Friday, May 27, 2011

May Farm Update

Been a very busy month here with stuff simply bursting. Every laying hen we've got has raised a brood this spring and while egg production is down a bit on that it won't stay that way for long. I'm looking to bring the scale of poultry up to about 100 birds(ducks/chickens) this year as the planting is now of scale to support that many birds in pasture. The flax seed broadcast in the newly cleared areas are setting now, and should provide ample fodder. Where the chickens go so goes nitrogen! and the banana planting in the swales surrounding the chicken area and aquaponics are approaching commercial scale--certainly will be that way soon. I had no real intention to get into bananas in a big way when I got here, but they've done so well and will withstand planting in the worst soggy places--we should be producing a couple hundred pounds a week here by the end of the season-- way way more than we can handle!-- so we'll see if there's some kind of small time market for them. Seems that there is and the quality we produce is better than most. The big question is whether or not to expand in a big way into dairy goats this year, and we'll see how that works out, but we've got pasture and fodder for them now, and it's might be the natural next step. Having been big into cheesemaking and all that in the past, and the climate here being good for that sort of thing, it's probably worth a go, but a big responsibility too. One step at a time!

Planted quite a few koa and coffee this last few weeks and most seem to be doing fine especially with the weather good for that. Pigs have got a few and I'm going to have to start watching for that a little closer but all in all they're staying in the ground. It's great to see some of the first trees planted getting to the point that they look, well like real trees!-- and we're going to get some meaningful coffee harvest this year for the first time. Last year there wasn't much but what we had was very good, extremely low acid and flavorful. We should be able to pick a few hundred pounds of cherries this year if all goes like it looks it will.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Farm Report 2010

2010 was a big year for us, moving from the scale of garden scale production to small commerical quantities of a number of products-- and we're pleased to report that these flew out the door! This year we've probably doubled production capacity once again, especially in the taro planting, as the quality of the waena farmed product has proved to be uncommonly high and in great demand. We're interested in working with local poi producers who may have needs for particular varieties that can often be hard to find. Let us know, as we'll plant them for you!

Our small scale aquaponics system has also proven to be a great boon and a very scalable design for the small producer, capable of netting returns on investment in short order, and as designed as a modular system is easily expanded to accommodate new products. We can't imagine the farm without it any more and would encourage a well thought out system for any small producer. Ours is completely off grid, and automated and we've got 150 square feet of grow tables that run off of one 130 watt solar panel. This system will produce 5 crops a year at a density of 1 lb a square foot in premium greens.

As for the forestry part of the project, our earliest koa plantings(3 years) are now approaching an average of 20 feet in height and we're accelerating the program, hoping to put a hundred more in the ground this spring. The nitrogen fixing effects are becoming notable already and the trees and proximity planting are flourishing. We're hoping this year some of our trees may be mature enough to begin to set their own seed, if so, that's going to be a major victory in closing the on site cycle. Wish us luck!