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Logo of AdAgrA 2018: Something Better

5. Market Gardening: Small Farm Irrigation

Alan Seiler Aubrey Seiler



  • January 17, 2018
    3:00 PM
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So we're going to continue on with small small farm irrigation I'm going to be doing I think I have that written in here OK. Yes I'm going to be so the we're going to be looking at basically the overview specs of what you need to be thinking about so that you can have enough water to be able to irrigate your farm adequately OK So we're our metric here is going to be one acre OK Everyone clear we're talking about one acre of vegetable production so if you're doing a quarter acre divided by four if you're doing half an acre divide it by half if you're doing two acres multiply it once right so this is our metric now. We're going to be talking about over you specifications that we need as far as infield irrigations like drip line and overhead in things like that I'm going to be my booth if anyone has any questions for me in the exhibit hall it says irrigation consulting it's kind of seems weird that I'm doing this but you know I have some ideas and we can talk back and forth or maybe you have some ideas sell. Anyway so I have my booth there and then also. I'm going to sim in our six for the main conference so it's the last class on Friday on the pool side room which is over there I'm going to be. Is it not over there. Anyways look at look at your map but look at your map where we're directionally compromised here so I'll be having a seminar there going more into the specifics of of those things in different types of irrigation as far as above ground. Infield irrigation and then. I have worked for the past year with a company called irrigation mark there in south central Louisiana I believe that can yeah and they are awesome. I've been working with them and there's a few guys that they're just really experts in their fields and if you're looking at these are going to be overall specifications we talk about they are going to be able to say look what's your water source where is it how much is it and they'll be able to help you design a system specifically for your area the best information that you have to need to to design a system from the ground up is beyond the scope of this class but I just want to put them down there they're awesome great customer service. I wish they could have been here they sent some catalogs that you can pick up the information booth that yeah info booth. Resource table that's what it's called in the exhibit hall so I just want to point that out. So. These like I was saying these are specs that I've learned putting our system together that I'm going to share with you today unfortunately the system has not operated Actually it hasn't operated yet so this is information that I'm giving you because from working with irrigation Mark if that makes sense and I will come next year and confirm what they said OK so how much water do you need for one acre. The rough estimates is fifteen to twenty five gallons per minute per acre minimum. If you're asking me. I wouldn't go below twenty five per acre I think you're going to need it but there is some fudge factor there and but you don't want to go below fifteen you're just not going to have enough water in these these numbers are calculated basically saying like the minimum is calculated saying I'm going to run my irrigation twenty four seven day and night and it's going to. Keep up with this that's not that's like pushing a system to its limits and we don't want to do that now talk a little bit about that later so I would stick more with the twenty five gallons personally and fifteen P.S.I.I. for drip line if you're just doing drip irrigation you can easily get away with fifteen P.S.I.I. But if you're trying to use any type of overhead which in a mixed session production I believe is a MUST you're really looking at thirty five plus and I say plus is because the higher that the thirty five is in my opinion the minimum the higher you get the more variety of heads you can use and the more variety of throw patterns and some of these things won't work under you know let's say forty five P.S.-I so you can increase the your. You can increase your variety of irrigation equipment with higher P.S.I.I. OK so. Design factors in your system build the system for the most water demanding period of the year so that would in Texas that would probably be mid July August and to mid September that's going to be when you're going to you're going to meet the most demands and you want to make sure that you have enough water to meet that time of the year some people might say well you know I get a lot of rain will wind you get a lot of rain is that when you're actually growing your product you really want you don't want to run out of water when you get to that that demand OK. Build a cushion into your system now this is what I was talking about when you're down at fifteen gallons per minute in my opinion you're kind of and of course this will depend on you know the time of year but remember we're building our system for the driest the most extreme possible situation not possible but that most regularly extreme situation that we have to deal with we want to be able to build a cushion into our system so that we have water in excess and what I mean by this is let's say that you calculate your water needs. Based on water in day and night OK what if your system breaks down and this happens what if you have a major line break or what if you have a pump that goes out and you need to order it OK You'll never catch up you have your have pushed your system to its limits that you don't have the water that even if you've got a pump you know in a day you would already be a day off of that irrigation cycle in your plants could die in an extreme time of the year so and that's the difference between making or breaking an operation so building cushion into your system like that is is a really important thing having flex and my rule of thumb that I use for my farm and I'm not saying that you need to go to this extreme but I want to be able to irrigate my entire two point three acres I guess is what it turns out to I want to be able to irrigate that entire area within twelve hour period and that's averaging a forty five minute you're geisha time going over and over so forty five minutes here forty five minutes there forty five minutes there forty five minutes there because if a pump goes down it's going to take me at least a day and a half to two days to get it I want to be able to have enough time built into that system so when I get that pump and back in installed and bit Believe me I will be scrambling to get that pump I'll do whatever it takes to get the pump I have a buffer time that when I know when I get the pump operational again I can catch up does that make sense so you when you when you are control of your own water works when you're doing you know an acre plus production here and that's kind of what you're looking at a small scale production. If it goes down you don't call the water service and say my rotors out you're the one in charge of this you have to think about the buffers you're building into your own system you know hurry up here. Plan for expandability don't skimp a lot of people say oh well I'm just going to use this much area and then next year I'll add this on and they're putting pipe in the ground and they don't realize that. That pipe can only carry