It may still be mid-summer, but my head is already exploding with plans for next year. Today we broke ground on the site of our expansion field. This new piece is about a half an acre of flat bottom land on the front part of our farm.
My favorite part about this new field is that it was the place where my parents first ran their community garden 25 years ago. As such, it is also the place where growing food began to seep into my soul. There's something poetic about coming full circle :)
Here are some of the pluses and minuses about this new land (at least as I see it now -- we can be sure this list will evolve next year!).
In the plus column: (1) it is one of the only flat pieces of land on the farm. This makes it easier to form beds and work the land. (2) It is already certified organic! Our neighbors have been using this land to graze horses, so we were able to get it included in our inspection this year and now it is all ready to go! (3) It is relatively close to our barns and water source. One thing that I have learned this year is how much time I spend moving in between fields--ferrying crops, changing irrigation etc. So having our fields in close proximity definitely helps increase efficiency. (4) There is less clay and more loam in this field. The organic matter is relatively high (particularly compared to some of our other fields!). This (hopefully) will make working the land easier.
In the minus column: (1) Several large hills drain into this field so we have to work around the natural waterways. When tilling this weekend we divided the field into sections with a winding waterway crossing through them. This will make the beds a little less regular, but hopefully will allow us to avoid flooding. (2) Also because it is bottom land it's cooler so it probably won't dry out as quickly as some other fields making it potentially challenging for early spring work. (3) The best access point is actually off the state road. This isn't necessarily an issue except we'll have to keep our eyes out for traffic and try not to be too much of a menace to our neighbors.
All in all I'm super excited about this new space. It feels good to be getting a head start on the work for next year and I'm actually stunned that we have been doing well enough this year for me to feel confident investing in expansion! How cool is that??? Must be time for you to tell your friends to get on the waiting list and join our farm share community next year :)