Pollan, I owe you one.

Almost 3″ total this week – water table in the market garden is about 8″ down.  Meaning I dig a hole and water wells up to within 8″ of the surface.  Luckily, other than one event, the rains were slow and steady and WOW has Spring Sprung!  Everything is blooming and budding out.  Its still early so fruit tree yeilds could get nailed by a frost, but I a stoked for a very early and long asparagus season.  Last year was the Year of the Apply on the farm with yeilds up 200%.  We’ll see what we get this year.

With all that rain, not much was done.  Tues and Wed saw highs only in the 40’s – and Wed had snow so field work was not happening.  Cut and delivered another 15#’s of greens on Tuesday and planted more peppers and started the first 100 “hills” of winter squash.  Excited for the squash plan this year.  Going with 4 kinds – Musquee de Provence (20#’s of deliciousness –each– and GORGEOUS), Austrian Butter (MASSIVE amounts of flesh and reportedly divine), Pennsylvania Crookneck (think Waltham with 3x the flesh), and Guatemalan Blue Banana.  The latter I have high hopes for – it is oblong and smallish – say 4#’s.  The key is that the flavor is outstanding (according to Fedco) and as its shaped like an over ripe zucchini you can cut a “round” or two off it, microwave it and have single serve winter squash.  Are you serious?!  Sign me up!  I bought 400 seeds…  The squash will go in a loose 3 sisters type polyculture again this year.  But we are getting strategic with our siting.  There are 3 Percheron mares on farm in rotated pastures.  Over the past decade they  have developed “pooping stations” where the drop their business and never graze.  We intend to till under several of these (some are over 1000 sq ft), fence them off and plant heavy feeders in there like corn, squash, etc.  VERY curious to see the results.  Will it be TOO rich and attract pests?  Or will the corn hit 10′ by August?  Time will tell.

Greens are selling waaaaaaaay better than I thought.  I jacked my price up since they are such a pain – transplanting, starting, watering, harvesting, washing, etc — but EVERY STINKIN WEEK with harvests twice a week as they are so frail.  Compared to my preferred potatoes which are plant once, hill twice, ignore for 45-150 days and harvest over the next 6 months as needed.   But if I am going to see the Energy Farm concept work I need year round income of about $200 a week, every week to pay off the loans for the Uber Hoopty and the Aquaponics.  That means greens, tomatoes, onions, etc.;  I am diversifying.   But even with a 50% price jump and starting 120 plants a week- I didn’t plant near enough – the greens are flying out and I am essentially out of spinach and a week away from being out of lettuce.  WTH?  I think Pollan, Kingsolver, and the guys at Food, Inc should be asking me for a cut.

So here is a shout out to all the eco-celebrities and unsung heroes Fighting the Good Fight and convincing Americans to stop poisoning themselves with processed food.

Its working.


6 Responses

  1. awesome Rob – sounds like its going great. Does that reference to aquaponics loans means you’re going forward with that this year too?

    • Thanks TH. To some extent – we have purchased 3 325 gallon totes and have pumps and gasifiers laying around so it is entirely possible. Much will depend on how stable I can get the market garden operations and how well the Hoop House goes up. the marketing end is going well, so now it is simply a matter of figuring out the timing of the plantings and scaling up appropriately to meet the demand. Getting the phases in place and stable before moving on will be a challenge – there is a huge push to get it all done at once!

      Doing this on rented land in a psuedo co-op adds many layers of complexity which is also slowing things down at the outset, but the added support will pay dividends as the system progresses.

  2. There’s an inn near me that’s very highly rated for its meals, raises its own beef, pork and chicken – all on grass, plus a veg garden. Our people in other words. I saw the owner address a small group of local up and coming farmers. The one thing he said he never had a large enough supply of in the local market was mixed salad greens. He grew a lot of his own and snapped up every leaf he could source locally, but it was never enough. So plant those lettuces, Rob. I wouldn’t be surprised if you tripled your supply and still couldn’t meet demand.

    • ugh – I am reaching similar conclusions. I do NOT like growing greens!! Yet I am looking for used washing machines on freecycle as we speak to up scale my operation. If I need to be doing 50-100#’s a week I need equipment. Rat farts.

      I need to push rutabagas and winter squash more!

      I realize that I am being a spoiled baby “Mwah, mwah, I have more market than the produce I can grow during a recession… poor POOR Rob!”

  3. It’s really inspiring to see such awesome demand for your food. I agree…things are beginning to change. I know Pollan at least played a huge role in my revelation. However, my latest eco-hero is Jamie Oliver.


    He has a new show on ABC, and his goal is to revolutionize the way Americans eat. He’s starting in the schools. It sounds lofty, but he DID it England already…

    I’m enthralled…and I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already.

    • Kevin, I actually watched the premiere and was very impressed with him. Disgusted by my countryman in general – though that preacher guy restored alot of hope. I’ve been tracking him on FB but haven’t brought myself to watch another show. It is a lesson that thus country needs.


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