a certain amount of volume of water so you want to make sure that within reason you're building your system with pipe sizes that are going to give you a degree of expandability because you don't want to go back and dig up that line and have to add a different entirely different main line in so it's cheaper in my opinion to do it right the first time than to skimp and then be like oh I need to respond that money. You'll have to cost you know draw the cost on that for yourself but in my opinion it's best to give yourself an expandability option. For this. OK plan on large enough pump owls for possible water treatment and additional tech. A lot of pump houses that I've observed they build them kind of small you know maybe a four by four room OK And then it's heated so that your pump doesn't freeze or water you can have a pressure tank in there well the reality of the matter is that. You are going to most likely be out in extra things whether it's going to be water treatment whether it's going to be adding and manipulating the chemistry in your water as far as a fertility additive. Or you're going to be adding in things like meters and things that you might not forsee right now that you need you might need space for them and so I would factor in at least for our operation our dimensions are it's fourteen by fourteen by sixteen foot. Pump House room and I have a wall where I can bring in extra tech in the future cut into my line and splice in meters water treatment and I know I'm not I'm going to need to do this for our water condition so having the room is going to be very important. So we're just going to give you those are those kind of the overall things that I can think about if you need more specifics come to the booth and I'm willing to talk about your particular situation and kind of make me think a little bit more in detail about maybe what this looks like for you so this is our. Our farm again and our pump house is right in the center this might not be the option for everyone but in our case we were able to put it right in the center and the nice thing about that is that everything goes out from a center location and if anything breaks it's right there it just keeps it nice and convenient I've almost thought I'm not quite sold on this maybe right now but most thought about Drew if you even if you had it well let's say off the farm and you wanted to bring it in it would almost be worth making a little pump house over there where the well is and then bringing the water all the way to your center Pad bringing it above above the ground so that you can add in let's say like I said tech possible water chemistry manipulation a room where you can do all that and then go back in the ground and run it out to all your fields because you don't want to have to if you ever have to do water treatment you don't want to have to do it at each of your individual fields that increase cost you want to have a main hub area where you can accomplish all that and then send it out to your fields so centralization is kind of what it comes down to so our field our system is broken into four we have the north east southeast Northwest Southwest three inch section valves ours we have a three inch mainline and the reason to break it into four components there is that if anything breaks. On any of those arms of the system we want to be able to section that off so that our entire system doesn't go down at once and of course you can you can overthink this and put way too much and I felt like this was a good design to give us a little bit this is what I'm talking about cushion here and in places so that if something does break everything downstream can be turned off and your whole system doesn't doesn't die and you're not like freaking out OK so that's what that's for hoops. Wait a minute. OK this is our pump house which was which was a hoop house which was the C. house which was the wash house and it was the pump house that's what it looks like now this is inside and if you want more particulars about what's going on in there that's my grandpa over to the right hand corner there. So getting back so that's what the wash house that's what the center building looks like and then it feeds out and this is this is much irrigation we've put in we've actually put in irrigation to only eight of the eight Center fields here and then one off to this side and the reason for that is you have to count your cost in have a budget and that's how much our budget could put in so that's what we're doing and we're developing those Center fields in that one in the future though we're Those are the valve boxes so there's there's four valve boxes per each of these field areas and the reason I haven't broken up like that is because when you're doing a large small scale Mixtepec mixed vegetable production what happens is is that you have a lot of different crop varieties that might need specific needs like watering needs or fertility needs and I wanted to break my system up into sections that I felt like in the future when I expand I might be able to put one crop variety in there and then hone in on the specific watering the nutritional needs for it so that's why I have maybe some people think it's too much it might be we'll see but in the future we're going to hopefully have four of the. As valve boxes and that's what they look like and we just used. Piece of plate steel and one of those fifty five gallon drums blew drums cut the bottom off of it that's what we're using for a valve boxes and then of course we have a two inch line going in there. And so that's what that looks like and then we're going to connect into that up into our fields so in the future this is possibly what it looks like we might have to manipulate the system a bit more but you can see the overall flow and also you can see that. We are we're sharing the three inch line on the south side of the field here and then there's just one on the on the back side the idea is that we didn't want to run up this road and put it on the front side of those fields because that would even be farther away from our center so trying to pull everything as close as possible we're going to be going into that a little bit more in detail so that's the overview on your game. We're going to roll in right turn X. So write your questions down if you have any on that we're going to roll into our next one real quick just a notification a heads up tomorrow they're going to be to class periods dedicated completely to this concept so we're just going to touch on a couple of things that can stand out in our minds then tomorrow if that view is going to be doing one as first seminar in the activity center conference room which is a little room at the front part of the gym when you walk in the front door is just to the right leaning in increasing efficiency on the farm and then similar to is in the same place is going to be the farmer roundtable meaning and efficiency and it's going to be more like a discussion that yes I'm more of a discussion interactive kind of thing so we're just going to hit a couple things I'll probably go into a lot more in-depth tomorrow. And it's something that we're still really trying to figure out ourselves so we're just going to share with you what we can you know at this point. We get the ideas from a couple couple areas the lean form it's a book by BEN HARTMAN And the market gardener. Yes the agur booths should have both of those books available but it's well worth a read and there's kind of one. Very strong concept that