Category Archives: Farming

New Hampshire Bubble and Barrel washer workshop

Here is the slides from the talk I did in New Hampshire last week. We built bubble washer kits and built one barrel washer in the afternoon. I also talked about washing sheds and efficiency. longer and better blog post to follow.

Small Farm Central CSA Conference

I was privileged to be asked to speak at the 2014 CSA Expert Exchange. I talked about Customizable Share options for members. Unfortunately, the talk I used had a few slides that didn’t work so here’s the full Slide deck. It was a lot of fun- there are lots of different systems that farmers are using to get vegetables into the bellies of eaters and I was excited to be able to talk about a few of them.

You can also see the video of the harvester that we use for carrots and beets here.

NRCS webinar

I was privileged to be selected to give a webinar for the NRCS last week about high tunnel production. Webinars are hard to give, as you can’t see your audience or hear yourself, so feedback and feeling that you are connecting with your audience is tough.

We briefly covered high tunnel placement and construction, crop planning, and different crop production.

NRCS recorded the webinar. You can access that HERE.

 

Overall, it was a fun experience.

NOFA-MASS Seminar: Farm Profitability: Season Extension and Marketing for the Small Farm

Ben from NOFA_MASS recorded the sessions-

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6pge57mfe5gahxr/hRkd5qaqIr

Session 1 – Farm overview, soil, fertility, disease, economics

Introduction: Soils, markets and finances at Kilpatrick Family Fam

Goals and Purpose of Year-Round Farming

Soil Health

Labs

Fertility management

Beneficial insects

Rowcover

Economics of High Tunnel Production

Economics of Winter Growing: budgets, depreciation and labor costs

Equipment

Cultivation

Mulch

SLIDES FROM SESSION 1

MASS 1

Mass 1 b

Session 2 – Farm Systems for Field Production, Tunnel Structure Intro

Washing and Packing Resources
Storage Facilities

Tunnel overview

Transplant/propagation houses
Soil
Greenhouses Manufacturers
Venting options

SLIDES FROM SESSION 2

MASS SE 2

Session 3 – Greens for tunnels and season extension
Irrigation, row cover and other tools of the trade

Seed suppliers

SLIDES FROM SESSION 3

MASS SE 3

Session 4  Marketing the Farm
The Why of Marketing
Educate the consumer

SLIDES FROM SESSION 4

MASS SE 4

Field update 6/17

Haven’t written for a while. Things are finally starting to dry out. A few sections are still under water- probably won’t be planting anything there except cover crop. Flea beetles and root maggot bad this spring. Had an influx of cucumber beetles but after 2 sprays of pyganic cleaned them right out. No leafhoppers or potato beetles yet. First GH tomatoes ripening, picking beets, broccoli, peas, greens still going strong. could start pulling baby carrots but still have good quality in storage so trying to move those out. Overwintered onions not sizing like last year, didn’t cover the as well and spring has just been crazy- only getting up to 3 inches before tops falling over- last year we had 4+. Strawberries took a hit from the weather although did spray with milstop and actinovate which seemed to help. First hilling of potatoes this week, a little too late but couldn’t get in earlier. Have seeded a few sections down with rye between plastic for weed control but with the wet weather we have had to weedwack it down- no weeds though… Farmers markets good, wholesale so-so depending on the account.

Weekly update 4/1

The weather is finally starting to break. Daytime temperatures are averaging in the 50s and nights are starting to be in the 30s. Fields are starting to dry out — we will be tilling by the end of the week on ground that was prepped and bedded up last fall.

Overwintered onions are looking good. They survived the winter in the mini-tunnels even though they only had one layer of 30 weight rowcover on them. We will be weeding and fertilizing them this week.

Greenhouses are okay. Some serious cercospera in the spinach that is not being driven back by actinovate or oxidate. New plantings of greens are coming on, while overwintered kale, Swiss chard and Asian greens are bolting. Hoophouses are replanted with spring greens. Tomatoes will go in late next week.

Went to an auction in Massachusetts last Saturday. Prices on some things were shockingly low. Barely used 35K onion bagging line went for 5K; beautiful 20-foot tri-fold transport disk, $1,800. Ford 8600 with new rubber, $6,000. I have to keep reminding myself I am not in the equipment business. I did pick up a rotary table, packing supplies, and a 1,500-gallon tank to expand our water storage system.

From the Haygrove people….

Received this email from Harry at Haygrove Tunnels. It has some great information I wanted to pass on.

 

Dear Growers,

 Good day to you.  I hope you are making the most of this long winter to do extensive crop planning for this coming Spring. It’s also a great time to finish up those repair projects and I’ve included some resources that I have found helpful for each of those tasks in this letter.

 Perhaps most importantly, if you are planning to buy and build high tunnels for this coming season, it is not yet too late.  Please contact me this coming week to make the arrangements.

 If a delay is beyond your control, you can build a Haygrove over planted crops, however you’ll miss the early season opportunity this year, but will still get all of the crop protection benefits like reduced disease pressure and higher yields and fewer culls.  

 When planting for high tunnel coverage, plant your crops on row centers that are divisible into 24′ wide bays.  So 2′, 3′, 4′, 6′, 8′ and 12′ centers all work ideally depending on the crop.  For early snow peas, I have used 3′ spacing, for tomatoes and cucumbers I use 6′ centers and for raspberries I use 8′ centers.  (When I park the cultivator inside the Gothic for the winter, it’s on 12′ center;-)

 ———-

 Here are some resources that I’ve found useful lately.  Perhaps you will find some value here too?

First low-risk planting dates:

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/e-PDGSeedStart.aspx

Another crop management resource:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/

Carburetor Rebuilding, mail order service.  This guy rebuilt the carburetor for my 1942 David Bradley this winter and did a nice job.  He even manufactured a new needle valve for it:

http://www.farmersserviceinc.com/carbrebuild.htm

Or, if you’d rather do the repair yourself and just need some tips from a professional, check out the 700+ videos by this instructor. The Small Engine Doctor, Youtube Channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/donyboy73?feature=watch

Check here for a daily pricing report from Park Slope CoOp in NY, NY.  I use this as a comparative base for my pricing.  With some cross-checking, it is possible to adjust this by a fixed percentage to suit your wholesale or retail market.  For instance, if you usually sell your cucumbers at 20% less than these prices and you are introducing a new crop like arugula to your market, I’d introduce it at 20% less than this price list and then adjust it from there later.  Remember, this is a low cost retail food outlet in NYC.  The neighborhood is expensive, but the CoOp members provide 75% of the labor for free:

http://foodcoop.com/go.php?id=90

Super regards,

Harry Edwards

Haygrove Tunnels

717.606.8021