Battle Creek Gardens has been around for decades. It has been producing vegetables for families in the surrounding area in one form or another for all of that time. Matt and I have been involved with the farm since 2010 and we have seen major change happen during this time. When we came here in the spring of 2010 we found an overgrown garden that had seen several caretakers over the period of a couple of years. That was Larry and Michelle’s first year on the farm. That summer, Larry set a plan into motion. His vision was to turn the gardens into a well organized, profitable, and sustainable small-scale farming haven. He moved toward this goal during his time managing the farm at a steady pace, growing a small CSA program and branching out into local wholesale markets.
As we enter into this season, several years later, I can’t help but think about how far we have come. Water, irrigation, heating and cooling systems for the greenhouses, seeders, transplanters…the list goes on.
This season we are looking forward to pulling it all together. Last year we invested in some equipment that will undoubtedly make work on the farm much easier and more efficient. The two biggest advances being our Jang twelve row seeder and our Farmer’s Friend Greens Harvester. Both pieces of equipment cut down of task time immensely. Here is a video of us seeding three rows of salad mix in one of our beds earlier this week. The Jang seeder is very versatile in spacing and number of rows seeded as well as seeding accurately. It also provides us with straight rows for easier cultivation.
The Farmer’s Friend Quick Cut Greens Harvester is an amazing tool that will enable us to harvest our salad mix in a fraction of the time that it used to take and with fewer hands to do so. Our delicious, fresh salad mix blend is one of our best sellers! With this tool we are hoping it will be possible to keep up with our demand better this season. See it in action:
To top it off, we have a new toy that just shipped today. This piece of equipment we have had our eye on for a while. It is a Buddingh Basket Weeder. It is one of the best pieces of cultivation equipment out there for small scale farms, because it weeds without throwing up large amounts of soil onto your plants (nobody likes dirt-filled heads of lettuce). Here is a basket weeder similar to the one we will have:
So, with these new pieces of equipment, we have streamlined our planting, cultivation and harvesting of many of our crops. Last year Matt also put together a transplanter for our starts which should serve to save lots of time as well.
It is a real blessing that we have been able to accumulate this equipment since our hands on the farm are very few and we rely heavily on volunteer labor, which is sporadic most of the time.
We can’t wait for the temperatures to moderate so that we can start planting in the field soon. We sure do have spring fever right now. I think that just about every farmer gets the itch to get into the soil on these first spring days. Matt says that “there’s just something about sitting on a tractor that makes you feel like a real farmer”. Well, I agree. Soon enough we will be living and breathing farming again. Every moment of every day. It’s what we live for! And no matter what equipment we have- or don’t have- it always seems to come together. In one way or another.
God is gracious!