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This Week on the Farm 1/13
We would like to give a big thank you to all of our members who have already sent in their 2016 sign up forms! We have a lot of bills to pay in January, and the shares that come in early help us cover the cost of seed, fuel for the greenhouse, potting media, pots/trays, and other supplies that help us get the season rolling.
It has been a quiet few months here on the farm. Tyler is working off farm and Devin and I have been busy doing the things two year olds like to do during the day. Our biggest news from the tail end of 2015 is that we bought a tractor. Like our other tractors it is used, but unlike our other tractors it wasn’t built in the 1950s. We purchased an AgcoAllis tractor built in 1991 from a dealer near Waterloo. It had one previous owner who used it on his dairy farm until he sold his equipment because he was retiring. It is in really great shape and we are looking forward to having a tractor that has more kick.
The main reason that we decided to purchase another tractor was the fact that our three row transplanter is really too big for any of our other tractors to lift. We tried to get by with the Fords for a year and a half, but after all of our issues with the 860 last year (the 3pt hydraulics needing to be overhauled and the broken steering column that left us without the use of the tractor from mid-June through the end of August) we decided to look around for a larger tractor. Our new tractor has double the horsepower of our older tractors, it has an open cab with canopy (which will be nice for the driver during the summer to get a little bit of shade), and, most importantly, it has a creeper gear. The creeper gear will allow us to drive down the field slowly enough to transplant crops as close together as 9 inches in the row. When transplanting with the three row transplanter using the Fords we had to ride the clutch the entire way down the field, which is hard on the engine and hard on the left leg of the driver, and it was oftentimes still too fast. This creeper gear will make transplanting go way more smoothly and Tyler and I are really looking forward to getting this tractor out in the field.
With the warm weather in November and December we were able to get more work done on our new retail greenhouse. Tyler got the end walls up and we finished spreading the gravel flooring. We borrowed a tractor with a more maneuverable bucket to get the gravel spread. The next step is to cover the greenhouse with our double layer of plastic. We are waiting on shares to come in the mail to cover the cost of the heater and the other electrical system components, and as soon as we have enough money we will place our order. We are hoping to have the greenhouse enclosed by the end of February. That will give Tyler about two full weeks to get all of the wiring done. Our plan is to have it operational by the end of March. We should have enough room in our other greenhouses to cover our CSA crops as well as the annual bedding plants until that point, but after that we will need to move the bedding plants into the new greenhouse to finish. The retail greenhouse will open May 1st.
As for activities that have kept us busy in January, we have been placing orders, closing the books on 2015, revamping our website to give more information to prospective members, as well as creating our seeding schedules. This last activity is becoming easier to do each year as we have more experience deciding on planting dates and seeding amounts. We are hopefully going to finish up our direct seeding schedule tonight and then move on to our greenhouse seeding schedule tomorrow. My hope is to have our seeding schedules done by this weekend so we can spend time celebrating Tyler’s birthday.
That’s all for now! Keep warm!