Sunday, December 2, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
During my week of vacation from my day off-farm job, we planted next year's garlic crop. We doubled the amount that we planted last year: ~4800 to ~10,000. That is 22 100 ft beds; each bed has 3 rows. It's a lot of garlic! And of course it rained almost all week but we planted anyway - thankful for rain gear!
The new addition to the house is moving along.
And the barn cats are doing nicely. They are great companions while working.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
National Organic Program (NOP) standards state that producers must use management practices for pest control.
When our inspector asked us how we plan to control pests, Bill and I asked, "are barn cats allowed?" She said absolutely.
We don't have an issue with an overload of barn pests - although we don't have any feed supplied in our barn to draw them yet - when our neighbor's cat (who is a skilled mouser) had a litter we thought it would be a good time to get some kittens. We took the whole litter: 3 males, 1 female. We had them neutered/spayed and vaccinated under the "barn cat sterilization program" at the local animal hospital.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Friday, June 8, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This photo shows the onion, leek, beet and turnip bed (and a few radish stragglers which will be harvested any moment now). The 2nd planting of beets went in Monday (Memorial) and the turnips got their initial sowing. The drip tape is watering it all in.
I have an additional day off from my off-farm job so today we are pickling scapes.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
The vetch is blooming a beautiful purple. We really like this cover. It kills easily by low mowing / cutting with the tractor or with hand trimmer. It kills into a thick mat helping to further suppress weeds and we envision it will be quite an addition to the tilth of our soils when we turn it in this fall.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
We are pumping water up a significant hill to the growing fields. Our flattest land is up on our ridgetop - far, far away from our well.
We need to replace the barn roof first - until then, we'll be filling from the well.
We are collecting the water in the water retention tanks (~1500 gallons each - only one shown in the photo above), pumping it via PVC up the side of the hill to a PVC distribution array along our mid farm fence line with take-off valves along the PVC. The take-offs are large, flexible irrigation lines (similar to fire hoses) which are then linked to the drip tape in the fields. We anticipate that we can irrigate 3 fields from the barn set up.
We plan to repeat the entire process on the shop roof to irrigate our summer growing fields. These fields aren't in production yet.
This was a major undertaking. The current (almost) drought that we are experiencing demanded that we fast-track this project. Our garlic was thirsty.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
She joined us on a day trip to Westby, WI for a day long presentation by Mark Shepherd, the guru of permaculture. We were awed by his knowledge of design, ecology, plants, water conservation, farming and environmentalism. Mark was helping the farmers of Ella Bella Farm craft a farm design in their ~15 acres of former CRP ground. He takes the typical farmer's ideal of flat, empty farmland and turns it into swales, trees, berries and alley cropping. It is a lot to get one's head around. We learned a lot and are not looking at our hilly farm in the same way!
We spent Monday (I took a vacation day from non-farm job) running drip tape in the garlic beds.
Friday, April 27, 2012
About 10 days ago, Bill mowed and then cultivated and finally ran the rototiller over beds within the fields. He then shaped the beds by hand.
Today we planted onions, leeks, beets, radishes and spinach. A red, white and yellow storage onion. Leeks. Beets. (wow, 40' of beets!). Radishes. Spinach.
1 bed down. 8 to go.
Tomorrow we are off to a permaculture seminar with a friend in Westby, WI. Taught by Mark Shepherd. We are excited to meet him!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Under review is also our 3 Flat Acres branding, logo and website.
We celebrated Earth Day by organizing seed and putting the plan to paper. I finally went through my seed box and weeded out (yes, pun intended) all of the outdated seeds. I found seeds from 2004!
I will also plant some more greens in the church-house garden today - seems the thing to do on Earth Day.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Last weekend we got the orchard planted. 24 heirloom varieties and 4 pear trees. How I wish we had done this years ago and again I was down to the wire on making choices, but in the end we just placed the order and planted them. We've got Liberty, Freedom, Duchess of Oldenburg, Northwestern Greening, Lodi, Wealthy, Northwestern Greening - several others that I can't remember off of the top of my head. We planted the trees in a swale - permaculture-like.
Bill plowed 4 more fields with the two-bottomed plow last week. After several days he disc'd once and broke down some of the sod. SW Wisc desperately needs some rain to help break down the plowed fields and allow him to disc again. Then once thru with the cultivator and the tiller and we'll get it covered with a spring manure mix (vetch, oats and field peas).
Additionally, we are mapping our fields and progress on AgSquared. It has a free trial for several months so we'll give it a try to see if it meets our needs for fieldwork, mapping, and tracking.
This is the first spring in years that I haven't started my own seeds. We'll be buying what we can from our pal Penny who farms in Freeport. Looking forward to seeing them and their progress on their farm!