First Year of Farming For Profit – Picking Up the Ruins

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Spring is definitely in the air. We already had a couple of very warm days. Everything is starting to grow and before long we will be battling weeds, and wishing for a cool day.

It is hard to believe only two weeks ago the farm was covered in snow.

Or should I say ‘Southern snow’ a.k.a ice.

Where did it come from I really don’t know. We had such a mild Winter. Many days we were able to comfortably work outside, heck, we prepared the whole farm during this Winter. It was no problem working the soil. It wasn’t frozen at all. Then, BAM, two weeks of freezing temperatures, snow that melted, then turned to ice, that melted, then froze again.

I was on schedule with my garden plan, I was putting the greenhouse to good use, the beds were marked and I was ready to work each one of them nicely and plant according to the schedule. This snow storm halted everything, put me three weeks behind, and ruined the greenhouse.

Not fun!

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When the weather got a bit warmer, I drove to the farm to inspect the disaster and clean up. It was’t a nice sight. The PVC snapped under the weight of the snow and the greenhouse that I believed would last a couple of seasons, didn’t last but a few short weeks.

I think that it would have been different if we lived there. I would step out of the house every couple of hours to brush the snow off, and I think it would have survived. We really only had two nights of falling snow. The rest of the mess was because it all turned into ice that couldn’t melt since the temperatures were so low.

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I cut an opening in the plastic and stepped inside…

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Then I had to cut around the giant iceberg in the middle and slide the thing off the plastic.

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I was happy to find that most of my seed flats were unharmed.

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After a couple of hours of cleaning, this is what is left of the greenhouse. In the beginning, I was thinking maybe to rebuild it with metal fence posts instead of the PVC. But it is too late. I will not be able to use this greenhouse to start plants for this season, so I think that I will wait until Fall. Once the market season ends, I’ll see how much money I have and hopefully will have enough to purchase and install a commercial seed starting greenhouse. We’ll see.

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Meanwhile, plan B went into action right away. I now use two of my raised beds at home as plant nursery.

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I have a bunch of kale, pack choi, lettuce, leeks, and other plants in there. They are all germinated and growing nicely. It will be a couple more weeks before I can move them to the garden.

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Other than that, we already planted a lot in the field. I kind of went crazy and just planted a bunch of seeds in the ground. I think I panicked a bit because the market starts on the first Saturday of May, and I am really not sure I’ll even have vegetables to sell. So I planted a lot of things that grow quickly, like mustard greens, radish, lettuce mix, and spinach. I hope I can have those ready for the market in May.

I also finished the deer/creature fence. It is nothing fancy, but I needed something affordable and temporary. I’ll give it a couple of weeks to prove itself before I share it with you.

The real big news around here is that we finally signed the contract for the house! I am so excited about that. It took weeks to get approved for a mortgage since we have so much going on (businesses, equipment and so on…), but we managed to get approved for a mortgage without selling our current house. This is what we wanted, since we would like to keep our house in town as a rental.

It also took weeks to figure out what kind of house we want. We took one of the basic floor plans from the builder and changed it around to fit our needs. Then, we signed the contract last week and now waiting for the drawings of the house so we can file them with the bank.

It is all still shaky. The bank can come back and tell us that the underwriter did not approve the mortgage after we submit the plan. I am trying to keep my excitement leashed, but the possibility of actually having a custom built home on the farm by the end of the year is just too good.

I can’t wait for the moment I wake up there, step out and go to work. Right now, since we live an hour away, it is pretty much like packing for camping every time we go to the farm to work. Not to mention my kids sometimes have a hard time being out there a whole day without a comfortable place to rest. Hopefully, this will change soon.

What happened in your homestead this past month? Can you feel Spring yet? Have you started planting?

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12 thoughts on “First Year of Farming For Profit – Picking Up the Ruins”

  1. chris aka monkey

    sorry for the problems the weather has caused you but i am happy thay you just shrug it off and go on.. it’s your adventurous spirit i do hope you get the house sounds like your dreams may come true good luck xx

  2. I’m so sorry to see that you lost the greenhouse. Disappointing, to say the least! However, I’m glad to see that you have some plants started and that the seed flats weren’t ruined. Here’s hoping that all of your seed starts will grow and that you’ll have a lot of greens for sale in May!

  3. Do NOT give up. You’re doing great!! Stuff happens. It always does – but just get up, dust off and keep going. You can do it!!!

    1. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this! I had a few days in the past couple of week where I wanted to throw in the towel and run for the hills. Thank you so much for the encouraging words!!!

  4. I have tried pvc and plastic sheeting and it also suffered the same fate of caving in or getting ripped off by the wind. I can see that you need more pvc supports. The spans are too far apart. You might try placing a fencing such as rabbit wire over the supports and then placing the plastic sheeting. This will not allow the sheeting to cave in under the weight, but it will also add to the overall weight bearing requirement for the spans.

    1. We placed the pvc 5′ apart. The whole point of this was to make something cheap that we thought will last a couple of years until we make enough money from the farm to buy a commercial greenhouse. If I need to get more material for it like fencing and such it is getting to be too expensive for something temporary. At that point, I think I am just going to wait until I have the money for a real greenhouse that will hold for years. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Barbara McLamb

    Lee so sorry for the ice problems. Sigh. I love it here, but snow once in 10 years without the ice would be wonderful. Excited about the house and I hope everything goes great!

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