Working to equip West Virginia small farm families with the information and education required to make them both sustainable and successful.
Monday, April 19, 2010
A Spring Day: Cleaning, Planting, Meeting, and Progressing
When we first arrived at the Market Garden, we were eager to see if last week's onions had made any progress. We were so pleased to see some of the "fruits" of our labor had started to peek through the soil. Also, this was our first trip to the Mill with our new and gorgeous fence finally complete!
We then finished removing all row covers, frames, and stakes from the property. We will be changing the location of some crops due to lessons learned from last year... and the devastating tomato blite. (Photo below: Tom McConnell, Director Small Farm Center)
While some of the team finished the clean up, Carrie See (Program Coordinator) and Tom McConnell (Director) met with Barbara Broxterman (Agricultural Engineer) from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) about our soon-to-be installed drip irrigation system. "NRCS is the Federal agency that works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems". They are celebrating their 75th year of "helping people help the land". While at the Market Garden, Carrie, Tom, and Barbara walked around and discussed different ideas about how to maximize water, gather necessary materials, and increase production for the season. Anyone can contact NRCS for help or information by visiting NRCS Homepage, or by viewing their employee directory, which is organized by service centers throughout the state (Employee Directory with service center locations). (Photo below: Barbara Broxterman and Carrie See)
The next question is, "what will the irrigation cost?" Most systems cost about $2,700 per acre. So we must decide if we can afford it and if we must consider irrigating only a portion of the garden for now. We also have another challenge; our only water supply is "city water". We are presently considering the water costs, added to the annualized cost of the system.
Following Barbara's visit, the team began our planting and tilling for the day. Adam tilled four new rows. Meanwhile Kellen, Carrie, and I weeded out our clover cover crop and planted two rows of peas. Next, we planted a few rows of greens (both lettuce and spinach).
During the weekend and beginning of the week, our field will be tilled. This allows us to begin our corn and potato planting shortly!