Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Big Plan

The plan for '09 is becoming less hazy. It's all well and good to say you are going to raise some veggies in the spring, but one thing gardening will teach you is: You need a plan. You need to plan ahead. Order seeds, prepare the soil, buy tools, sketch out the garden, pick your timeline. You can't run to the Quick-E-Mart for your slushy and farm-fresh broccoli. And, in many ways, that's the point.

Gardening takes time and discipline, two things over which I have never really felt control. But now, I have a goal to raise/barter/trade for 70% of my perishable goods. And that kind of accomplishment takes time.

Now, in the dead of January, it's time to plan for the '09 growing season. And things are getting sharply into focus.

A greenhouse (12' x 20') is being selected and ordered. A list of vegetables has been written up, seeds researched.

The list is impressive. But seeds are cheap and experience is priceless so I will plant a lot and see how it grows:
brussel sprouts
yellow squash
butternut squash
acorn squash

Herbs and Fruits (TBD)

Our compost pile has been turned and pvc pipes run into it so it can breathe. We're in USDA Zone 5b here so most plants will not go into the ground until May, but I will start them early in the greenhouse and use cold frames to extend the growing season.

Today I put in an order for 25 more straight run layers. I will cull all but the best 10 to go with my current 10.

I also ordered free-range broilers, 20 of them. Both sets of chicks will arrive sometime in mid April and the meat birds will be processed by late July.

I have another farm tour planned this week with a local farm that provides chickens (to hold us over until our own are available), raw milk and honey. I also found a local coop grocery which sells grass-fed local beef. It's pricey, but I am happy to give my money to a local farmer instead of a marketer, packager, processor, truck driver. Since 85 cents of every conventional food dollar goes to these "supporting" roles and NOT the farmer, I think buying local, organic food is a bargain at twice the price.

Ok rant over, back to planning.

How's this all going to work? I work full time and have an hour and a half commute each day. The SO telecommutes from the farm, about 50 hours a week in the winter and 20 hours a week in the summer. Most of the labor will not be done by the author of this blog, but by my SO. I provide the financial backing, the research, health insurance and the sheer positive energy (we CAN do it!) and labor as I can on the evenings and weekends. The point is that we are going to do this and we both have "other" jobs. With good planning, proactive fixing (spend 5 minutes today to fix a problem rather than 30 minutes tomorrow), and a whole bunch of luck, we'll meet our goal within the next five years.


leah said...

Your plan sounds so cool. I wish I could do what your doing, but alas I live in a city, in a condo and I board my horse. Land is too far away and too pricey for me right now, but one day...

Funder said...

What, uh, style of gardening are you going to do? Rows, raised beds, square-foot gardening?

I'm a little jealous that you'll get to grow cold-weather veggies like cabbage! But you'll miss out on chilies and okra, those love the heat.

Have you looked into growing mangels or Jerusalem artichokes to supplement the horses' feed?

sylvia said...

Holy shit, daun. You sure are ambitious! And major props to your SO!! And an 1.5 commute!! Wow. :0