Posts Tagged ‘small family farm’

New additions to the farm

As we enter our 4th year of farming, the usual activities of tilling, starting seeds, and transplanting are continuing as they usually do.  We do have some exciting new additions to the farm this year:

First, we built 2 hoop houses to get warm season crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers to market much earlier

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We put on the plastic, and planted them with tomatoes and cucumbers

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Next, we became beekeepers this year, which is an absolutely fascinating experience.  We started with one hive, but expect our hives to grow each year.  The bees will aide in pollinating our crops significantly, and provide us and farm members with honey in the years to come.

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Finally, we are happy to announce that free range egg-laying hens will be part of our farm moving forward.  Our flock for our first year will be a mixed flock of 15 hens, consisting of Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Plymouth Rocks.  As of this post, they are just 7 days old, but growing (and eating) extremely fast.

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Also, as of this post, we are now the official owners of the land we farm.  We will be forever thankful to the previous owners of this land.  If it were not for their conservation and stewardship of this parcel of land, we would not have been able to turn a vacant lot in the City of Ontario into a viable small family farm.

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Prepping soil on our farm

We’ve been very busy working the soil on the farm getting it ready for intensive organic vegetable production.  In early spring, this involves plowing the fields: IMG_1087 After plowing, we then level out the soil with our roto tiller: IMG_1120 Based on soil tests, we then add organic soil amendments to maintain the fertility of soil.  This year, we are applying rock phosphate, green sand, and re-vita pro fertilizer. IMG_1096IMG_1097 IMG_1100 We use a hand cranked broadcast spreader to evenly apply the amendments. IMG_1099 After that, the beds are either transplanted into IMG_1104 Or direct seeded, using an Earthway planter IMG_1115 IMG_1116 IMG_1117 All that is left to do is watch the plants grow!

The garlic is up!

Last fall, we received our seed garlic bulbs.  The variety were are growing is a hard neck garlic called “Russian Red”.

We separated the cloves individually IMG_0603 IMG_0601

And planted them in a deeply worked bed in late October IMG_0604 IMG_0605

Now, in mid March, just days after the ground had thawed, they have already sprouted!  It is so refreshing to see new growth in spring!IMG_0774[1]

A Late Summer Night’s Walk Out To Our Farm

After a short walk from our house to the farm using the path we created this year

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We arrive at the farm that looked like this in May

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Here is the farm now with 6 plots under cultivation:

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There are beautiful fall brassicas growing

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Lettuce mix of different ages

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Beds of swiss chard so pristine it makes you wonder why anyone needs pesticides when they look this good without them…

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Stunning beds of cutflowers

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Pumpkins that will ripen shortly before the frost dances in October

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Next years strawberry plants

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A young fall crop of spinach

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A wonderful sandy loam soil freshly seeded with fall cover crops

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And amazing sunsets

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The farm now supports itself.  Everything (financially) was done from income generated from the farm.  All farm income comes from local customers, and, to that end, this is the farm our customers have built.  This is the farm Ontario, Mansfield, Lexington, and Shelby have built.  With each CSA share, with every sale at every Farmers’ Market, with folks calling and asking if we have 20 quarts of strawberries, our customers have supported our farm.  We no longer add any of our off farm income to the farm.  All that we add is our time, and we are more than happy to add it.  We’re proud of this farm, and, hopefully, our customers, and communities, are as well.

Thank  you all.  This plot of land is our canvas, we “paint” a little more on it every day.

-The Saltzgivers