Summer update - produce deliveries coming up.
Been working hard. So for a quick update (rest of the pictures if you'd like to see everything growing check out http://www.facebook.com/virginiavegetablecompany
So all my new plants are starting to produce: cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and watermelons. Likely in July for those that backed me for a produce box will receive tomatoes too!
I haven't gotten back many farm lunch replies for June 27th so I'm considering pushing it all to July 18th. You are always welcome to stop by if you are in the area.
Since March it has been non-stop farming. Crazy thing is I did this kickstarter to put on new roofs and I only still have half of one on! I've recently had another contractor bid on putting them on and that was way high too. I am considering just putting on a light shade cloth on both coops with a strong tie down and calling it a day. My plants are already doing excellent without the heat/plastic and I'd rather focus on just finishing the farm up so I can just think and do farming. Since I put on two new sheets I've had the same repetitive issues with the top roof wood pieces breaking off and loosening the top (this is not good - creating huge water pockets when it rains. I've stretched the sides out but I'm starting to think even though I initially leased this farm this way originally it is really really pushing it on a roof not made to be light (the wind pushing it up/down constantly pulling out nails). To rebuild the sides correctly/structurally it would cost a ridiculous amount for the space I'm using. So, the goal is just to repair my original high tunnel still with double poly plastic and the rest just with a shade cloth that air can just pass through. Sure, I won't be farming more high dollar crops into the frost, but I can farm more which I think is much more important.
I've built many tomato/flower gardens. The tomatoes were composted last year and I didn't think of anything. Now they are just extra plants in all my beds (around a 100 I left - originally 1000, they still pop up like weeds)
Finished all my 240 tomato hydroponic buckets, planted over 300 pepper plants, 400 cucumber plants, 200 squash, 200 zucchini, 100 okra, 100 egg plants, and around 300 flower varieties (celosia, zinnias, snapdragons, and gladiolus) and 150 melon plants. I don't even know what to expect in producing amounts - but I hope it's a lot so I can start selling more at roadside stands/farm to table events.
My CSA delivery business has doubled since my last season, but still not quite enough to live on. I keep my lifestyle extremely minimalistic to get by. I keep looking ahead and I think moving in the direction of finishing one coop and doing the rest with simple tops will get me to the finish line where I need to be to focus more on farming.
Oh, and I had to 100% rebuild my greenwall hydroponic tower area. It's crazy how it took me a days trying to build it by myself just to break it down in an hour. It's working now and my plants are constantly feeding so that's a relief. NOW if I could ONLY find my leaks with my tomatoes or is it just the constant 120 heat and transpiration?
Well, next update hopefully will be the finished deck/tiki bar for when we "meet and eat".
(Below companion planting with sweet corn, radishes, and watermelons)