2021 Almost over… Thankfully!
Well I know that it has been a very long time since I have written any updates for the farm. 2021 has not been a good year, as many could testify to, but I have not let it defeat me. Once again we had a busy year for the landscape business, so it took up more time than I planned. This showed in things that I had planned to accomplish on the farm. The colder than normal Spring didn’t allow the hanging baskets and annuals develop as I hoped. Then plants kept arriving, yes I did order these plants, but it was very difficult to keep up with potting them up and keep up with all of the other demands. I finally had to cancel orders because we just couldn’t keep up at that pace.
Then the weeds really started showing up in inside of the coldframe, and I had made a mistake that should have been obvious, but I missed it and paid the price. We had boxes and boxes of trays of plants and under the pressure to get them properly potted I didn’t even think about weed seed in the soils inside the coldframe and just started placing pallet down on the ground. As plants were potted they were staged on pallets to grow out to a plant that could be planted out. Within two to three weeks the weeds started to become an issue and eventually this is the huge mess I had on my hands,
Many people wouldn’t post this kind of thing on their site or social media, but I like to be real and this happened to me because I didn’t think about what I was doing, Hopefully my mistake will help someone else avoid this king of issue which should not have been and issue at all. This was totally avoidable if I had though about what I was doing, Folks don’t create problems for yourself ! There are enough problems lurking around without creating them yourself.
Fortunately I have family around me that are willing to pitch in and help. My son Derek came down with me and we started the clean up process. We were able to retreive the hoses and tripod sprinklers out of this grassy mess. Then we started removing grass and weeds one section at a time. We were able to clean half of the house in just 3-4 hours. It wasn’t plesant, but we got it done.
The next day I was able to come back down to the farm and get some fabric down on the cleared area. I was quite warm inside of the coldframe during the day and I didn’t want to allow anything to get a new hold and start all over. I called my excavator and ordered 25 tons of rock which he was able to deliver the next day.
I was able to reserve a Dingo and spent all day laying rock on half of the coldframe. I also was able to put down some more rock on the driveway and path that leads to the coldframe. Mud has been an on going issue, so any time I can reinforce paths that keep down the mud issue I definately do it.
This side wasn’t quite as bad as the other side so I decided to go ahead and remove the plants before my son was able to come down again to help clean up this side.
This side only took about an hour and a half to clean up.
This is the coldframe as we left it on December 20, 2021. Derek and I were able to move the remaining pots and supplies, removed the vegetation, and lay fabric on this side ready to lay the stone to complete the job. While Derek was there we also hung three solar fans that I had purchased for the coldframe. I need to purchase another fan and this should make a real difference inside next year.
So now I am waiting on my excavator ro deliver 25 tons of rock to coplete the reclamation job of the coldframe. We should never have another weed problem like this ever. There were points during the year that I was very overwhelmed by what happened in the coldframe, and we had a real issue with wild carrot (Queen Annes Lace) this year. Queens Annes Lace may be beautiful in small patches in a filed, but that isn’t what I had. I had it coming up all around the cabin, in front of the coldframe, and along the backside of the coldframe. It looked awful, and as soon as I removed it, it seemd to come right back. So I don’t want that battle again.
Moving forward I am currently researching a growing system for the coldframe, and right now the AutoPot system looks good to me.
I can configure this system a bit differently as it is shown above. I would have to space the left two pots from the right two pots so that I can grow tomatoes in the coldframe for an extended season, while growing tomatoes in the ground also. If this works as I expect we will add additional systems to grow other vegetables that appreciate warm conditions. I have also been crop planning for 2022.
I sat down with a clod based program I use for landscape designing to layout the farm crop beds. I’ve beed watching Charles Dowding, Neversink Farm, and The Dutch Farmer to get some insight into what others are doing. I have decided to do 30″ wide beds that are 15 feet long which is a combination of what each of these peaople are doing. I should have the best of all worlds. The one thing they all did was no dig method, which I appreciate, and plan to also do in my farming efforts. So this should bring everyone up to date. I appologize for the huge break between posts but I just wasn’t happy with what was happening at the farm, and I just couldn’t write about my failures until now. My mind is in a better place with cold weather giving me a break from landscaping and weeds at the farm. With the coldframe all cleaned up now I feel much better about it also. I pray that Covid, and being sick will become a bad memory in the rear view mirror and 2022 will be evidence of better times. I will be posting regularly as we move into a new year. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Mike and Gina White and family