comes from from both of these books and that's the concept of growing better not bigger we were actually up at Jean routines farm. A few years back and he just kept going on and on about that guy who wrote the market gardener book and he kept going on and on about like I don't understand why people feel like they keep need to get bigger in order to make. This work for them he goes the whole idea is to get smaller and become better at what you're doing which I think you mentioned that just a little bit earlier Larry let something we're really trying to put into play because it is very easy to yield to the temptation to become bigger and think that that's a good idea but in reality there's quite a few downsides especially when you're doing small intensive growing yet the saying goes is that if you can't manage one sixteenth of an acre Well you don't have any business doing an acre so and that's why even on our farm even though we're going to be sizing up to two acres in the future we're starting out with like a quarter OK so even when you have more acreage and you're seeing the whole design I have I'm not developing that all at once this will be an incremental growth and we're going to grow into that form it's not starting out that way. Yet so we make like my dad says this is one of his favorite sayings make your mistakes small. And it's really really good idea yes thank you dad. It's a really good idea to make your mistakes small I actually have the philosophy. When it comes to houses but we won't go into that right now OK So well you know I just happen to think of it yeah OK So an ideal and ideal this is kind of a scale in my mind it's not it's kind of a bit of a gradient I'll tell you a story real quick yeah gradient. It's I'll tell you a nice nice story about an ideal scenario we were doing a farm tour of the north east a few years ago and that's actually when we stopped and so you guys know that this is not a story about you. And so we were we stopped at this farm along the way and. This guy I mean he's he's amazing and the fact that he was actually doing it and surviving was amazing but I think he had about five acres or so and he was spread to the winds like like so we were hoping one morning we were there for a couple days we were hoping one morning harvest and we're out in this field that's just like there's still this when there's fields this way and over there and yonder and then like over the river and through the woods literally I'm not kidding so we get our harvest spins and we loaded up like three or four harvest bins and they're like OK take this to the wash house which is at the very front of the farm and so we're like OK. They put it on the golf cart a golf cart if you're on this golf cart and they're like OK so we're going to do is you're going to go go past the turkeys and then you're going to take a right by the pigs then you're going to go around the barn and you're going to go down this kind of thing this great and you'll go through the woods for a while over the river and through the woods and then you're going to go around that were true then you should hit the road and then take the road you'll get back to the washout. And I was like you got to be. OK So mom and I get in and we're going like brown in the middle of nowhere like put these toads in trying to get to wash out and we finally get there like ten minutes later and like this I used to hike how is he doing this like this is. An ideal scenario this is an ideal scenario I think you sensed really tried to change how you do have how he does things but that he read the books we recommended you know maybe so so that's kind of an on I knew all scenario and we kind of like to think of I mean after seeing multiple different farms and after reading some of these books and after experimenting for the last five years we like to think that better together farm is moving towards the ideal scenario. And there's two kind of primary principles to keep in mind and there's more than that but what we're going to be covering right now is to centralize and standardize to centralize why centralized like what's the importance of centralized the main importance and Larry talked. In this but it will it's worth definitely repeating again is the idea that if I have to if I for whatever reason FOR get a tool you know or if I need to use the bathroom I don't want it to be a half an hour jaunt there and a half an hour back or fifteen minutes there fifty minutes back you want to spend as much time actually doing what you're needing to do instead of in transit between the locations so centralize helps pull that together so that you're not spending so much of your time walking around you're actually working out what you knew what walking does not make you money it's what you're doing now you get to not informing perming but that would be kind of interesting like walk. No never OK. You can explain hubs books and rooms concept OK I'll explain how this works and cons that. Hub spokes and then so when you're thinking about centralizing you want to think from the inside out in some ways it's kind of like a version of the golden circle that we were talking about this morning with your Y. at the center and then your how in your what it's kind of like the same idea except in Hope's books room yeah hub spokes RIM says kind of interesting how yeah yeah bicycle English so you want to build your life from wagons and wagons like a bicycle so what does that mean what is a hub hub is where your main activity goes on so in on at Better Together farm it's the area in the red circle so that has our I washed house upon Palace our seed house our shop and currently that's also where we're living inside of this well and a bumper pool camper but I hope but you have to wait until. Friday morning to hear my parents version of that story. We're still debating whether or not that's good for a long term living I mean obviously we will live right there long term because that supposed to be like your really nice shop one day. But that's that's the hub and then spokes are the areas I mean mean in scraps so well yeah that's what I had in the notes books. OK OK Yeah I mean it's crops. You're geisha in. Roadways and access ways these are kind of these are your spokes of this is what you want to be closer to your help so in on better together farm. The blue lines represent where we have our irrigation running and notice we have the irrigation running on the inside of our field so it's closer together. It could be running on the outside of the fields but then we're relief far away so we try to really tighten it keep it close and then our roadways are in the green. So they run like a tic tac toe board kind of and then our access ways. That are smaller pieces about. The roadways are twenty. Of them in there that's OK I think it's sixteen becomes just a little bit later and then you have your rim so we've done our home we've done our spokes now we have the ramp those are lips sorry audio verse the rim is your low maintenance crops and your fruit trees and the things that you don't really need to access that often because you're not going to be going out there so it can be further away from you so that makes sense obviously if our farmer a bicycle will it would be a pretty rough ride because it's a square. But you know you get the basic idea yes easier to standardize to standardize squares in this instance speaking a standardized Thank you David. We'd like to move into the next section which is standardized and we're going to play a