What I Learned in 2017

I remember sitting at home around this time a year ago, planning the upcoming Farm season. In the past, I've worked three seasons on two different farms. I learned so much about plants, pests, machinery, irrigation, soil composition, on and on and on. I quickly found how much I was lacking in decision making and leadership. I am great at completing tasks given to me by someone else. However, deciding on my own what to do, when to do it, and being solely responsible for the consequences is entirely different!  

For those of you who have not been to the Farm, getting a sense of the layout will help me explain some experiences last year. Our property is 5 acres total, almost all open field, from the street to the tree line. It is only 200 and some odd feet wide with a straight run. Our back yard is fenced in with the farm located in the field beyond the fence. Inside the fence is a chicken coop with our senior chickens, Pickle and Pepper (RIP Penny), our cold frame for seedlings in the spring, and a small garden. Around this garden within the fence is yet another fence to prevent Lucy and Ducky (our dogs) from eating just about everything. I used this garden for our family, to help supplement the CSA, and also to experiment with plants and techniques that could be used in the field the next year.  

One of the biggest things I learned about was the culinary preferences of my dear, dear friend, Marmota Monax. Who's that you ask? The groundhog....  Perhaps next year I'll start screaming "Marmota Monax!" instead of the less family friendly nicknames I used last year since Liam repeats basically everything now. I can tell you his favorite foods first hand. They include, but are not limited to, peas, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, and probably many other crops I'm drawing a blank on right now. Our experience with the groundhogs taught us a lot for next year!  The garden in the fence was pest proof, minus a few birds, bugs, Liam's, etc. I greatly expanded the size of this protected garden for next season and will grow lots of those tasty crops in safety for the CSA and the market.  

Other new changes for next year include: improving soil quality and the irritation system, planting more fruits and berries for the future, increasing the variety in shares, and providing more customized shares. 

For current and new members: send a quick email/text with anything you specifically want grown next year, what you want more of, less of or none at all! I'll jot it down and make it happen whenever possible. Any other suggestions or comments would also be appreciated.  

Week of June 23rd

So far June brought many great changes and new vegetables! Our well was finally completed and has electricity, which allowed John to set up a drip irrigation system. In the near future John will not have to spend 16 hours a day rotating a sprinkler around the farm. The radishes, turnip, kale, and basil came in full force this month. Our beets, carrots, and a variety of squash are growing beautifully and will be ready in the near future! 

Week of May 29th

The produce has finally started to arrive and is quickly picking up pace! The farm shows new signs of growth every day. Our first CSA shares went out last week and we can hardly wait to share what will be coming throughout the rest of the season. 

The Dearborn Farmer's Market started on Friday, May 19th. There may not have been any vegetables yet to sell, but that certainly did not stop us from setting up our stand to meet customers and other vendors. The market is open from 9am-2pm throughout the summer and is full of nearly 40 other great vendors. If you are in the Dearborn area, stop by to say hi!

Below are a few pictures of the busy last few weeks. 

May Updates

April was a busy month! So far most of the work revolved around the greenhouse with some time spent getting the field reading. Your farmer has been working hard getting a variety of vegetables growing for CSA members as well as farmer's market. Here is a sneak peek at what has been going on so far. 

Prepping soil blocks for seeding, which are made entirely from compost. 

A few of the vegetables that will be showing up in CSA shares and at farmer's market throughout the season. 

Our assistant farmer watches the field being prepped. 

Some vegetables are seeded directly into the ground rather than in the greenhouse, like peas, spinach, and carrots. 

Planting strawberries. 

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Our chickens, Pickle and Pepper exploring the outdoors. These ladies are older hens that were donated to us. They are basically pets that lay eggs when they feel like it. About 50% of their food intake comes from grass, bugs, and compost. 

The vegetables coming along nicely in the greenhouse, pictured above are okra, brocolli, and cabbage. 

Our assistant farmer Liam loves to be involved. 

The peas have grown large enough for stringing. 

A beautiful row of turnips.