January on the farm brings with it an excitement for the new season ahead. We enjoy a slow-paced progression of projects and farm planning. It is a much more relaxed time of year for our family, and often offers a chance to spend some quality time together, embarking on little adventures and sleeping in past 6 a.m.
Back in September or October, I applied for the 2019 floret online course scholarship. I was not one of the few that received the full scholarship, but I was fortunate enough to receive partial credit towards the course and decided to go for it. In October I went ahead and signed up and eagerly awaited the arrival of my course packet in November. Then I waited and waited some more until the course finally began the first week of January. I am only two thirds of the way through and have learned a considerable amount already. We have already begun to implement a few ideas here on our farm! It is also helping me organize my seed sowing schedule so hopefully we can offer a continuous outpouring of seasonal flowers this year! I pored over seed packets and plans for a few days, arranging and re-arranging everything. Then I moved on to the pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash. After a few days of playing with numbers, graph paper, spread sheets and seed packets, I think I have finally settled on a plan.
This month we are mowing borders, planting seeds, weeding, dividing mums, and watching our babies and cover crop grow. We planted three different types of cover crop this year. Pictured below is a brassica mix we planted to add organic matter to the soil and crowd out weeds on the half of the farm not currently in use. On all the beds we plan to plant in harvestable crops this year, we planted a mix of peas, oats, and vetch to add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil. It should help to fertilize our plants naturally. Lastly we planted about 5,000 sq. ft. of winter wheat. We went ahead and got the high quality stuff because David wants to try harvesting it for flour. I want it to use in flower arrangements and fall wreaths, but there will be enough for both purposes, I hope! His grandfather had an old mill that his dad has held on to and it just might be getting cleaned up this summer. The wheat should also help to suppress the weeds, which is a huge plus.
David has been spending a fair amount of time designing and building lately. He has been working on a few projects for me, as well as building a cutting table for the shop. Below is a dibbler/seed and stake holder he designed and built for the farm. The rows are spaced 3 inches apart, and so are the holes. We can change where the bolts are located so that they make indentations in the soil at specific spacings. This is super handy when it comes to planting things that are done in small plantings. He wants to keep tweaking and says this is just a first edition, but I'm a fan.
We have added two caterpillar tunnels to the farm this year and plan to add another three to the fleet soon. They keep all the frost off and increase both the temperature and humidity inside to give us a jump start on the season. One currently houses our sweet peas and the other lettuce. The sweet peas are doing great, and I am looking forward to their wonderful fragrance filling the air in another month or two. The lettuce we have been having a lot of heartache with. I am not going to lie, we really suck at lettuce farming this year. Every two weeks we sow another round, even though the last one looks horrid. Our soil crusts over immediately even when it is wet and the poor little guys just can't push through. We just started the first "greenhouse" starts in a sunroom off David's parents' house and they came up beautifully. I guess that is how we will have to do it from now on, even though it is an extra step.
Our "bock bocks" as Evelyn calls them have FINALLY decided to lay other colors besides plain old brown. The hen on the right is a silkie mix, and she is currently setting on a little clutch of eggs we hope hatches soon. One of the chores here on the farm that Evelyn already helps with is feeding the chickens and ducks. She takes it very seriously and does not appreciate it when I do it for her.
We are building, growing, learning, and teaching our girls that when you fall down you get right back up, shake off that dirt, and just keep going.
As we look forward to February, there are a few things coming. First, we will be putting on a little Valentine's Day flower sale. We will have both roses and tulip bouquets available for pick up at Lely pump company 211 East Walker street in Orland. We are also hoping for the first lettuce harvest, so stay tuned!
Just a little thank you to my mom, Jaime, who followed us around and took real life farm photos per my request. This is our real life....except I don't generally curl my hair for farm activities!