guessing game so does anyone have an idea who this gentleman is. His mother's son yeah. But as far as his name they mean any guess as my dad thought it was Napoleon. It was not Napoleon he's missing the hat and. Sorry for. President order now. No Oh OK Henry Ford and and it's a very good guess though which is it's the same kind of idea that we're trying to get across in report you've been to the easy yeah. Thomas Edison No OK all you get to tell this is your you forgot you know I know I forgot you did oh really you know at the moment I'm going you know at the wheel well I'm going this is you why Whitney aren't. You a nice review is OK so people know you I would me as the inventor of the what kind did you know that you're a Whitney also had a very very interesting invention he actually didn't really earn any money off the cotton gin because it was such a valuable piece of equipment people making copies and he could never get his patent on Hundred and so he just lost it but he actually made a tremendous amount of money in standardizing weaponry like guns and stuff like that for the military and he was the first one that actually used machining so that every part of the gun was exactly the same as every other part basically saying if the got guns used to be works of art like bows and arrows and things like this where you gun breaks and you got to go to a gunsmith to actually make a specific part and so no parts were interchangeable so on the battlefield once a weapon was broken the likelihood of it being able to get fixed was hardly any but he basically came up with a way of saying what if we made all the parts interchangeable so that if a gun breaks we can take these parts and use them for the other gun which is makes a big lot of sense when you're in the military. Still fun trivia for you guys right that takes us right into standardizing So why standardizing essentially answered our own question yeah OK Keep it simple. The more you standardize. The easier it is to keep it simple we were going to add on another thing there but we decided to leave it just as he was. So I don't go and I want people to talk to. So. Like Larry all our beds are the same width they're the same length I don't know if yours are all the same length are they. Oh OK so I guess I missed that part I didn't realize OK. All of their all the same OK all the foot paths are exactly the same all the blocks which there are four blocks that make are made up of four beds in each field all those blocks are the same and all the fields are the same dimensions so the idea is I don't know do we have the stone here. Oh OK So let me give you the dimensions real quick so there are thirty inches by one hundred feet the footpaths are eighteen inches wide which is an upgrade or they used to be a foot wide we did the L.A. Coleman model which he says afoot and we've changed the Martin model I'm saying and slaughtering probably his name but which is eighteen inches wide and I'm really excited about the yeah and we lost a lot of square footage but I guess anyways. Yeah. But the the biggest thing to me this year. But. The biggest thing to me I know I know the biggest thing for me about the eighteen inch footpath is that if you buy a combo to L. thirty eight hundred which is a little L. model it fits perfectly with the act tires over these beds so even though we're giving up a little space I can also use a tractor to be able to manage my fields which is a big thing for me because unless you're a young person or fairly physic. Fit it's really hard for other people to do things like broad forking on your farm it's very labor intensive on a large scale the tractor levels the playing field so my grandma could do field prep which is usually something that now my grandma is a very strong lady I'm not saying that she's not but the idea is that. It's just it wears on your body and if you're going to be doing this for a long period of time you have to think of ways that will keep you in the business and that's a big thing right there you talked about blocks you talked about oh sorry the blocks are the block dimensions are fourteen and a half feet by one hundred feet long and in the field dimensions the blocks are separated by four feet and the reason for that is that our blocks are what we're going to be putting our hoop houses over little caterpillar tunnels which unless you're going to make them yourself Jonathan dicing your house really good deals I know he's not here but he did give me this hat not me to say this but. I I have I have run dad. I have run the numbers on it and I'm I'm making some things of my own and that's because I have access to some really inexpensive material but if you don't have access to people that are willing to give you stuff for really good prices. You really can't beat you just can't beat it it's very difficult and even if you do get it you're going to need a long time the price the price for the hoop these little who houses these little caterpillar tunnels so yeah but but the but the idea here is that if everything standardized the now all your little hoop houses all your little row covers all your little Everything is interchangeable just like these guns if anything breaks on your system the system is the same on every system so what let's say you have. A section that's empty What do you do you go pull it off of here and put it on that one the idea is that if anything breaks you have so many others and you can just exchange it which is. OK and a changeable irrigation. We control fabric so silent tarps which I don't know Larry did you touch on silent tarps a little bit basically it's what they used to cover hay from getting wet and stuff. Which Silent Cal feed and stuff like that but you can get them. And they anyways people use it to cover their field so weeds don't grow up in them and it's really effective highly effective in that when it's all the same size because our old plate. Our fields were all different sizes and our beds were different lengths and we had all these different type sizes of size tarps and real covers and it's a huge pain especially when you pick them all up and then you store them for the for the winter to pull the now and be like OK Just where is the one and then you put one of you on wrap the whole thing is like and so that is not a good situation like. This back because you really can't do it one person so damned all the same you don't have to worry what size it is because it's the same Keep it simple Yeah and it works real well OK fertilizer application. Using all the same dimensions so all your calculations are going to be for the same square footage. It's simple it's simple. Ok season extension we went over that covers all those things are all the same it's just it's simple and whatever you can do to simplify your system it's just that much more time that you can spend on fine tuning your system. So that takes the end of the set up for efficiency we know we were well yes but you talk just briefly about the on line market during. Some we have a few minutes to briefly touch on this. And then we should have time for questions before the last class oh I'm. Sure OK So better together farm started out as a C.S.A. program and we were really nervous like Larry was on the whole C.S.A. model because we were new Yeah I was nervous yeah nervous maybe like Michelle where she's like who lets me be partners like when I encounter as long as you're not in charge Yeah but I was really nervous so basically we only said OK look we're going to do half a season