops. In February we will be planting sweet clover cover crop in one plot. In March we will plant Buckwheat cover crop in one plot, and in April we will plant Cow Peas cover crop in one plot, and a mixture of Red Clover and Australian Winter Peas in one plot. The type of cover crop, and the number of plots in cover crop may change as we get closer to planting. We plant to have at least 3 plots (1 in each field) in cover crop at all times.

We will be double-cropping/companion planting cabbage and onions; lettuce and radish; and carrots and tomatoes. We will be companion planting corn, beans and cucumber using a modified three-sisters method.

Watermelon and squash will most likely be planted in separate areas as they will require complete rotation each year (watermelon and squash will not follow each other, which will somewhat restrict where they can be planted). It is possible that the watermelon may be planted in one of the cover crop plots, however, that is yet to be determined.

By May we should have our spring crops all planted.

Our next step is to plan the purchase of seeds. While this may seem an easy task, we have already learned that it will not be so easy. Our intention is to plant non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented heirloom production crops. In addition, all of our crops will be "certified" organic. While it can be presumed that heirloom seeds would be organic, we have found that this is not the case. If you intend to have organic heirloom crops, take heed. Many heirloom gardeners use herbicides and pesticides to reduce potential damage to crops. Unless the products they use are "certified" organic, you will not be able to represent your crops as organic. While we are not pursuing organic certification, it is important that we still follow all "certified" organic standards. Then we can represent our crops as organic until we reach $5,000 in gross sales. In addition, our crops will be grown "all-natural", which, to us, means even more stringent growing habits then just organic. This will be very important for our marketing strategy. We also need to be good stewards of the land and provide healthy products.

Once we determine what type of seed we will be purchasing, we can complete the planning stage, which will include determining how much seed for each crop/plot based on seed/plant spacing and row spacing, which will allow us to order the proper number of seed.

We will also need to start planning for irrigation. At this time, we are planning to use soaker hoses, but may also use some drip irrigation. Once we determine the number of rows for each plot (as well as the direction of the rows) we will be able to better plan our irrigation needs.

In addition to the planning, work continues on the turkey run and chicken coop fences. Sanitizing the brooder equipment will be completed prior to the first arrivals, and then will have to be re-santized for the next batch. The parameter fence around the production fields needs to be installed and also around the area where we plan to plant the squash and/or watermelon.

There is still a lot of work to be done before planting season starts. If you are planning to start a backyard or small acreage farming operation, now is the time to complete your planning as the real work will need to be started in ernest in January (and no, weather cannot be used as an excuse, otherwise, you will never get started).

Until next time,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

"The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:12