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Discussion Starter #1
Just some pictures of the family farm, a few of last year's garden, and the farm animals/family members. The farm is certainly a hobby farm as it stands, after tobacco "sold out" around here it died off a little, but we are working on getting it back on track. I would love to find a way to help the farm turn profitable again, as my wife and I (and the rest of my family) are all very tied to this land - definitely considering Farmer's Market next year - still working on finding our "niche." Hope that you all enjoy, and I gladly welcome any advice from anybody on avenues to pursue or things that we can do to help "diversify" the farm a bit...

early cabbage

Cucumber "area"

new potato!

young pumpkin





Zoro and Ellie Mae! They are definitely not spoiled... :roll:

Ellie Mae, the Boer Goat.

They love peaches... it's a horrible addiction

My lovely wife, with the Boers.

My buddy...


There are definitely a couple of things that I have learned in the several years that I've gardened.. definitely going to have to start spacing the vines out farther, possibly just putting them in a different patch... and probably going to have to stop feeding the 2 goats all of the peaches.. :roll:
 

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Farmers Markets are a good way to supplement your income if you have the time to manage the veggies and there is a town or city nearby. A roadside stand on your place may be an option if it is heavily traveled. I'd suggest not planting too much at one time but stagger plantings to extend your season. I think it is better to start a bit small, find out what sells and grows well for you then make adjustments in later years. We have been selling at Farmers Markets for about 10 years, but we limit ourselves to what we, Mrs. Jim and me, can handle ourselves. We cannot irrigate and that presents problems too.
 

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if you are thinking farmers markets i would consider ornamental bush type sunflowers gladiouas on bare ground and other cut flowers growen on plastic mulch with drip line if you look at seed suppliers sites they have varities marked for cut flowers squash and pumpkins we grow 36 inch spacing on 8 ft rows gives space to keep cultivated between rows till they run and a good size product we have done farm markets with flowers herb plants and veg for 24 vears can be a lot of fun meeting and dealing with most peaple flowers are a nitch market but done right can be a good one
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you both for the suggestions - at the moment irrigation and the plastic mulch are not too convenient for me... I do have the "secret weapon" though that is the Farmall 100 with the cultivators, side dresser, and fast hitch... it makes things much easier for the few of us who are working the land. For the time being we just plant when best we can, and rely on the rain to get us through the summer and in to fall - it's not let us down just yet... though down the road if things grow as we hope that they do, I will probably start experimenting with the irrigation/mulch. I will definitely be going to a wider row on the vine crops this year, I was thinking somewhere around 6-8' spacing as you all have said. Right now the garden is a little shy of an acre altogether, which for my father, wife, and myself keeps us plenty busy. This year I'm planning on trying to regularly visit the county Farmer's Market to get an idea of how the market stands and what there could possibly be to be grown that's not already going strong. Through my business managing a Produce department I've also met a few other farmers who have already "diversified" from tobacco to produce with a good amount of success - and they have offered to help us out any way that they can (they use irrigation with the plastic mulch with great success.) I am also going to try and stagger my planting this year with a few of the cooler weather crops, namely cabbage - to see how that works out. The flowers are something that some farmers around here are working on with good success too, and I will probably try that out once I get a better grasp on the produce end of all of this. Thanks again for your advice, I'll take every bit of it that I can get :D
 

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In the 6th pic down is the biggest problem there are four of them in the background waiting for everyone to leave, any good ideas on how to keep these away.
 

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I don't know how strong the farmer's market is over there but you may be better off heading to Lexington. There are several markets in Lexington. Ours in Clark County isn't real strong right now, people often do better just setting up in a parking lot somewhere. We sell flowers and vegetable plants, probably move to one of the markets in Lexington this year.
 

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large spanish onions kelse type are good sellers along with leeks brussel sprouts on stalk also new item this year from johnnys seed it grows like brussel sprouts but has small heads of kale instead called flower sprouts we also grow red and green head lettice and sell cut in freezer bags as mixed fresh lettice planted from plugs at 8 inch spacing with holland plug planter cut before heads size up it will regrow and easy to keep clean with scufflers [ we cant keep on table sells fast at preimum price]
 