we're going to do half a season here right and. But we did do a little bit something different when we started out we we decided see there are no farmer's markets where we are in Oklahoma there really isn't a vibrant local food movement. Yeah well and then the markets that we do you have. Yet told which is a Lexus you have hours from us doesn't make right now there is a bit of one in the Oklahoma City area but it tends to run on Saturday which obviously is not a lot of your farmers' markets are on Saturday which is a big no no no Larry Michel I'm really blessed to be in an area that has. But if you're in an area that doesn't have it really has to get Yeah we have to be creative. I don't know how for you and so basically we said OK look we don't have this so what can we do so that really what kind of steered us into the whole online marketing venture OK And the idea was is that since we don't have a farmer's market we will put our product. Up online if you want to yes Helen OK. And so we started doing that so our C.S.A. ran through and we had two options you could either go online and pick out your produce which we basically said you had to spend a minimum of a certain amount per week. And then you have the option of basically we make up a box for you right type of thing. And halfway through the season. We ran out of stuff I think is your experience too because you're new at this you don't know how it's going to work there's so much are known and so we decided to say look we're going to cancel the C.S.A. and we're just get a purely do it based on people getting whatever we have available so. It went just as well for us we sold just as much product by giving people free range of the options that we did before we had the C.S.A. and I know the C.S.A. is nice because it gives you upfront capital. A bit of a problem in our own particular area though was that we don't live in a very wealthy and lucrative community or area and so to plunk down five hundred dollars is a big thing that people it's a big financial hurdle for people to get over and so we are you going to nod your head I don't know if I'm saying right anyway so I mean I think it's for people who aren't used to the idea of a C.S.A. I think it can be intimidating because the people that we sell to are not low income people because the people who care about the kind of food that they're eating Generally you don't find them in the lower income you find them in the middle class Still my guess is they probably are financially capable but because they're not used to the culture of C.S.A. I think it's intimidating to do that and then they Yeah so there's there's multiple reasons why we've explored something different than the traditional C.S.A. model. People we've just in the fact that the tricky thing and this is why C.S.A. tends to be popular is because. You determine you determine what it is and you don't have to try to find out what the customer wants so that the process of customization isn't there because that is a process and it is extra work so for example the way we've done it and this is why it's a little tricky for me to remember because every single year we've done it differently because we're like well that worked kind of well let's trade this way and this worked kind of well it's trite this way so I'm trying to go back through the years of experiments and it gets a little fuzzy because that last year we didn't do anything at all we were moving our farm and that was full time job. But people really really value being able to choose their product. We done polls our customers and we did this one poll where we had we offered where we would build your box we call it build we farm or pick or you pick something like that wasn't you pick that got confusing with you pick which is something totally different yeah you build whatever and we offered that as an option so like the customer could build their own order or we could build it for them and save them the hassle of going online and ordering it and we had I think twenty customers and two of them chose to actually let us build their orders eighteen of them wanted to do their own. And so we're like oh OK so how do we how can we actually make this work and we're currently in the process of we're blessed our cousin is a website developer and so he generally generously gives us his time a couple times out of the year to help us build this online structure because even though I do media I don't do websites that's like a you know a dentist doing brain surgery like totally different kind of field medicine but Dolby different kind of field. So he's been generous enough to help us but technology is getting to the point where it's. Easier and easier and easier to do it on your own you can build your own Web site on your own you can open your own online market on your own yet it doesn't have there's a couple things that I'm still trying to figure out that I really like like being able to take all your orders and put them into a spreadsheet in a comprehensive way for the farmer to know how to harvest. It gets a little fuzzy here in there but in general what we're trying to accomplish by our direct to consumer sales is giving the customer the ability to customize their order in a way that we can sustainably keep up with and scale because that's the thing like OK you can do this with twenty people but can you do this with forty people can you do this with sixty people can you do this with one hundred people with one hundred fifty people you know and trying to figure out that model which has been described in glorious experiment the last five years of figuring out what that looks like and how that works so that the customer is still happy and yet we can still do it so that it actually works for us so I mean we thought of all kinds of crazy things like Well could we ship it to their front door could we you know what if we did like Amazon have you seen this thing that Amazon came out with just recently like Amazon drop we're like they they put they're putting these drop areas and they'll actually drop a package there and then you go pick it up so that they don't leave it at your door in case you're in a place where you can't really have it at your door if safety I mean there's different reasons so it's not a well what if we did something like an Amazon drop us a lot utilizing a local business in our town that would be willing to let us rent a space of their store and we put in a cooler and then we have it there so that the because there's there's a couple big things choice is one and convenience is another thing we have so many people that would love to buy from us but the it's not for them like they they can work nights they. They work nights or they have kids and so to you know so their kids get out of school and they had to take them to extracurricular activities and to try to fit us in on their stuff I mean there's all kinds of things that in our in our in our reality it's tricky to try to work around and find what works so we're in the process of figuring that out right now one thing that we're definitely doing this year Lord willing and cousin permitting. Is we're going to start processing all the orders online because what we had in the past was they would stay would reserve their order and they could have it set so it would be Cod So when they came they paid for it on site but the problem was sometimes they couldn't pick up and then it would become this like well I'm sorry I missed my order or I totally forgot about my order or I mean we try to