I posted a couple months ago 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 largely 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 is predicted 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 is essential to done before wintertime: the area needs to be marked off and tilled( it’s old llama pasture, so lots of grasses ), the clay needs to be tested and revised, and a cover-up crop needs to be put down. Because we didn’t have scheming and zoning approving until just 3 weeks ago, the issue is unsure of what exactly we could do on the site in 2019 so nothing happened. Fair enough, I thought that was good because it gives 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 2 weeks ago I get an email that we will have a farm stand up by mid-summer with create 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 wintertime are all based off of what I’ve learnt growing 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 the 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 building the fence wants to put up a 5′ wire fencing with pressure treated posts with stuff from Home Depot. There are deer, bears, rabbits, etc in the timbers around the property. I explained that we need at least 8′ above ground and 1′ below ground to hold animals out, especially since no one lives there 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 rest, 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 presuming the house is taken down we won’t have anywhere to wash vegetables after picking, and if my volunteers help they will definitely is essential to washed as “theyre not” clean people by nature. Do vegetables really need to be cleaned before selling to the public?