Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blooms & Gully Washers

North Pulaski Farms received 3.3 inches of rain early this week and I could not be happier with the way the field looks. All the time spent building the drainage system seems to be paying off. Work on leg drilling has paused while Fred dries out, hopefully we can get drilling by the end of the week.
A month ago, this gully washer would have shut field work down for 2 weeks.

Wilma has blooms!!
Our marketing crops of Grape & Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomatoes have started to bloom. The Brandywines have a few very small buds as well.
We staked Wilma’s first two rows of tomatoes today and plan on suckering them later this week. Suckering tomatoes is the process of hand pruning the limbs that do not produce buds. This allows the plant to put more of its energy into fruit production than vine growth.

I just love the smell of tomato vines on my hands. I wonder if Channel will ever have a Brandywine#5.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fred and Farmers

Construction Continues on Fred.

The leg drilling is almost 50% complete and we have started to connect the end struts. The next phase will be bending and installing the poles for the hoops followed by the “skinning” of the tunnels. “Skinning” is the term used to lay the poly over the frame. Weather permitting; Fred should be complete by May 15th.

North Pulaski Farms attended its first farmers market this Saturday at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market in the Argenta district in North Little Rock.

Thanks to Christian Shuffield and Jody Hardin with the CAFM for letting me in on short notice. The only thing we had to sell was promises of good things to come, but we handed out flyers anyway. I got the chance to meet several other farmers and look forward to getting to know them better. Val Sviridov “The Russian Farmer” has even stopped by the farm. I welcome all the help I can get when it comes to farming, and will be happy to assist my peers with any tech knowledge I may be able to offer.

One thing is for sure, this new career of mine is putting me in very good company.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fred has arrived!

After a long journey, our main production system arrived today. The US Customs service inspected the contents and it seems that they did not pack the container back as well as it previously had been. Most of the legs and struts had shifted during transit from Charleston. James & CO had to manually unload most of the container and it took all day. We are almost finished with the trenches and will start drilling legs soon. I have added an event on the calendar page to keep track of the cam’s, so you voyeurs’ will know where to look for what.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fred is in Memphis

I am happy to announce that Fred (his future home in the photo above) just got unloaded from a train in Memphis and is scheduled to be delivered on the 21st. All the way from the UK to the Port of Charleston then by rail to Memphis then by truck to the Farm, Fred is close.
Check out http://www.haygrove.co.uk/ for more information on our field scale tunnel.
The timing is fantastic. We are finishing up the bay trenches and should be able to start leg drilling this week.

Look for updates on the calendar.

Monday, April 6, 2009

blues, bugs and blogs....

Ok so I am listening to BB King’s Bluesville on satellite radio when they play Stevie Ray Vaughn and Lonnie Mac’s version of Oreo Cookie Blues (plugged inn) and I figure its time to give everyone an update on how things are going at the farm.

First of all a special thanks to James Franks for his construction expertise and hard work. Wilma, our well and our indoor plumbing would not exist if it was not for his efforts. Thanks man, keep up the good work.

We are happy to announce several new arrivals for the month of April. First, Fred has arrived in the port of Charleston and if all goes well he should arrive at the farm sometime in mid-April. We will keep our calendar updated with his status.

Secondly, our Brandywines, Arkansas Traveler & Grape Tomato seeds are sprouting daily. Check the calendar in early May for transplanting dates.

Lastly, we have 2 rows of Brandywine’s in the ground inside Wilma. During last week's storms, these 3-5 inch high plants just laughed at mother nature's tears, and no matter how hard she cried outside, they stood their ground and extended their middle leaf at her!!!

We had our first insect issue, and so far, Ants 0, Boiling Water 1.

We do make every effort to avoid burning fossil fuels, but we are a commercial farm. Leveraging technology to increase efficiency is a core part of our business plan and a priority. We try to balance this with our “no-till” practices and organic systems to help reduce the farms overall carbon footprint.

Our application for Organic certification has been sent to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry’s Organic Foods Section. They operate a USDA certification program. Why a certifier from Oklahoma? The simple answer is they are the closest one we could find. They are affordable even after we pay for their travel expenses. They have dedicated resources to assist farmers with the certification process and have been available to answer our calls. We are fortunate our neighboring state has made organics a priority and share their services with us.

We are continuing to get the field ready for Fred and working the seed tables in Wilma. Now that we figured out how to update the calendar, the odds are better that we will actually keep it up to date.

Thanks for taking time to read this and check out the cam’s sometime, you may catch us dancing...