We've been pretty busy over the last few months getting ready for the 2012 growing season! A lot goes on behind the scenes that many people don't realize so we thought we would take some time to share a little of the process with you in order to give you a better understanding of our farm...
The first thing we need to do each year is decide how many members we can realistically take on given the resources available to us. This year we decided that 40 shares was the maximum we could do without compromising the quality of our boxes.
Next, we need to decide what we are going to fill those boxes with! This is probably the most important and most complicated part of the planning process. In order to keep your boxes full of quality produce each week we need to plan crops that will be ready in early spring - late fall. Some things will grow very quickly and can handle a hard frost, some (like tomatoes, egg plant, and peppers) are very delicate and take a long time to mature, different crops also need different soil temperatures to germinate, some can be direct seeded while others do better as transplants. This is also the point where your feedback from last yrs surveys are taken into account ;).
We actually plan out each week based on the time it takes for each crop to mature so that we have a pretty good picture of what will be in your boxes every week for the season. Of course weather and other variables have to be taken into account but we get a pretty good idea.
Once we know what's going in the boxes we start planning how much of each crop we will need, how much space is required for those amounts, and when the plantings will need to occur so that the crop is ready to harvest when the plan calls for it. At this point we order seed and finish up our planting schedule.
Finally, we start working on our "greenhouse plan". We don't have a large greenhouse yet, but we call it a greenhouse plan because it relates to when we actually start our seed indoors for the transplants. We also rearrange the house to accommodate for all of the seed trays and lighting units we have to fit in!!! This yr we also have a very small greenhouse that we will use in the early spring to harden off our transplants.
Before you know it... its time to start seed! That's what we're doing now. We are also gearing up to start inoculating shiitake logs in early April. Let us know if you're interested in helping out, we'll let you know when we have a date lined up!
We are really excited about this season and looking forward to being your farmers again! Please be sure to let us know if you are planning to participate in our CSA again this year as we will only be growing for 40 shares.
Bryan Crigler & Katelyn Foerster