January 13, 2024
Seems like when there's less work outside there's plenty to keep up with inside. As all the winter veggies continue reaching for the sun and growing slowly at this time of year. We're working on closing out all of the data from last year's growing season.
Currently we have a seed house which is just a smaller Greenhouse in our front field space I want to designate this one to just flower germination since most of my flowers grow in my front field we've worked extensively in the soil in the back field space which is behind our house in increasing our vegetable production and it seems that it would make sense to go ahead and get a seed house which is again a small Greenhouse put in so that we can grow seeds more closely to where they will be planted. there will be some Fields prep and set up to get this going. we still have some time but it will have to be built in March.
we are also getting ready to purchase and build at the end of the season but we have to do all of the prep work for that now since we'll be putting a greenhouse over existing beds it'll be a bit more difficult to grow in those spaces so that we hit the timing to finish growing in those spaces when we're preparing to start building over them. this will be our first official Greenhouse the other tunnels on the property are a high tunnel about 13 ft wide and either 50 or 100 ft long this greenhouse will be about 25 ft wide and about 50 ft long it'll have more ventilation and sidewalls that roll up as well as a bit more strength and stability for wind resistance. we're hoping to see if we can utilize having a tunnel in the space where the wind hits the field first as a bit of a wind deflector for some of our other crops. we're hoping to continue our season all the way through winter next year and so having this greenhouse will be an additional space for that to happen.
This greenhouse will get purchased in August and build by September
One of the most important things to us on the farm is the soil itself. I started out with a very heavy clay soil and lots and lots of rocks not just little pebbly rocks but pretty reasonable size Boulders that didn't make it very easy to plant in and every time we removed rocks it seems like the clay settled in a very funny way changing the way it retained water and affecting the soil we continue to add layer upon layer upon layer of compost. over the last 5 years we are very selective about our compost, not just organic compost but shiitake mushroom compost. Groundupsoil Our part in the Washington State soil research will be taking soil samples to send out for testing so we can plan the Amendments for next year. In this composting program we will track and monitor the amendments, cover cropping and compost and test over the next 10 years to see the changes each year. The overall soil health and microbio an how it all related to the production and quality of plants on the farm.
Over the last 2 years we have been working with the NRCS on entering into a contract with the USDA and the NRCS for a Conservation Plan. We were finally approved in the spring last year and we have added additional conservation practices to the current ones we already do to improve our stewardship of this land. We will build Bat Housing Bird Housing and add to our native habitat to increase our beneficial friends. We will bring in Mason and honey bees to our farm. Our hens are reset for the next year of rotational grazing and we plan to add about 20 more laying hens while cycling out this year for the first year in 5 years. We track our watering cycles as we have been using drip and overhead small location sprinklers. Our water setup is already pretty efficient. We Will also track our composting and cover crop for this program so it is nice to have some overlap.
Dillon has added a winter job to help us gather extra funds for the upcoming season so if you feel like visiting a farmer and like Ice Cream be sure to stop and say high he works at Salt N Straw after 6pm usually so we can keep up with farming during the day.
This year we plan to continue with the spring and fall shares with a bit of a break in July and August. Since many of you showed interest in getting a full season of CSA shares, we added the option to get shares in July and August for a total of 26 weeks. The 4 extra weeks in July and August are set for every-other so you can get a bit of a break since the Spring and fall will be every week pickups. CSA Registration 2024 We lowered our share price per pickup and increased our weeks of produce we hope that this helps bring more value to what we do and makes it more affordable to feed your family. Thanks for choosing us
Pickup days and locations this year will be
East vancouver Farmers market (Thursdays)
Farm Thursdays and Saturdays
Share add ons will be: Bread, Eggs and NEW Flower CSA
One more thing that we added this year is snap member produce Rewards. I spent some time in September filing for a set of equipment and a program where we could be a pilot Farm in Clark County who is able to give our own produce rewards for SNAP members. This reward offers the opportunity for people who have food stamps to get up to $50 a month put right back on their food stamp card. I want to make it more approachable and affordable for people to get food directly from a farm. so this pilot program offers the opportunity for us to sell our CSA share and teach people how to eat produce that maybe they felt like was out of their budget before. That $50 a month goes right back on their snap card. There's no papers or tokens to deal with and it makes it easier to communicate each month what the total is for CSA shares. Last year we were able to donate three Farm shares to families who didn't qualify for food stamps but still needed food. I hope to utilize our SNAP program to pop up in low-income neighborhoods where it seems like there isn't access to food to try to continue to bring food approachability to people in our community.
If we can show this to be a successful program I hope to run the pilot program here in Clark County and help other small farms gain the same access so that more Farms will have the opportunity to help feed our community.
We are part of the WSU extensions research for growing Shiitake Mushrooms on logs to use a bit more of our forest space to grow more foods. We should have our first fruiting this spring and we will be inoculating more logs in March this year. We want to share what we have learned so we will offer this as a learning opportunity to our members and community. It has been a fun journey so far and it's just beginning.
Thanks for all your support in helping us continue.
That's all for now and I am sure I will keep you posted with more events and farm adventures in the next couple weeks.