Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What does a farmer do in the winter?

Did you ever wonder what we farmers do in the winter? Everyone knows there are many long days to be worked during the summer. But when there is snow on the ground, there is very little that can be done outside. Well, here are a few of the projects which have kept us from sitting idle throughout this unusual winter we are now escaping.

I have mentioned before that we do not use any synthetic chemicals in our flower and vegetable gardens. To accomplish this we pull weeds by hand and fertilize our u-pick fields with Compost. In total on the farm we spread approximately 150 tonnes of composted manure each year. It takes quite a bit of work to properly turn 250 tonnes of raw manure into usable compost, so to make the job a little easier this season we built this machine. This compost turner will mix up the piles of manure a couple times during the year to create an excellent product to put on our fields. This project kept us busy for the better part of a month with over 50 hours of welding alone. It still needs to get a paint job this summer, but for the mean time you can tell that the metal parts came off at least 5 old, unused machines on our farm.

Another idea I have had in my mind since moving back to the farm was to build a greenhouse. For the past 4 years we have worked with Leona from the Jungle Farm at Innisfail to start many of our flower transplants in her greenhouse. Now that we are starting a CSA vegetable delivery program, it was time to start all our plants right here on the farm. With the exception of the plastic, the Greenhouse was built from extra metal we had on the farm. Instead of heating the unit with a natural gas furnace we built a heat exchanger on the top of a wood stove which circulates air and water throughout the greenhouse during our cool nights.

Finally, one of the less know operations on our farm is the selection of over 30 varieties of Mail Order Seed Potatoes we grow for home gardeners. Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes. We built this machine which rolls the potatoes as they pass by so we can make sure the potatoes we package have no blemishes. If any of you grow a garden, we will be selling and shipping potatoes until the end of April.

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