Winter Farming: Seeds!

Seeds have arrived! …Now what?

IMG_3468The Plan: I have been working on the Hometown Harvest Farm crop plan for 2015 for well over a month. It has honestly been something I have been stressing over. This plan is what I will follow for the entire season, so I need to try my best to work through all of my mistakes on paper (when they are cheaper).

Pretty much weekly, I would create a plan, then begin to change it a little…then a lot…then I would realize with so many changes all of the seed numbers were wrong…and I basically had to start over. Repeat.

One of the “seeds of wisdom” that I took from the Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention last month was that I needed to simplify my crop plan, as well as plant a small field in the same configuration that I plan to use next year when I move production to our big field.

The main adjustment I made to the plan was to focus more on “block growing”, a method that consists of grouping crops into blocks. I may plant different varieties of that crop in a block, but it will be the same crop. For example, I am growing 7 different types of heirloom cherry tomatoes grouped into one block. This type of planting helps me forecast the supplies I will need, as well as the various diseases, insects, and weeds I need to become more familiar with. Plus, next year when we move to the big field, I hopefully will be very comfortable with these plants, and be ready to add additional types of produce to the rotation.

The Seeds: Now that my plan was in order, I created our seed order. It felt really good to finally submit the order and know that this step is now complete. I am invested in this direction now. The Hometown Harvest Farm is on its way!

The seeds arrived a few days later with a few on backorder to arrive in the next 30-45 days.

FullSizeRenderIt is pretty amazing to see those packets of seeds n my desk, and think that this little amount of seeds cost nearly $1000. I guess I was picturing a huge box arriving for that money…another one for the learning curve!

So now that the seeds have arrived…what’s next?

The Questions: While there are obviously countless things we still have to learn about our first year of sustainable vegetable production, here are a few questions that we are studying at the moment.

  1. What is the best way to stake tomato plants, especially when you are planting over 1800 plants?
  2. What specific supplies will we need? And how much more will that cost?
  3. This year we do not have an onsite greenhouse to get seeds started. Last month, I began a conversation with a local greenhouse grower about having him start the seeds for me. How much will this ultimately cost and how will the timing of the planting be affected?

I have plenty more items on my farm agenda, but these are the most immediate issues to be worked out. Good thing there are plenty of subzero days to keep me inside and working it out!

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