Saturday, February 6, 2010

SPRING IS VERY CLOSE


Hello from Windmill Farm.

I have my list of seeds ready to order and have made a drawing of our back acreage where I want to grow the melons; the corn; the flower beds; the plants that spread out like cucumbers; and have a separate area to grow a few rows of ornamental Indian Corn for the fall decorations. We have a new bedder/rower (that is what I call them) to be towed with the tractor to make these raised beds to grow the plants. It is a renewed concept to have one drip system in the middle of the row, but to have 2 plantings, one on each side of the drip system. This idea is to cut back on the amount of water used but to increase production.

Windmill Farm has received several emails in the last few weeks with people interested in our CSA (Community Supportive Agriculture) memberships of our farm produce for 2010. I have only 5 spots left. I believe more and more people are becoming interested in purchasing their food locally and knowing how their food is raised and where it is grown and how many times the food has been touched before they eat it. It seems like every kind of magazine on the stands has an article about Farmer's Markets or growing food in your back yard or learning how to cook fresh, local vegetables. We work very hard to be good stewards of our land so that we provide you with our very best from our efforts as farmers. We may be senior citizens but we try and keep ourselves informed as to the most current agriculture practices; to use the least if no pesticides and are using composting to renew our soils.

This fall, after the trees were pruned, Frank used his new (used) flayer mower to grind up all the limbs. He made several passes and when he was finished, we had the most beautiful wood and leaf mulch that we spread around the base of the trees to add back nutrients and to aid in water conservation.

Frank and I took a fabulous Orchard Care and Pruning class in January given by Pamela Geisel, Academic Coordinator of the UC Ag & Natural Resources Statewide Master Gardener Program. Presenters were from the Glenn Co Agriculture program and the Master Gardener Program. We learned a great deal about training new trees, pruning overgrown trees; and pest management and fertilization. It was held at the Historical Mills Orchard in Hamilton City, in Glenn County. Pam gives a class in September on curing olives which we plan on attending this year. Our farm has 5 olive trees and we have been experimenting for a couple of years on how best to cure them and put them up in jars so we can't wait to learn more. We really appreciated Pam putting that class together and it was especially helpful having the hands-on training actually pruning trees in their orchard.

In January I also attended the Glenn County Certified Farmer's Market Start Up Meeting put on by Claudia Street. Ms. Street received a grant to start up a Farmer's Market in Glenn Co and Windmill Farm is hoping to have a booth at their market.

Frank and I went to the Colusa Farm Show where we saw some of the latest products for watering and cultivating crops along with fabulous displays of tractors, farm implements and farm products. I picked up a packet and sample pouch to have our soil tested by the Fruit Growers Laboratory, Chico Lab. Getting our soil tested was at the top of my list this year so that I know what our soil may need, and just as importantly, what it may NOT need. No sense in adding what is already there.

It won't be long before my inside time doing farming business and computer work will be limited. As soon as our soil is dry enough to work, we will be outside doing what we love, getting our hands dirty, digging in the dirt.

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