make it as easy as possible for them to remember let me just finish my train of thought. And so it became a little bit of a. Fresh ration for us we realize people are busy but we also realize that hey they don't show up we lose forty bucks we the sixty bucks we lose however much their order was and so we had this idea that if we offered then the convenience of ordering it online as in processing their payment online when they place their order then we have the order pay for but then they can send anybody to pick it up and they don't have to worry about oh I need to give you the money so that you can pay for this we can drop it off at a local region job but other and leave it there we don't have to worry about them actually meeting up with us and you know that kind of exchange so it opens the realms of possibility for us to think hey we could actually have it we drop it at a store and they pick it up tomorrow or the next day or the next day whenever it's convenient for them those kinds of things OK that was in him I thought no you know. Very good very good good points one thing to think about and I know this is this is this is a bit of a of a thing for us because we really like the personal interaction with our customers this is very important to us but the reality of the matter is there's a finite amount of people that are willing to spend that time to actually come and see you OK because they're And there's other people outside of that circle which would like to have your product they just don't have the time to come and see you and so since we are finite beings we're not on the president we have to say OK there's going to be a given taken here here you're only one person and so how do we have meaningful customer interaction but also able to reach out beyond that small group of people that are willing to spend that extra time to actually come in physically see us during a window of time every week at a certain time when their schedules might dictate that they might not be able to come and so we're toying with the idea of maybe if we can go in this direction of having a more hands off customer experience which is what it would become. And maybe try to beef up the on farm experience for people where we might have a vents maybe three times of year where we can invite people to come out and see their farm and where it's grown and really type try to just take out time either during the season or after the season is done to really kind of boost have a meal like Larry said but maybe maybe not once a year far meal maybe we have it three times a year things like that where for those people that still want to have that personal touch that personal interaction that we can still meet that and scale our production in a way that's. Quite honestly just practical OK yeah given our location demographics and such. So that kind of goes into as much as I can remember online are selling online experience so we have about sixteen minutes before we go to break so. We can go and questions right if you have any questions if not we can you know take we could take a break now and then come back and get finished earlier. So if the question is yes. Yeah when we hear. Yeah. Have we considered making an article about how he saw an article on and I mean watch an automated wash else like the entire house was automated. How much did it cost. It's homemade I mean I would I would definitely be willing to look at something like that I mean the thing is is that you're going to be spending probably the majority of your time washing your crop and getting it presentable for your customers so whatever you can do to cut down on that time is going to be helpful but of course there's always the balance between cost and efficiency how much does a cost to make this versus the efficiency it's going to give me and that's something that everyone personally has to weigh out on their own production but I am not opposed to to automation at all. Yes. OK so how feasible is it to have a washouts in the middle of the summer with plastic on it and being like sweltering Yeah oh I thought you were talking about the well being of the farmer here Johnny love that she doesn't care about the pot you know just like OK and I saw the vegetables on us. This so so there's a few ways to look at this one is that you can use that who cost structure and put a non translucent film on it OK so there's films that you can get like from farm tech there you could put metal over it like we did our pump house you can just have a metal over the top of it you know for so you're providing shade where actually using eight mill silent sharp which is what we use for weed protection actually that's a five mill for weed or use in an eight meal and it's probably not rated for more than three years but it gets us in the door most plastic is not rated for more than four but only because the plastic break to down it because it gets hazy that's actually breakdown of plastic is more of a light transmission issue when it comes to clear plastic than longevity in my opinion we also caught on our third washout and it was under a tree and it was under a tree which made the big difference in the shade not have this yeah we do not have this time so the shade of the tree actually in the morning covered our entire wash so we had to literally get everything harvested before noon hit because when noon hit then our washing got in the sun and so that was a bit of a like you know type of thing and try to harvest before the heat of the day yeah I really want to only harvest in the morning and that's my opinion would you agree with that Larry that primary time is in the morning or in the middle of the night. Or really well quality and yeah it's it really has to do with is your crop even going to look good because if you're trying to harvest let's say kale in the middle of the day maybe it's nutritionally better but BOY No one's going to buy it because you're not going to get it in time before wilt and less do you see like a magic solution. Yeah I would but you wouldn't want to you wouldn't sell that kill after it wilted ones would you know you would eat it yeah OK OK You would it I would eat it too but I mean this guy right here yeah. We did look at locally grown dot net. OK The question was did we have any do we have any experience with locally grown dot net which is an online basically marketing platform for small scale farmers. You know what I remember when we looked at it was it was ugly it was really ugly and unless you know how to you know how to program an H T M I or something like that is it is H T M I know it's called H. What is it. H T M L. Yeah that's this OK unless you're a good programmer in that. I wouldn't you know it's ugly it's just ugly. The color scheme is off it's it's just nasty in my opinion I know some people have tried to to beef it up but when you are doing primarily web marketing you want your website to look amazing OK and I don't know do we have any pictures of and they might have improved in the last few years which. But I didn't I didn't really like it personally. This is another place that we currently have we haven't used but it was something I learned about last year at a farmer's market conference in Oklahoma it's called a grew eighty. And essentially it's that idea these guys that were farmers noticed that the farmer's market wasn't convenient for everyone so they wanted to figure out a way to get people's product on line. And so I am not necessarily advertising it I'm just saying this is something I looked at