In the post just prior to this one. Yes, that was yesterday's post. Yes, really, I did put a post out there yesterday. You didn't read it? Really?!? Well, you can scroll down to that one and read it if you like, then come on back.
How about now?
Anyway, as I was saying, we were grading our efforts at the Genuine Faux Farm for the year thus far. I thought it might be a good time to discuss what we are thinking we are going to try to do to end this growing season on a positive note. In other words, we're applying a little 2020 foresight once again!
What are we looking to do with the farm for the remainder of the year? What can you expect from us? What can we expect from us? And perhaps, how is 2021 shaping up for GFF?
Poultry - A Foregone Conclusion?
We have a flock of about 75 turkeys. We have an old laying flock of about 70 hens and a new laying flock of about 95 henlets. There are two flocks of 125 broiler chickens at the farm and there are over 100 broilers in freezers.
We have the poultry. We are set up to care for them. There really isn't much choice in the matter - we'll see them through.
About the only things that would stop us would be if we could not physically care for the birds or if there was a natural disaster that eliminated the flocks. And no, we are not asking to try either of those out. And, it is not actually all that easy to transfer the care of existing flocks to someone else. So, for 2020, at least, we will have poultry and we will sell broiler chickens, turkeys and stewing hens. We will continue to collect, wash and sell eggs. And, we will continue to care for these birds with our day-range system.
Besides, the turkeys have learned how to eat zucchini. That's amusing to watch. There is entertainment to be had!
As far as 2021 is concerned, we will likely maintain our laying flock through the Winter, just as we have for many years now. We won't make any decisions regarding poultry until we get into the December through February period. Sorry, no crystal ball forecast on this one!
Veggies - How Hard Do We Push?
We admit that we have not pushed to get the Fall successions of crops into the ground. There were some things up in the air that might have made any efforts in that area completely moot. Rather than plant and then bemoan the fact that we could do nothing for them, we just didn't put them in. There is still some time if we push this week. And, we'll likely put some things in. But, I suspect we are not going to push all that hard.
First, the labor situation will not get better at the Genuine Faux Farm. If anything, it will get worse as we get into mid to late August. And second, with the trends in Iowa for COVID-19 infection rates, we do not expect that we will be able to do much more for bulk sales than we have done thus far. We can move twenty pounds of green beans to individuals, but the potential orders for fifty pounds or more are not going to be there. Twenty heads of lettuce? Yep, probably can sell that. Twenty pounds? Not likely. And third, the dry weather and likelihood of no rain for some time will make getting seeded crops established very difficult.
When we consider the current dry spell, we actually see an opportunity here to complete some of the farm re-organization and re-imagination that we started last Fall. Dry soils will allow us to work them and put in more waterways. In short, we have a chance to set ourselves up for future years if we wish to do so. If we foresake that plan and try to do more than we able this season, then we are less likely to continue with veggie production in 2021.
So - what is the outlook for 2021? Let's put it this way. We love to grow green things. So, we will grow something with some volume next season. With this year's experience, we may have a better idea of what we can do reasonably. It is mostly a question of motivation and endurance for us.
Veggies - What's Already Going?
We do have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans, broccoli, winter squash and other veggies already in the ground and we will continue to care for them and harvest them as they ripen. There are melons in one of the high tunnels. There are some carrots and beets. There is basil. So, it is not like we don't have anything for the future. Shoot, we're hoping the batch of watermelons we put in do us proud as well.
But, you see, this is all part of the picture we have to look at. Can we maintain what we already have while starting and raising new crops? Can we do all of that while properly caring for the poultry? Is it possible we can also perform well in our off-farm jobs?
Ah! You get the picture.
The 2020 Picture as We See It
So, the plan is as follows:
- See all of our poultry flocks through the process and (hopefully) sell poultry meat and eggs.
- See our current veggie crops through to the end and (hopefully) have some good harvests to sell.
- Plant (smaller) new successions of lettuce, peas, green beans, zucchini, cucumber, beets, carrots and spinach and call that good for the year. Maybe add a few late plants of broccoli just to see if we can get them to go in a high tunnel.
- Get some cover crops in the ground
- Dig another swale or two
- Deal with new asparagus plants and maybe we'll have more asparagus in the future.
- Hope for a good apple harvest and maybe share some of those with others
- Do a great job preparing growing areas for 2021 by adding fertility, etc
- Fix a whole bunch of things that need fixing if we intend to keep farming.
- Continue to make progress on exterior house projects before we get to November (famous last words?)
- Clean up perennial beds around the house (we aren't happy with our grade in that area)
- Continue to alternate sale/delivery dates with Cedar Falls and Waverly until mid-October. Select a couple 'weeks off' where we do not do a veg/egg delivery. These may coincide with weeks that we have trips to 'the Park.'
- Plan on scaling back deliveries around mid to late October, but continue to offer eggs and whatever we have left at that time.
There you go. That's what we're thinking. Let's see if we can manage it!
The 2021 Picture as We See It
Every year holds its promises. So, we are looking at 2021 with optimism. Oddly, that optimism does not hold a perfectly clear plan for the Genuine Faux Farm. But, you know us - whatever that plan ends up being, we'll do our best to do it well.