Winter Projects for Spring Success

In difficult ground, press on. In encircled ground, devise stratagems. In death ground, fight.

-Sun Tzu

My body hurts. Farming is often a physically demanding profession, and in many ways I feel as though all the hours I’ve spent since I was 12 pumping iron in the weight room and sweating it out on the soccer field and the wrestling mat were appropriate preparation for my current profession, but my body is getting older each and every day, and today I’m sore. I’ll be turning the big three-oh in a week-and-a-half, and what I’m about to say may reek of naivete, but I feel as though I’ve lived thirty lifetimes already. I spent 8 hours straight grappling with my two-wheeled BCS tractor yesterday with a rotary-plow attachment to build fifty one-hundred foot beds. It was a tedious, strenuous, monotonous day. My hands are raw and my hip feels kinky. I imagine this is what Jacob might have felt like after wrestling God in the wilderness. It’s done, though! I was intimidated by this task for some time because of the size of the job, but the hard part is over! Well, one hard part is over.

Now I need to order two truck-loads of compost to spread about 2 inches worth on top of each bed, and then get each bed broadforked. If you don’t know what a broadfork is or what broadforking entails, check out his video. I figure if I broadfork 4 beds a day, it will only take me 13 days to get all 50 beds done, and then I won’t have to plan my workouts for almost two weeks! I also have to get another 50’x100′ silage tarp to put adjacent to the beds I just build to smother out the grass so I can get in and till it up and get it limed so I can install my caterpillar tunnels there. Wait a minute, did I say tunnels?! That’s right. On Wednesday, myself and a handful of my lovely nursing student volunteers disassembled my caterpillar tunnel and moved it from the Lomax farm over here to the homefront, and then, one way or another, I am going to acquire another tunnel to put right next to it! These tunnels will be planted with early greens mid-February, and then one will get filled with tomatoes and the other will get an early round of squash, zucchini and cucumbers next spring! I figure as the seasons roll on, I’ll invest in more caterpillar tunnels (as they are relatively inexpensive and easy to move around) and I figure I can probably fit 5 of them side-by-side, which will give me 5600 square feet of covered growing space with one tunnel serving as a greenhouse for starting plants and growing the microgreens, in addition to the 20,000 square feet of outdoor growing space you see pictured below! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

In addition to all this ground work, I need to get my post-harvest handling area set up. It won’t take too much, as I already have most of the stuff on-hand. I need to build a greens-drying table and pour an insulated concrete pad to install my walk-in cooler on (which you see stacked up under the blue tarp in the bottom-left corner of the picture above). After all that, we’ll be off to the races for spring 2019! I’m so excited I might pee myself. Just joking. But seriously. Get excited!

I hope you guys will come see us at the Piedmont Farmer’s Market on Winecoff School Rd. tomorrow from 9am until noon! We’ll have butternut squash grown by my good buddy Joe Rowland at Rowland’s Row Family Farm in Gold Hill, some tatsoi grown by Gena, the Organic Research Coordinator at the Lomax Incubator Farm that she grew for a trial, microgreens, and eggs laid by my lovely lady friends that aren’t allowed in the house and have to sleep up the hill. I only was able to harvest three shiitake mushrooms this week, I guess they were taking a breather, andddd I ate them all. Well, Zeus, my husky dog, got one off the counter like a VERY BAD BOY, but yeah. There are a bunch of little mushroom heads starting to grow out, and we’ll see what happens after the rainy day today, but no mushrooms tomorrow! I plan on starting a bunch more logs next spring, so expect mushrooms for years to come!

I know I promised to tell you about the CSA this week, but alas, the week filled up and I wasn’t able to get around to planning it all out. Next week, I promise!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, see you soon I hope!

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