about a year ago and it kind of sort of seemed like you would fit our situation because you could also select your drop point so like people would say hey I could go get this here and socialists a really easy platform to get your products online I looked at it in about a year. Just popped into my head when he mentioned locally grown locally locally grown Yeah and so it might be something to look at and just check it out they've they were they've been actively working on it to improve it so yeah check out a groupie so that's this is another question this is another questions or. No he's not no man's pointing at somebody but oh did you have. Yet Larry was talking about a lot you come up here and answer that. But I was basically all I was trying to explain was the question. As far as the hydro cooling and then refrigerating Why does that work so well and so basically what you're doing is you're locking in the moisture into the plant so hydration of the plant is is really what's going to cause that plant's longevity. Yeah it's going to last a lot longer as what you're fighting is dehydration. Temperature right so so that's going to go to the cooler in the cooler that's going to basically it's like hold the moisture in it's going to it's going to hopes lock that moisture in the plant. When you take it the market you're going to lose some of that so what we tell people at market is OK when you take this home if you're going straight home it's probably good but you know brothers when we come in here C.S.A. with us and sometimes we'd have that C.S.A. sitting there all day they would get there to the end of the market and so when he would go home and say hey you know the lettuce or the you know the radish tops or will be thrown in the sink so sink up homeless think let him sit there for about thirty minutes the hydrate drum off the back of the bag put them in the fridge and they're going to last you you know week two weeks three weeks sometimes you know just depending on how you treat them and so you know part of it's informing your customers what they should do with them when they get home as well so that they understand how to tactfully store their food properly because most people really don't know how to do that. This made me think of something that I just want to mention real quick I went Has anyone heard of Fiza far no is that what it's called it's the food Modernization Act that's been going through Congo Well it's already through. Yeah so it well it's actually something that it has a lot of the gap principles but it's it's not necessarily connected it's a federal thing and it doesn't necessarily apply to these small scale things but I went to a training and one of the things that they're very concerned about is making sure that when you start if you're using hydro cooling that needs to be possible water and you need to change it out often because they don't want because when you hydrate a crop like that when you put it in water it's going to it's going to have some that water come into it if that water is contaminated it's going to draw those pathogens into the vegetable and then that's one of the reasons why they've had a lot of you know things like from contaminated water or things like this so it's really important that our small farmers we do our due diligence because if one small farmer gets found out that he's been spreading a pathogen everyone suffers and so it's something that we really need to take seriously because people are watching and yeah. Bleach soap. What do we use to clean our washing so we use we can use bleach we have you slow so there are other maybe more agriculturally friendly products I wouldn't know exactly what their name but I know that there are some when Brad and Judy Johnson were here last year well in Florida they mention some stuff that is really good as well for that kind of stuff. Yet might not be as harsh as bleach but has the same effect Sean. A sprinkler for my plots OK have I decided on a sprinkler for our plots come to my class on Friday and that's what I'm going to be talking about most of the overhead your geisha and and what we use and I'll actually have actually have most of it here I'll have it at my boo so you can play around with it and stuff like that. Right. Yes or sorry about that so what's the difference between a hoop house and a greenhouse structurally speaking very little difference as far as the main metal structure the difference is that a greenhouse primarily usually has automated cooling and heating it's a double layer poly with inflation in between it which means that there's a dead air space which means that you actually are heating that structure because you're trying to limit the amount of heat loss from that structure so it's a much more expensive and you're spending money in a heater you're probably going to have fan louvers in that thing it's going to be more temperature and humidity controlled it's just just a high end you know who passes just a single layer and you're using passive ventilation which means you have roll up sides on it your doors are going to open up and in a greenhouse situation that will be all pretty much automated and you'll have extra insulation by creating that dead air space and then you have heating in that house as well so that's the difference once heated and double layered in the other one is unheated in a single layer. Right and it's good because to yeah people people go back and forth and when I was saying look if you're going to be using a hoop house for a wash else I'm saying make it a greenhouse The reason I'm saying that is because it's going to be heated and so in the winter time it shouldn't freeze in there if you're heating it so that's why I said that a hoop house wouldn't be heated which is fine for Spring Summer Fall production but in the wintertime if it freezes What are you going to do you know your pipes are going to break it it's just going to be a big problem is ours we're not going in the wintertime not yet yes oh I. Don't like the idea anyways. The great question that's a great question so if you have something that's already established a farm that's already established what can you do to to change it move you know it's getting. There are I mean obviously it's going to take some cost and what I would suggest is the first thing. OK The first thing that I would do that I would standardize if I was if I was doing the same as I would concentrate on trying to move my fields over to all the same bed lengths bed with those types of things that's the first thing I would do because once you get that established then your irrigation would might be the next and you change not my might it will depend on your economics do you have the money to do this but. Or the landscape I mean some people but you can still make your bed. Yeah. Well. You could just make them also I would definitely start with the whipped aspect of it and then I would try to do the length and I would. I would probably be pretty vigorous I mean I would have to know your situation if you're on a crazy slope and there's just like no way to do it then you might just be stuck. Or you have to move but a good lawyer I think one of the one of the I mean this is really key you going Google Maps zoom in to your property and take a picture of it and draw all literally just draw in there how can I this is what I have this is where I watched this is how it's all laid out how can I change this where it makes more sense what's more efficient. Yeah I mean there's no measure for you will