Winter Farming: It’s All in Your Head

My desk at the moment: seed catalogs, planting spreadsheets, tractor manuals...it must be winter!

My desk at the moment: seed catalogs, planting spreadsheets, tractor manuals…it must be winter!

The winter is typically a slow time on a produce farm.  The air is cold, the ground frozen, and there are simply limited things that you can do.  It’s a stark contrast to the busyness and long days of the spring, summer, and fall seasons.  Winter is the time of year that planning for the upcoming season happens: which plants and more accurately which variety of the different plants will we grow this year?  This, on the surface might seem like a simple answer, and maybe it would be for a more experienced farmer.

After years in dairy farming, livestock, and working with local growers, this year is my first year growing produce on my own at our Hometown Harvest Farm (yes, we’ve renamed Spring House Manor Farm as we continue to settle into our home).  So I am taking a lot of time to do the research, and gain an understanding of the different varieties of plants available and what I’ve come to learn about what you, the Hometown Harvest customer, prefer.  What minerals need to be in abundance in the soil for optimum health?  What are the common pests, and how do you deal with them?  How many seeds do you need to order?  How close do you plant the plants?  Do they need to be trellised? Covered?  Do I pick a wider variety of crops, to spread my risk out, or do I pick a few number of varieties to simplify my plan?  These are all the questions that I am exploring and learning about right now.

Every year, for almost 6 years, I have sat down with our growers in the winter to discuss our needs and plans for the year.  I have always come to those meetings with a deep appreciation for their hard work over the past season, and excitement for the growth that we both will experience in the upcoming spring.  This year, though, I will sit down at those meetings with a new understanding and admiration of their knowledge and ability to plan each year in order to provide us such a wide variety of high quality produce, especially given the growth that many of our farmers have seen through your support.
Chicken tracks in the snow at Hometown Harvest Farm.

Chicken tracks in the snow at Hometown Harvest Farm.

Advertisements

One thought on “Winter Farming: It’s All in Your Head

  1. Let me know if you guys want to sit down and talk seeds! I’d be happy to spend a morning with you and share experiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s