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I use offset Farmalls to prepare veggie rows for planting and weed control. I plant on 48" rows. With melons and cantelopes, I plant every other row and the hills are a hoe handle's length apart. I plant maters about 2' apart or the same as tobacco. I fertilize well and try to get a lot of ground cover from my veggies which helps keep down grasses and weeds. I planted my last baccer crop in 2004, but helped a neighbor with his for a few years afterwards. We plant about 3 to 4 acres of veggies depending upon the season and how much we think we can handle ourselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Jim, those offset Farmalls really are the trick for setting the rows, dad does ours the same way - setting the rear cultivators in and he somehow gets them dead straight every time... I'm still learning that part. Weed control is definitely made much easier with these tractors as well - but is there a "trick" to getting the weeds properly controlled on the melons? I can plow them to some extent but after they become so long it gets to where I have to resort to pulling each weed up - which while it is rewarding afterwards... it's not the greatest on a hot summer afternoon. It's really only an issue with the melons/cucumbers though, everything else it seems like the Farmall and the hoe take care of quite well. Thanks again everybody for the advice - really looking forward to seeing what everybody around here is growing this season at market.
Corn Cob - I am definitely going to have to check out these new plants, as much as I love Brussels Sprouts I have yet to grow any - I fear the bugs could be a problem down here... but I do want to try it. And the Large Spanish Onions sound great too - I'm trying my luck with the Candy Onions from Dixondale Farms this year -we'll see what happens.
And Grandpa, you're always a great help - look forward to this year more than ever!
 

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For me, weed and grass pressure is determined mostly by how much rain I get and when it come. If rain comes early after planting and I can't get in there with the tractor, I am already behind. I plow alot early and while plants are small. I rescued a melon patch 2 seasons ago that was solid green with grass because of an extended wet spell. I'll see if I can find the pics. They were on the old site.

I use a hoe a lot too in all the stuff we plant. I cultivate the melons until runners are about as long as my arm. Sometimes I walk the rows and lay the runners in the row so the cultivators won't tear them off. Everytime I plow the melons, I plow the skipped rows. Then I slide the front cultivatos to the center to plow that ground as well. It depends upon the field, but I have used a scrape blade on the skipped rows after cultivating at layby to smooth them for walking when harvesting. I seldom walk over the field and weed it. I may pull up a BIG ragweed when picking, but that's about it. If the melons grow right, runners will meet in the skipped rows and most of the ground will be covered which suppresses weeds..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I like the idea of the skipped row being smoothed out with the scraper - will more than likely try that this year with my patch... it does seem that the best weed control starts early if the weather allows it. Jim, it would be awesome if you could post any pictures of anything that you guys do around the farm - and for that matter anybody else! :) The more ideas I can see the better, and hopefully sometime this thread will come in handy for somebody else trying to figure out exactly what they're doing...
 

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I only scraped the skipped rows once, and it was mainly done to pull plowed up grass and weeds out of the field to prevent it from re-rooting if rain came. I don't believe it actually made late season weeds a less of a problem, but it did make the ground smoother. My 80+ year old former tobacco farmer friend who grows great melons thinks that weeds and grasses are less of a problem on rougher ground. We would skip a row when in our tobacco fields for harvesting and spraying. We would keep it cultivated and scrape it level at tobacco layby. Late season weeds and grasses would always come back, and we took care of them with a bush hog. ;)
 

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for weeding bare ground i built a 3 point hitch rotary hoe runs off pto has rake teeth on bottom plates that spin horizontally these are mounted on two swing handles you sit on seat and move handles in and out around plants you run it in ground about 1 half inch picks weeds and grass out and throws it 0n top to dry up and die 2 to 3 times a season keeps every thing clean and level looks like you raked it its tucked away in back of shedand i cant get to it but will try and posta pic in a month hoeing speed is about 1 to2 mph does a great job on pumpkins squash right before they run we also use on cutflowers or any plant that has clearance around it tomatoes pepers we grow in plastic mulch on raised beds
 

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bettyp said:
Jim loved the above pics you put on . I also loved reading all the above on gardening . We put up a lot of vegies for the window And Henry shares a lot with friends & family & take a lot to food pantry, where it is always needed.
Betty, I can't take credit for the pics. They were posted by Single Tree Farm, and they are neat!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Corn Cob - post pics of the setup whenever you can - it sounds like a really neat implement. I have seen something somewhere before that sort of reminds me of what you're describing, if I'm remembering it right. 1-2 mph is not bad at all either considering everything that is being accomplished. The raised beds sound very nice for the tomatoes and peppers as well, so far our Farmall has served us well in keeping those in line... at least until the tomatoes are staked.
Jim - you should post up the pictures that you had on the old board - they were very interesting and I enjoyed them a great deal - I'm sure that everybody else would too! :D
Betty - I appreciate the compliment ;) and I'm glad that you've enjoyed the pictures. Hopefully I will be able to get some good ones this summer when things start going in full swing.

On a personal note - we managed to get out one row of Sugar Snap Peas in the ground this afternoon.. it's our first time attempting these and it might be just a little bit late, I don't know... but we'll see what happens!
 
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