Friday, October 29, 2010

End of year Review

I haven't read the Survey Responses yet, so that may be a separate post, but here is the end of season review:

People ask me lots towards the end of the season how it went, and I heard myself saying, "average" more often than anything else.  This is a more complex average though than some.  This year was certainly better than the last one, and basically equal to the one the year before that, which at that time I would have characterized as great.  But great is the new average for Open Heart Farm.  In other words, our curve is continually sloping upward, our expectations are greater for the future.  Three years ago getting great fall carrots was difficult for us, but with the help of Dylan from Digger's Mirth, who told me the timing for fall seeding, it seems like it will be a snap to repeat from here on out (knock on wood for all these things).  There are many cases like this.  Potatoes, melons (still have to learn how to gauge ripeness a little better, but we had twice as many). Our lettuce mix was of far better quality this year, we just asked the experts their drying process and followed it.  Onions and garlic were probably the best size so far for us (onions may have been slightly bigger our first year), and we had more of our own garlic seed than ever (which I just finished planting yesterday).

Tomatoes were average I would say.  Lots of new varieties that worked and a few that totally didn't work, so my goal for next years are to retrench to the classics plus the super-successes.  I do think that the consensus is that we gave out a bit too much lettuce, which was mostly due to the death of 1/3 of our kale, which in turn was due to a little fly known as sweet midge.  It just wiped out one entire variety of the three.  So that too is an easy fix, stick with the good two and just do more of them.  Brassicas were the one area that keep us at a B and not at least an A-.  I would have liked to have more early and fall broc and cauliflower.  Some of that is fixable, and some will be dependent on what we and the rest of the Intervale farmers can find out about sweet midge (its getting everyone and I suspect will spread).

Eggplant and Peppers continue to elude us, at least in the numbers I would like, so more winter projects.  I think the cold fall robbed us of a few eggplant, but you'd like it to be a little more sure-fire.  Leeks were the allium that got away mid season, only to be at least a little saved by Jessyloo and her mini-scythe later.  That was a loss I could live with.  There is always one thing that gets away from you, and as long as its a more minor thing, fine.  Fall spinach was probably its best for us so far.  As I'm going through it all I am realizing that in part the addition of more land has been such a giant factor in allowing me to do succession planting, which means if the first spinach, carrots etc. doesn't work, the next one probably will, and if they all work well then you have a lot of x.

One thing that can't be underestimated in this years success (remember this average was last year's great) was our Working members and Workers.  Jessyloo and Natalia and Addy all worked tirelessly.  And the working members brought lots of work, but also lots of positive attitude.  Every one of the four went the extra mile, often on those hot or rainy days, and I can't tell you how much an extra hour or two of work can accomplish on a small farm.

Please comment.  Like I said, I haven't yet read the surveys, which will definitely give a bit more direction to next years plans.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Herbaloo, Earth Apprentice said...

Best Farm Ever! If you love to eat love, this is the place to harvest!

1:40 PM, November 07, 2010  

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