Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's New at the Farm? Last column of 2010!

To continue from my column last week, otherwise titled what worked and what didn't work and how to get better each year, we're looking forward to 2011 with anticipation of better things to come. Before we wrap things up for 2010, we have already started our planning for 2011. Yesterday's meeting was on greenhouse growing and what we plan on using for flats, potting mixes and fertilizers, what the temperature settings should be and our fungicide and disease control programs for 2011. Some of the projects I have lined up for this winter include:

  • Better time tracking. Accurate costs with all our projects have always eluded us. There are so many different crops and different activities associated with these crops; and lots of people working on all these crops that it's almost impossible to accurately and easily track the costs associated with each crop. I'd really like to know once and for all exactly how much it costs us to grow some of these crops.
  • I am applying for USDA Cost Share funds to build an irrigation pond. We own a 20-acre field that needs a water source for it to be used at its fullest potential. It's a flat and sandy field without any rocks at all. I'd love to put a trellis up in the field; a person could just about lean on the posts to get them in. It's long with 700-foot rows -- common and straight rows -- would look really good here. The biggest drawback is the lack of irrigation water and I aim to alleviate that issue with a new irrigation pond.
  • Speaking of that field, I'd like to give another liberal dose of compost and get it plowed under and reseeded. It has a really nice stand of red clover on it now, and it will be mature next spring. I can also split the field up into two or three smaller fields and eliminate some of the wet spots that we don't want to farm at this time.
  • I'm also going to look around town to find a place to process our cucurbits for seed. The place we have now is good, but with all that water we use it becomes a muddy mess by mid fall. I'd like to find a location near the farm, some place preferably with a pond or other water supply and perhaps a cement slab to work on. An old henhouse slab would work. The new spot would have to be secure as I intend to leave squash, pumpkins and equipment there for a couple of months in the fall processing season.
  • Field mapping. Where we're putting crops and how much space is available and how much space can we devote to cover crops and rock picking projects. I'd like to find or develop a system that works for all these small fields we have, and I'd like to have all our field histories on one database that we all could view and use as needed. There's lots of notes to go with the fields again what works and what doesn't, that would be useful in farm field planning down the road.

And there are lots of other projects on my winter list, most of which I'll detail next week.

See you next year,

1 comment:

Sandy said...

For field mapping you should try this document: