Dec 15, 2008

Farming 101

Even as I continue to relish this fresh crop of snow, it's apparently only 3 months or so until the real work of farming begins. So i made a list of things we need to learn by then, to be able to plan and operate our farm. Ultimate goal is to never buy a zuchini again. More specifically, to grow and preserve almost all our own fruits and veggies for year-round consumption, plus have one or a few crops or products for income generation.

So, in case any of you worry that I'll become lazy or brain-dead in this new leisurely farm life, here's the list so far. Any suggestions about things to add, resources, or knowledge you may have is very very welcome:

Ag Tax exemption – rules, application procedure and timing
Crop rotation, cover crops
Cowichan Land Trust
Forest management, firewood types
Greenhouse – rebuild, maintain, heat
Hunting (deer, rabbits, quail) – how, licensing, processing
Organic rules, certification -
Root cellar – how, when, what…
Seed saving , sources
Seedlings, transplanting
Volunteers – WOOFers, etc

Fruit trees: plant, harvest, prune, preserve, sources
Apples, crabapple, asian pear… , Pear, Plum , Quince, ...

Berries: Blackberries, Blueberries, Grapes, Mulberry , Oregon grape , Raspberries, Rosehips, Salal, Saskatoon berries, Strawberries

Crops: Types, market, prices, soil type and prep, care (weeding, fertilize, pest control), timing, preservation, intercropping, costs:
Asparagus, Beans, Beets , Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage , Carrots , Cauliflower, Corn , Garlic, Kale, lettuce, greens , Oats, quinoa, barley… to replace hay , Onions , Peas , Peppers , Potatoes, Pumpkins, Sarsaparilla , Spinach, Squash, zucchini, Tomato , Turnips, rutabaga

Other food growing stuff: Hay – care, who to harvest, Hazelnuts , Maple syrup, Mushrooms

Animals: Alpaca , Bees , Chickens – types, shelter, care, where to buy, breeding, meat processing; Cow, Goats, Rabbits , Sheep

Questions to ask people: Marketability of crops, etc; Resources (groups, lectures, books, websites); People to ask, farms to visit…

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rick, great blog. I look forward to reading more of your postings.

    Heather and I are interested in learning many of the things on your new farmer's knowledge and skills wish list too. It might be worthwhile getting together a little group of new farmers to share what we know and share the work of researching what we don't.

    With respect to pruning, for instance, I would recommend keeping your eyes out for a free seminar from Mr. Dinter at the nursery around the corner. We went last year and learned a lot. It didn't make us experts, but it gave us the confidence and enough skills to tackle our dense trees earlier in the year. We look forward to trimming them again once the snow is gone. You'd be welcome to join us to lend a hand or just watch if you're interested in seeing rookies try to tame unruly trees.

    We also have a lot of good books on organic gardening you could borrow when you're over next time. If you're at the public library, check out Steve Solomon's "Gardening West of the Cascades." I found it very practical and particularly liked his planting distances chart.

    Look forward to seeing you all again soon,