Back in 2012, we were originally based in Warsaw, IN on 200 South. We had excellent soil, built up to where you didn't need to till the beds to be able to plant them. Our first attempt at expansion took us to 350 East which is still an overflow area that gets planted every year, as well as, where the maple trees we tap are located. After the loss of use of the 200 South garden area, due to death in the family. We had to figure out what to do. Our house in Silver Lake had clay soil with a high water table. Even during a drought you can dig down less than 2 feet and hit water, of course during that drought you'll need a pickaxe to get a few inches into the ground. But we hadn't spent the last few years building up the public's desire for fresh local produce to quit now. As Joel Salatin wrote in his book "You Can Farm,"
If you can't make money from your backyard you have no reason to search for more land. Urban farming was becoming more of a thing, so we planted our backyard and side yard. The next year we needed more space so the front yard was our next leap. The first year we put in a few yards of compost, and after seeing how well that went, the next year we ordered a semi load of compost. We don't own any heavy equipment so it took awhile to spread each bed with about 4" of compost, but it's worth the effort.
We got our start with a 12x24 PVC framed greenhouse. Which we quickly outgrew. Next was a 25x50 greenhouse, and that afforded us the luxury of being able to start our plants to make sure we had the varieties we wanted but also the ability to start growing year round, if we had a market for it. The first year we underestimated the way things would grow in the ground in a greenhouse. We had radishes and spinach market ready in early April, and no market for it. At that time we were a seasonal farm, and didn't seek out additional sales during the off season. The following winter, when we weren't heating the greenhouse, the cilantro we planted in the summer finally came up. We had over a bushel of cilantro and once again nowhere to sell it. We froze some and donated the rest. This certainly showed us the potential for growing all year if we had a few high tunnels. Which we purchased in 2019. In the fall of 2019 we planted all the high tunnels and greenhouse with crops that could withstand a few cold nights if need be. We harvested from them beginning in January and stopped in April due to Covid19 shutting down the store we were selling through. It was nice to have carrots, lettuce, kale, radishes, and green onions through the winter.
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