We have placed our orders for seeds and greenhouse supplies and have received most of what we ordered. On back order is our bean seed (enough to plant 2 acres) and red cabbage seed, early girl tomatoes & early sweet corn. These should arrive before we need them and the only seed we could not get this year was for bush delicata squash –we had to substitute the old fashioned vine delicata in place of the earlier bush delicata.
We decided that we ought to try to plant some of the items people have said they want such as the white sweet onions and some carrots and for sure beets and chard. So those seeds are on hand and we will plan on growing some of these items if they turn out for us. We may be able to run an irrigation line from the house back to a field we farm across the road –if we can, we will be able to grow some of these items in large enough quantities to put them in our distributions this year. Please don’t expect to have each of them in more than two or three distributions, and not usually all at the same week. They will be nice to add variety to our distributions, as they are available, but will not be counted on to fill boxes. We have ordered large amounts of the Cole family for this year and are hoping to have a much better supply of broccoli & cabbage in the spring and fall boxes and cauliflower in the fall (we will plant earlier this year).
We have not ordered potato seed yet or sweet potato plants –money is tight and we need to start seeing some subscription checks coming in before we are able to order those or the greenhouse soil etc. We also need to pay the land rents by the end of this month. So… anyone that is able to send their 2012 subscription this month, please do so, we could use around 10 or 12 subscribers to send in their checks as soon as possible –much thanks in advance!
We would like to grow our membership again this year, especially in your neighborhoods. Please help us out by passing on the good word about Walkers Fresh Veggies to anyone that might be interested. They can go to localharvest.org/farms/m26484 to find our listing in LocalHarvest, or they can just send us an e-mail and we can answer their questions. You may feel free to forward this newsletter to all you friends and associates as you wish. This is very helpful to us and to you for we are able to keep our costs and the subscription rate down due to being an efficient size group.
I frequently have people I run into ask me what we do this time of year, so I wish to let you know that before and after the Holidays we do keep busy. I have been fixing all the machinery we use and am working on a new innovation for cultivating between plants within the row (eliminating hand hoeing) I found some old wiggle hoe attachments at a junk yard and am working on a method of mounting one of them to the front axle of my old Ford tractor with a long handle I can reach from the tractor seat allowing me to control the wiggle hoe with my right hand and steer the tractor with my left. It may also be possible to pull a cultivator behind at the same time and cultivate the rows too. This is very important if we are to grow crops without the use of weed sprays and avoid the high cost of hand hoeing. We very often find we cannot control the weeds within the rows of plants, and we just accept that and do the best we can – but it costs yield and makes harvest less efficient in two ways. The weeds interfere and cost time, and the reduced yield usually makes the cost per unit picked higher because we have to cover more ground to get the same amount of crop. Hand hoeing is not only very costly, but is also seldom done correctly. It is nearly impossible to find people who will do the job at all, let alone do it correctly for more than an hour or so. It is hard work and anyone doing it for days instead of just a few hours (as people do in their gardens) must build up to the physical demands. The wiggle hoe has been used successfully by many vegetable growers for years (mostly before the advent of herbicides) but they usually are mounted on the back of the tractor and are operated by riders not the tractor driver. My idea allows me to operate both the hoe and drive the tractor at the same time eliminating the added workers (cost).
It is only 8 weeks until we begin getting the greenhouses ready again to plant the first tomatoes and broccoli and cabbage, there is much to do before then, some inside work and some outside (including pruning the apple trees).
Please have a very good month this January and don’t forget to pass on the word to your friends about us – we really appreciate it!
Mark & Carolyn
Walkers Fresh Veggies
41688 Paw Paw Rd
Paw Paw, MI 49079