What do farmers do in the winter? Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes!
Dec 22, 2016
It’s the day after the solstice. For the first time since June 21, there will be more daylight today than yesterday. We’ll be starting up the greenhouses again in no time! With this in mind, it feels right that I’m spending my day preparing for the 2017 season.
At 9:00 am it’s still below freezing outside, so I settle in at my desk to work on the 2017 Crop Plan. Today’s project is to finish a spreadsheet outlining the CSA share contents each week. The outline will determine how much, how frequently, where, and when to seed each crop.
After lunch I step away from my spreadsheets, and head to the local irrigation supplies store. Today I’ll be wrapping up the first outdoor winter project—upgrading the water supply to our hoop house and wash station. After inserting the final valves and adapters, the project is complete! Now, thanks to the digging efforts of volunteers Mark Gabrenya and Jeremy Marin to bury the new pipe below the frost line, we’ll be able to run water into the hoop house in March without worrying about the line freezing, and fill up the sinks in the wash station twice as fast!
I begin work on the next winter project—relocating the small hoop house from the side of the farm stand to the equipment storage area. The hoop house will store our red Farmall tractor and field supplies. We’re waiting on a building permit before moving the structure, so today I’m only prepping the metal frame.
At 4:15 the sun dips below the alpaca shed at Silk Fields, and I return to my spreadsheets for the rest of the day. I write a budget for the parts we’ll need to complete the hoop house project, and return to the Crop Plan.
As much as I look forward to harvesting the results of the Plan, the winter has brought a welcome change of pace. Once the farm stand is open the season will be so hectic we’ll only have time to jot down improvement projects as they come up, to tackle next winter. With the fields cover cropped and no vegetables to harvest in the winter, we get to make progress on improving the CSA, the farm stand offerings, and the property itself.