know exactly what you have to work with and. Don't be afraid to change there's a there's a gentleman Conor Creekmore don't get too attached to stuff. When we get too attached to stuff it all all the sudden it's like that old car that really needs to go but we just can't let go of the car and then your wife ends up broken down in the middle of nowhere because you couldn't get rid of the car you had this affection towards. My wife loves her cat we call it in order and in affection and we need to be able to really throw away systems. We are working and go to a system that works. And and I'd recommend changing slowly. Because you might have this idea that oh man this would work so much better and then you spend all the time and all the money in changing you like why that didn't work years walls I thought to start by changing one thing and giving it a try or you know this works really well OK I think I'm going to do it over here and then you know do you make me your mistakes small one of the things that we're doing on our farm is that all of our beds are one hundred feet but as far as the how those fields are divided if can we get that picture back up on the screen basically it's like a rail this way it can't go anywhere because we have all main roadways but I can shift my spacing this way so I'm I'm in to supporting Here let me let me get up here real quick so not that you have a situation like this but you see this this I'm never going to gravel this even though I drive stuff over and I'm never going to do that why because what if I got the spacing off what if it isn't the most efficient method then what I'm going to do here is I might shift this over I might shift this entire spacing and I have as we have built this farm this one's fairly locked in but all of these here they can go this way and they can go this way to change up that spacing spacing so I think think about when we even when you are making changes maybe leave a little extra fudge Droom where you can make some minor adjustments is another thing and so I would be happy to look at your place and maybe brainstorm with you a bit on that you're going. To take one more. So. Here maybe if you're making a suggestion even just a suggestion at our school farm we because of space constraints with the existing cultivated area we compromised and we made two different middlings OK So you know there's right almost there time where to. Obviously every piece of land every. Area's going to have physical limitations we live in this world and it's just the way it is but the idea is that whatever we can do to help try to go in that direction like I'm not going to say oh you unrighteous person you weren't able to change your bed links that's not that that's not the point the idea is to try to strive for these types of things and efficiencies Yes right very good yeah so. What should someone think about when they are considering the length and width of their beds in these types of spacing OK so here are a few things. And maybe Larry would like to speak to this to one of the one of the big things that I think about is that who is this farm for him I go Is this going to be exclusively or primarily a tractor operation in my going to be doing everything mechanically If so then my beds need to fit my mechanization and I want to have a standard bed and then hone in all my mechanization for that exact bed top OK but what if what if you're not going to use all mechanisation what if you're a person and you're a person Yeah this is this something need a question. Yeah that came across strong Didn't it and you are definitely a person so I am not questioning your. Personhood. But the idea is that what if I'm going to be working and I'm doing primary a lot of these things I want to have something that fits my actual With OK which thirty inches is really about as far as you want to go OK that's about that's about the average for a human stance side stance and didn't say dance I said stance. Anyways. And so that's that's the width factor on that and as far as length is concerned this is this is this is an interesting thing because I went back and forth on this and I'm not quite sure exactly where I settle on this one. My biggest thing is it all the same OK that's the. Biggest thing to me is it standardized. A lot of people that are doing cultivation with tractors like Larry the longer your roads are the better because once you get on that road with your tractor you just go go go your if you have it too short you're always turn around and so you need to take that into consideration if you have a lot of mechanization length is your is your friend now if if you're a small scale grower like ourselves and we're thinking that we're going to be using human scale stuff and I want to be able to also have break up because I don't want to have to walk all the way down that row and then walk all the way back up and so here with the way I have it broken up fifty feet one way fifty feet back there it's just a human metric where I don't want to walk more than that and when you're dealing with things like silent tarps and these types of things that you're using for weed protection if it's too long or if it's too wide one person can't move this crazy thing it's too heavy and so thinking think yes especially when it rains even one person might not even be able to move I mean it weighs it down so you have to think about how many people am I going to have working here how do I have what do I have to manage these big pieces of material I have to make human scale. So that would be the other consideration Larry you want to add anything on to that. I usually do in human skills and I've suffered terribly for it. Yeah I think when you've been down the thirty inch bed is a really good bed we have forty two inch bed tops a four foot bed top when you've been down and you do this. You can reach right to the middle of a thirty inch bed on our beds Michelle does this. And if you do that for twenty thirty years it takes its toll and so you have to you know I can straddle a forty two inch bed like this you know which is reasonable for me to sit there and do things like this. But it is she can. Frustrated with me over that so we've actually considered going to a sixty inch bed top and put a walk down the middle of it. So you know it's thirty inches right but I can still no no but the point for me is the way for me is same as you use your shoe you can use your tractor in your grandmother can work your beds I can still work my bed with my tractors right just by changing the will with all my tractors and that's that's the beauty and that's that is the reason why we went to the eighteen inch footpath instead of the foot there really isn't appropriate infrastructure made for two to skinny beds beds that are two that didn't wasn't right english beds that are too skinny they're just nothing to that scale but the L thirty eight hundred and I'm sure there's John Deere versions of the same thing about For us it worked well. It fits right in that so I can use mechanization and I can also use go back to the human scale side of things so it really is a I feel like a really nice a middle ground between the two So yeah. OK So break and we'll be back for the ten and if you guys have any questions we definitely can come up here and ask questions during the break. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about the universe or if you would like to listen to more sermons Please Visit W W W audio first or.


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