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Warmer days

Warm days bring about a lot of changes on the farm. It seemed that just after this weeks warm front, the plants doubled in size. Our brassicas have started blooming, so yellow flowers speckle the landscape. A neighbors Ume was buzzing with bees when temperatures hit 20 degrees celsius on Monday. Our sheep gave birth to a genki female lamb, or ewe lamb. This ewe lamb is NiNi chan born on 2/22. We can expect one more of our sheep to give birth sometime in the next month.

Normally at this time of year I am away from the farm for my doctoral research. However, I have been on the farm almost entirely for the last two months. This has allowed me to prepare a lot of new seeds and areas on the farm for direct seeding and transplanting. It seems each day I am seeding or transplanting something new. Until now, we have never had tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants with so much growth this early. An early start on the season is attributed to my electric mat, mentioned in the previous post. We also completed a small green house as a warm propagation house, where temperatures can reach 20-30 degrees celsius on cooler days.

In the last year we have also used the paper-pot transplanter(pictured left) which makes direct seed and transplanting a breeze. Since I am mostly working on the farm alone, I can seed and transplant produce at a much quicker rate. Given that we have more plants in the field at this time is a great, it also requires a more watchful eye in terms of irrigation and pest pressure. As an "organic" farm we are not using conventional pesticides. We are having issues in our green house with red spider mites. We use a mixture of Dr. Bronners "magic" soap and Neem, a ration of 1tsp of soap and 3-4 tsp of Neem to 15 liters of water. This seemed to work at first, however the mites have come back. I will use Mokusakueki or Charcoal Vinegar Extract which is produced by our friends locally when they make rice husk charcoal. I will try it at a ratio of two PET bottle capfuls to 15 liters of water.

Watering is done by hand although, we have installed over-head and sprinkler irrigation on our main beds. On the property that we are looking to purchase soon, we are hoping to have over head irrigation as well, since the dry months previously involved carting over several hundred liters of water at a time. We have purchased a pump that will run off a battery and solar power, with this system and we should have water flowing in this off grid site soon.

Recently we have also started using an online sales platform, Tabechoku. This has exceeded our expectations in terms of online orders. It has been the focus of our sales in the last month. We also received our first online order via this website, where customers can purchase vegetable sets directly and pay using paypal. We hope these are continuing trends and we will try to create more outreach in the future. Looking forward to the warmer days ahead.


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