Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A farmer's winter life

I get asked a lot what I do with myself in the winter. The short answer is a glorious "a lot less than in the summer!!" but even seasonal vegetable farming is at least 1/2 time work all winter long. Here's some of what I spend my time at:

Crop Planning
  • SO MANY SPREADSHEETS - CSA share plans, greenhouse seeding plans, field planting plans, crop rotation plans....
Fertility and Soil Health Management
  • analysing fall soil tests
  • researching soil health techniques & strategies
  • calculating amounts for each soil and plant amendment
  • ordering & sourcing amendments such as compost, micro-nutrients, and other foods for plants and microbes

Sales & Marketing
  • strategizing revenue streams for the upcoming season
  • developing CSA registration forms and managing registrations
  • flyer design & delivery and other promotions
  • responding to queries from members & potential members
  • website overhauls, facebook posting etc
  • selling any remaining storage crops...bit by bit...

  • advertising, interviewing & hiring interns & staff
  • coordinating volunteers
  • budgeting, budgeting & re-budgeting
  • taxes & bookkeeping clean-up from the previous season...ugh
  • you might be shocked how much time it takes to track & deposit CSA payments from >200 members!!
Tools, Equipment & Supplies
  • researching & purchasing new equipment & tools (BIG JOB!! It's shockingly hard to find appropriate equipment for a small-scale farm)
  • maintenance and repair of existing tools & equipment
  • ordering field supplies like row cover, bins, irrigation bits, seedling trays etc
Continuing Education & Dreaming....
  •  this year, 4 organic sector/eco-farming conferences, various workshops and a heap of books
  • dreaming, scheming, strategizing, re-focusing, re-conceiving... all that great energizing stuff!
  • takin' care of the ladies!
  • managing the cooler so the storage veg don't freeze, dry out or overheat!
  • keeping a 700' laneway cleared of snow!!

 And, of course, a part-time job off farm & - thankfully - still lots of blessed, blessed rest.