I’m taking a class called “Insights for Innovation” with IDEO. Part of that class is doing interviews for developing empathy and better understanding customers. Niti was the perfect person to interview to better understand the farm-to-fork community. I learned a lot in the interview and hope you do too.
We planted our first hazel trees. This is a test planting to see how they do. We should have our first nuts from the hazel trees in 2-3 years, if all goes well.
We also pulled up drip feed lines so we can trim and to make it easier to cut the grass. Drip irrigation is great, but having lines everywhere does make for some management challenges when it comes to cutting grass and keeping everything looking nice and well managed.
We also had a few logs to move from a dead pine tree that we cut. Its been too wet to move the logs until now. It is nice to get them out of the way so I can mow that area.
The spring flowers are blooming and the bees are busy.
We’ve learned that young seedlings are often enough reason for a deer to want inside the anti-deer fence area, so we put cages around them.
It was a nice way to spend a Friday afternoon.
We planted the 3rd pecan tree, spread pine straw and took some time to enjoy the pleasure of flying a kite in the back field. What a nice day. Warm and sunny.
It was relaxing putting lime on the back field and getting it mowed. It is ready for winter. Nice to be able to take a break from a very busy summer growing season.
Checkout the winter garden
Summer is here and we are starting to harvest veggies!
Everything is growing! Here are some images from this week.
Lets take a walk around the farm and see what is growing!
One of the topics that comes up in the video is the concept of imposing my will on the farm. Planning for the growing season requires creating a calendar of when to do what. Different crops need to go in at different times so that requires planning. We need to have the ground ready to plant. This year is very much a building year so we had infrastructure that had to go in. We put in:
- 3D anti-deer fences
- drip irrigation
- new beds for planting that were previously pasture
We have also been working to add additional perennials this year
The garden beds are shaping up. They spent the last three months under a silage tarp but are now mostly ready to plant. The elderberries, figs and peaches are growing.
We also did work in the food forest area that we started building in 2021. We added a trellis for the blackberries and covered the hugelkultur mound with a silage tarp for 3 months to help suppress weed growth this summer. We also put down a biodegradeable paper around the bushes and trees and covered it with hay.
These have been great successes. Which would not be possible without everyone that has helped out on the farm. Our farm is structured as a communal community farm. We have another family that helps out. We share the harvest with them. Having their help has made this possible.
One of the challenges of accomplishing these things is timing. It is critical to have materials (hay, biodegradeable paper, plants, hardware and lines for the drip irrigation, and a bunch of various item) in place and ready to install. The next step is to have a plan where the materials and manpower are ready to go. I developed a calendar for the year. Then each week we have a list of items to accomplish. The list makes helps everyone to plan their time and know what tools to bring. It also helps us to work as a group and sometimes to break down in to 2 groups to work on some items in parallel.
Can Impose My Will on the Farm?
Weather is always a factor with outdoor activities like hiking or camping. Weather is an even bigger factor with farming. Not only the weather on the day you plan to work in the fields but also the weather leading up to the days you have planned to work.
If the fields are wet, then you may have to wait for them to dry out before preparing beds or planting. If the soil isn’t warm enough then seeds won’t germinate. A late frost can kill young plants. Maybe the tractor breaks down in the middle of the field (been there).
It takes effort and organization to
- make sure the materials and tools you need are ready
- make sure any equipment is ready for use
- confirm that the people helping are in place and ready
Days and weeks before you
- made sure you had budget for anything that needed to be paid for
- ordered any materials or equipment and made sure it arrived
So you have all this lined up and on the calendar. But that doesn’t mean it will happen. Weather, equipment issues, or other frustrations can keep your plans from happening.
My desire and my decision to do X,Y, and Z on a certain day doesn’t mean it will happen. My will to accomplish work on the farm is totally subservient to reality of circumstance. There are many things that can delay plans or even cancel them. Its really easy to assume that because I planned something and got everything ready, then it will happen. The life lesson comes when it doesn’t . Farming will teach that life lesson again and again. I’m not able to impose my will on the farm. It works better if I set up goals and plan for success but not get upset if those plans don’t work out. Humility wins. Farming, or even gardening, will definitely teach you humility, patience and the value of a backup plan / rain date.
Parting words: plant a garden!
Our food forest is starting to grow with the warmer weather. Here are some pictures
It is the time of year where you never know if it is going to be an 80 degree day or a 40 degree day. We are still getting ready to start planting our summer garden. This was also the first time I mowed the grass for the season. More and more plants are starting to grow. The drip irrigation system is still a work in progress. Once we have the planting beds made then we can put down the drip tape and test the system.
We had a fairly mild winter so the weeds started growing early in the garlic beds. This year we put down hay twice to try and suppress weed growth. Hopefully we can avoid a lot of weeding this way. I was pleasantly surprised that our garlic beds survived our neighbors cows getting loose and trampling the plants earlier in the winter.
We have several patches of wild American Mandrake. It grows in the shady areas. I’m hoping that we can actually try some of the fruit this year. That would mean that we would have to time picking it just right. If we wait too long the squirrels and deer will beat us to the ripe fruit.