2008 Long Summary

The season went well.

Weather: The year started a bit shaky-winter took a long time to end, the spring was cold and wet, and once we got a good amount of the farm plowed and planted, the heavy spring rains came and caused a bit of damage. After that, though, the weather was pretty good for farming. We got rain pretty regularly, even in August, and the soil and plants were usually dry enough when we wanted them to be. Our frost also didn't come until October 15, which was also nice.

Soil: Our soil started very high in all essential plant nutrients, had good structure, and was easy to till in most areas. We had a few problem areas that were high in clay, low in organic matter, or at a low spot in the field where the water drained These were harder to till, didn't produce as much, and were harder to dig for things like potatoes. We took care of the major bad spot by making it into a wide path, which ended up being pretty useful. We had some water erosion in the early spring rains, but we were lucky to not have any of the flooding that a lot of other farms in the area had this year. We also got some good stands of rye planted in the summer and fall, which should help everything in the year to come.

Tools, buildings, and other means of production: This was our first year, and so the majority of our problems were in this area. A lot of people donated or lent us tools that improved our year; we probably wouldn't have gotten our spring vegetables planted if we hadn't been lent a rototiller, and with donated building materials and truck, and a loaned trailer and construction tools, we were able to renovate our shed and Alice and Colette's home/RV, which were big projects we're happy to have accomplished so much on. We also got our well pump working, got posts put in for fences when we need them, set up some gutters and rain barrells, bought a drip system that worked pretty well, and amassed a good collection of hand tools.

Plants: We had a few plants that didn't grow as well under the conditions at our farm: the whole squash family had serious amounts of insects eating them, our carrots didn't germinate very well because we didn't have the ability to water the seeds when we planted them, plants that we planted in what used to be pasture generally got taken over by weeds, and a very large number of our sweet potatoes were chewed on by something while they were underground. Beyond these specific problems, we were very proud of our successful production of vegetables in general. We were able to distribute varied and substantial boxes to our CSA members through the spring, summer, and fall, and provided good amounts of vegetables for our workers and other people that needed them throughout our area.
We also got some plants put in for the years to come: a row of perennial herbs and flowers as erosion buffer/insect habitat, as well as several raspberries shoots, some hazelnuts, a few juneberry bushes, and two apple trees. We also found some mulberry trees and an elderberry bush already growing on our land.

People: Again, this was our first year, so having enough people to get all we wanted done was another major difficulty. However, as the season went on, more workers came to the farm, and with their help, were able to accomplish all of the things in this summary. We're grateful for the help our friends and neighbors gave us throughout the year.

Other animals: Our beehive in the spring started out with an empty hive, a queen, and a box of workers. By the end of fall they had filled two boxes with food. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough honey for us to take any. Also, our miticide application was late and thus very incomplete, and the varroa mite is something of a serious problem in the US, so at this point the hive might be close to empty again, or they might be dead. We'll see in spring. We also have some mice which live in our shed, which ate some our sweet and normal potatoes after we dug them up, and might have been what ate the sweet potatoes before we dug them up. We killed some of them with some mousetraps. We have plans for but don't have any domestic animals beyond the bees.

alice notes: i believe this fine summary was written by Nicholas Leete.