On the farm there are the ongoing, every day, every week tasks. Like weeding. And watering. And planting another 2000 heads of lettuce (every about 3rd week). And then there are the “big” yearly projects that I we do just once a year (generally) and I always breathe a sigh of relief when they are done and then cross my fingers that we did it right.
|Dad planting on an Allis Chalmers G|
Potato planting is one. Garlic planting is another. The third one we’ve been working on the last few weeks – that’s getting the beans planted.
This year we planted about 5 acres of beans. That’s about one more acre than last year and considering that last year about 1/3 of my bean planting essentially flooded out or greatly stressed the plants (reducing yields considerably) I’m hoping that when all said is done we will harvest 2x as many dry beans as last year! Which would be good, since last October we’ve sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 lbs of dry beans…and we are now sold out of everything except Rockwell’s (which we only have because we are getting them from one of our Ebey’s Prairie neighbors).
|The tractor-mounted Planet Jr. planters we use to plant with.|
That’s a lot of dry beans! The thing about growing dry beans is that we are still, even with 5 acres planted, doing them at such a small scale. Dry beans are a crop that really needs some space to produce yields worth selling. And the equipment to plant, grow, thresh and process it! Truly, if I was at all reasonable, I would have given up on growing dry beans many years ago there are so many “little things” to doing them correctly to make them at all financially worth it. Lucky for you, however, “perserverance (aka “stubborn”)” is my middle name.
Each year we continue to “dial in” our methods for growing and processing the beans. We finally have a pretty good system for threshing and cleaning. After several years of “adjustments” to our combine (and a few thousand dollars) and then a brilliant combination of a 100+ year old bean cleaner with an air blower and my mom’s old treadmill (i.e. conveyor belt) for an actually working bean cleaner. And this year we are adjusting some of our planting techniques. Trying to plant denser in the same space which we hope will both give us more beans but also shade out weeds quicker and lessen the “weed presence” in the field. Or at least, that’s the idea. We’ll see how it all works in the end!
|The first field starting to germinate – not bad!|
And of course, since you are all wondering….yes we are at market today! So get down there…We have:
* Head Lettuce
* Mesclun Mix
* Baby Pac Choi
* Mustard bags
* Fresh Garlic
* Garlic scapes
* Walla onions w/ greens
And from Prairie Bottom we have chard and herbs and from Mikey at Whidbey Green Goods we’ve got (Bayview only!), carrots, beets and asparagus! And Emmer and Rockwell Beans from Ebey Road Farm!
Hope to see you there…
Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie