Posts Tagged 'tractor'

…aaaand, we’re BACK!

After a dormancy approaching 2 years (really? really!! time flies!), I realized it’s time to crank up this blog again – just in time for the new season.  We didn’t REALLY fall off the face of the earth. We’ve continued to send out emails, and have been active on Facebook, with some Tweeting thrown in from time to time, but I know that a number of our fans don’t “do” Facebook, not everyone is on our email list, and many don’t appreciate being bombarded with constant emails. So, I’m brushing off the rust, oiling the gears…ready to blog it!

Lots of things have happened in the intervening months. It’s the cycle of  life on a farm – preparing, planting crops, weeding, harvesting, selling, delivering, removing, recharging, then starting all over again. And in between each one, there’s weeding, dealing with unexpected stuff – sometimes good, sometimes not – more weeding, and in the summer, mowing and mowing and mowing – oh, and weeding! Then somewhere in the mix, throw in a crop of baby chicks to replenish the flock, after decimation by coyote and feral dogs… yep, life on the farm is NEVER boring.

Bee Heaven Farm collage

Last year on the farm

We saw new markets start, and others die out. The Homestead Market at Losner Park and the Overtown Market on 10th Street did not return in 2011-2012, and were sorely missed. But the slightly less hectic pace let us concentrate on the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market, where we had a great season. We’ll be back in Pinecrest in December.

Last year we started using Farmigo’s  CSA software system. We’ve fully automated our CSA enrollment process and are now able to offer more flexibility with share options and payment plans. In the summertime, when the CSA isn’t running and we don’t sell at the farmers market, we’ve always had a prepaid system (open to anyone) to order seasonal summer items – mainly tropical fruit. We implemented Farmigo’s webstore functions for this, and expanded our summer pickup locations to include the Upper Eastside Market, where our more northerly customers could pick up their orders without having to schlep down to Joanna’s Marketplace in the Dadeland area or to the farm in Redland. That’s worked out really well!

Our CSA options expanded last year, with the discovery of locally-grown Sem-Chi certified organic rice right in the Clewiston area barely 100 miles from the farm, and the debut of local salt farmers Midge & Tom with their Florida Keys Sea Salt. As more local organic (or pesticide-free) producers come online, we continue to develop additional stability and more variety in the shares.  We’re always looking for new crops, too. We have an amazing opportunity in South Florida to explore tropical food crops not available in the rest of mainland USA, and we’re all about that! Of course, Mother Nature always has the last word.

…see you around!

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Preparing the ground

Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition

We’re prearing various planting areas all over the farm. Some, like the section containing scallions that ‘oversummered’ (seen in the front of the picture), are simply weeded by hand, amended with compost,  and the irrigation checked. Some areas are tilled with the tractor – you can see me in the background making the second pass on this field, after having waited 10-14 days after the first pass for weed seed to sprout. When there is sufficient time, we till a third time (not this season – we got behind because of all the rain). The repeated tilling reduces weed pressure on the planting beds. The next step is to form up the beds.  I do this with a bedder attachment on the tractor. Then we add compost and fertilizer, lay down the irrigation lines, and put up trellising where needed.

A fork in the Road…

I took the fork in the roadToday was the day to start tilling. I took off the front end loader, put on the tiller implement, started the tractor, and STOP!

Looks like we hit a fork in the road. Literally. I guess it came from the rock pile I was using to fill in low spots in the driveway…

Robert (Possum Trot) came to my rescue, with a radial plug and an air tank. Thanks to his prompt action, I was able to get started within an hour of the mishap.

Still, I only got part of the first pass done – the Sunn Hemp plants had been so tall a lot of them got knocked down whole when they got mowed. Consequently, there were some very long fibrous pieces. I couldn’t till cross-wise everywhere, so ended up with a lot of plant material wrapped around the tines. Finally, I had to stop to unravel the accumulation, with Muriel’s help.

Tomorrow is another day – we’ve already taken the fork in the road, so now our path is set!


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