I posted a couple months away asking for help with harvest selection for a new farm that the non-profit I work for is developing. We’ve agreed that we’ll be doing mostly cut blooms and herbs, plus a few traditional veggies( tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) to bulk out the farm stand. For those who don’t want to read the other post I am expected to be the sole skilled labor for the 1.1 acres of 3 crop fields+ 2 greenhouses with many volunteers that are adults with developmental disabilities.
I told the committee that if they wanted me to work anything on the property in 2019 that a few things need to be said and done wintertime: the region needs to be marked off and tilled( it’s old llama grassland, so lots of grasses ), the clay needs to be tested and revised, and a cover harvest needs to be put down. Because we didn’t have scheming and zoning approving until simply 3 weeks ago, they were unsure of what exactly we could do on the site in 2019 so nothing happened. Fair enough, I thought that was good because it dedicates us time to scheme out the fields, raise money, and get all our planning sorted out so we can be on a more solid foot to start in 2020.
Perhaps I didn’t communicate things well enough, because two weeks ago I get an email that we will have a farm stand up by mid-summer with render and cut flowers for sale grown on a 54′ x 36′ garden that was not in the original schemes. Cue mini-panic attack on my end.
It is now 7 weeks to our median last frost date. At my parent’s small farm we’ve just started the bulk of our plants for the half acre of land they work. However, at my work we have nothing in terms of seed starting supplyings, irrigation equipment, fencing, nada. I’m deeply concerned about their unrealistic expectations for this year and have a few questions for those more experienced than myself 😛 TAGEND
Timeline: The steps I wanted done before winter are all based off of what I’ve learnt grown up and no one else in the non-profit has farming experience. It’s looking unlikely any seed starting renders will be purchased for at least another 3 weeks. The soil hasn’t been tested. I haven’t drawn up a planting diagram because I don’t know what I’ll be able to start in time. There’s an old well on site but we haven’t even touched on irrigation systems. Thankfully it’s a small field, smaller than any I’ve dealt with, and that’s the only reassuring thing going for me. Am I justified in being worried about how quickly they want things done?
Fencing: The person who is in charge of budgeting, picking out, and constructing the fencing wants to put up a 5′ wire fence with pressure treated posts with stuff from Home Depot. There are deer, bears, rabbits, etc in the woods around the property. I explained that we need at the least 8′ above ground and 1′ below ground to keep animals out, especially since no one live here to keep hungry/ curious wildlife out. Also, I don’t want pressure treated lumber used in an garden growing edible products because I personally do not feel safe and we’d like to go for natural/ biodynamic/ perhaps organic certifications down the road. I priced out a fencing system to my specs that came to $1,200. Are my fencing requirements reasonable? Is $1,200 a good price for 180′ of fencing+ the door?
Tillage: I’d love to do no-till if we had the time, but we don’t. For new fields at my parent’s we’ve had a neighbor come by to disc and rototill for us when necessary, but he lives 40 minutes away from this new property. I think they expect one or two pass with a pushing tiller to do the job based on what they’ve told me. It doesn’t sound like it’d be enough, would it?
Washing Produce: Less immediate than the remainder, but there’s currently a house and garage on site. The house is supposed to be demolished this year. I live 2 minutes away from the property, so I can go home if I need to use the restroom because I don’t know if they’ll put up a porta potty. But assuming the house is taken down we won’t have anywhere to clean veggies after picking, and if my volunteers help they will definitely is essential to rinsed as they are not clean people by nature. Do veggies actually is essential to washed before selling to the public?