This year’s seed catalogs! Haven’t kept on the mailing lists for the dozen or more I used to get. I do always look around online, but for the hard copy, and the main seed ordering, it’s reduced to two, one main seed supplier and a backup. The more you know, the less you need? I like the sound of that! :)
Tiny farming: Tools
These TFB posts all deal in some way with tools, machinery and materials for small-scale farming. The equipment used in large-scale agriculture is simply too big or too expensive, and most home gardening tools don’t work efficiently on larger jobs or are break easily. Tiny farming on plots up to two or three acres requires its own special gear…
[From 6-Jul-2012] Always satisfying to fill up the Kubota compact tractor. A little under five gallons of diesel does the trick. It’s quite amazing what you can do on just one tank, like till up 2-3 acres with fuel to spare. Depending on what’s going on, I’ll use somewhere between three and six tanks in a season, so for the amount of work the tiny tractor does, the oil-reliant portion of the program is really kinda small.
[From 11-May-2013] Shrouded against the cold: Not much to look at, but nice for the tomatoes, peppers and other seedlings on the tables underneath. It’s a double layer of medium weight floating row cover, tried and true, a familiar spring sight in the unheated greenhouse, good for a few degrees of protection in the forecast overnight near-freeze. Three days of chilly nights, they say.
[From 22-Jun-2012] Friday is harvest day and we turn to the almost iconic white plastic laundry sink as veggie washing station. It’s a one-tub day today, with only beet greens to hydrocool (sometimes dunking in water is to wash off dirt, usually, and especially with above-ground crops, it’s to cool them down to keep ‘em fresh, and the term for that is, yep, hydrocooling). The legs on this one gave out, so Jon replaced plastic with wood—a fair bit heavier overall for something we move around and stack, but then, still in service. Make do!
[From 27-Jun-2012] My current seed bank is around 60 Ziploc freezer bags. In alphabetical order. I haven’t been as careful lately with storage conditions as at times in the past, these plastic bins with lids (there is third one with bigger bags of larger seed, like beans and peas) are kept out of sunlight and away from heat. I could do a lot more, but I’m not going for long term storage, and most of the time there seems to be no critical difference in germination time and rate for seed 1-2 years old, which is longest I keep anything in any sort of quantity. Fresh seed may pop up a little quicker, but with the many other variables based mainly on the weather, it all seems to even out by the time harvest day rolls around!
See the growing list of 50 Things I’ve Learned from Tiny Farming:
#38 – Use a pencil: You can find no finer quick-planning and sketching technology than the PENCIL, combined with a crisp sheet of paper, a supporting clipboard, and a quality white eraser. There is a curious kind of commitment only a pencil can bring to the start of something. The impermanence, the erasability, the chance to begin now but make sweeping changes later, is the cool thing. Pencils are perfect for roughing out garden maps, preliminarily filling in tricky forms, and sketching all sorts of construction and fabrication projects, mobile chicken coops to better farm stand shelving (even crudely done, a picture is worth…a lot). Forget digital—lappies, tablets, smartphones, batteries, cables, formats and files—there’s nothing like good old straightforward no-frills paper and pencil (traditional or mechanical) for freeing you up to think!