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Post by John
Equinox Community Farm
2011-01-05 14:21:23

Winter

While it is true that winter is the “off season” on the farm, it is far from true that us farmers are left with nothing to do over the winter months. There are always the numerous projects that there wasn’t time to take care of during the growing season, and more importantly all of the planning for the coming season needs to be taken care of.

One of the most challenging aspects of this planning can be represented by the annual seed order. For most home gardeners the process of ordering seeds is probably a fairly simple, enjoyable process based; or at least it was for me when all I had to be concerned with was a home garden. On a farm scale, however, the ordering seeds is a much more involved process. To start with I need to know how much of each crop I hope to harvest, and when and how often I want to harvest. From there I can estimate how much, generally measured in row feet, I should plant. Once I know this I can then turn to past records and seed catalogs to pick out varieties for each crop; a few of which have only one variety planted while a few have as many as 23 varieties planted.

Having selected all the varieties of each crop I intend to plant and how many row feet will be planted I then need to determine how much seed needs to be ordered for each one. Most seed catalogs list this info based on ounces, which is just fine when the seeds are sold in packets measured in ounces, but doesn’t come in so handy when the packets are sold by the gram or even by number of seeds in the packet. This is especially fun when attempting to compare cost of seed between seed companies and each company uses a different unit for that variety of seed.

Fortunately my seed order is in for next year, which means that particular challenge is taken care of for this year. On the other hand, that means I have to move on to other fun tasks such as updating my website, figuring out some insurance for the farm, finding employees, and an assortment of other organizational tasks, not to mention those projects that I put off during the growing season from last year…