Welcome! People ask us what we grow and how we grow it. We grow a little of everything to be honest. Kevin loves his tomatoes and peppers. Jodi enjoys the flowers even if they’ve never turned a profit. We are learning how to produce in a greenhouse, but we keep enjoying leafy greens from the greenhouse even when snow is on the ground. We are making progress.
Quite a few times at market, Kevin has been asked if we are organic. Kevin says no because we use practices that work best for us. We use Integrated Pest Management techniques meaning we scout for pests and only use insecticides when the pests are destroying the crops to the point they become unsaleable. As far as herbicides, we try really hard not to use herbicides if we don’t have to. What we use is Dutch, white clover as a smother/cover crop to suppress weeds, plastic mulch to reduce weeds in eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, tillage, and for when things get really bad we use herbicides when nothing else works. We do use manure, compost, and commercial fertilizers when needed. Jodi will talk more about that in a blog post soon.
Deer were a huge problem last year. Thankfully, Jodi’s dad, Marlin Venema had a bunch of 7ft tall fencing left over from his escapades with keeping deer out of corn stored in ag bags. During the summer of 2016, Kevin, his nephew, and Marlin fenced off 2.5 acres! Yay!
Sandhill cranes kept eating our sweet corn and sunflower seedlings. We discovered a great product called Avipel that doesn’t hurt the birds at all. At planting, we coat the seeds in the Avipel -ours is a powder, and plant. When the seedlings come up the birds pick out a few of them and the Avipel makes them taste sour to the cranes. After a few sour bites the cranes move on to something else. Pretty nifty!
We’ve gone to drip irrigation in a lot of acreage to minimize fungal issues in plants and to spoon feed our plants nutrients better. Plastic mulch is used in conjunction with the drip irrigation. Funny enough, we’ve been using the ends of silage cover plastic that a local dairy farm couldn’t use.