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YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED – 080219

Peter Arbeau – 7:45
Hi Curtis, just wanted to say thank you for your videos and your passion.
I just ordered my first gothic pro caterpillar tunnel from farmers friend. The exchange rate was outrageous!! Old news I’m sure. Do you have any Canadian companies you use instead or is it a suck it up and pay type of deal?
I was also wondering what your opinion is on the Sprung instant structures or Ark kit? As I was watching your video on Mann’s organic I could not help but wonder if a Sprung structure would work for their operation.
It would be nice to hear what you think the future of greenhouse structure look like.
I’m located in Caroline, AB. The Ark kit sure looked like it would work for my context.
Thank you for all you do!
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Gelton – 11:51
I will chime in albeit with a question that you may need to lean on some of your contacts to answer.
I am interested in learning more about using a tractor to farm on a small-ish scale.  I have 1/3 acre currently under production and have a perfect 1 acre plot that I would like to use a tractor on.  I have 7 acres in total and can use the tractor for many other chores around my place as well.
I am looking in the 40-50 hp range for the tractor.
1. What wheel widths would you suggest?
2. What bed sizes would you pair with those wheel widths?
3. What three implements would you start with? I am thinking a power harrow, plastic mulch layer, and a cultivator.  Not sure on the cultivator if I should go with a tine weeder, wheel weeder, or something different.  But am totally up to suggestions.
I should add that in this one-acre plot that would be worked with a tractor, I would most likely go with long season crops like field tomatoes, squash, zucchini, okra, eggplant, garlic, celery, etc….(hence the plastic mulch layer)….
This will free up the 1/3 acre under production currently to only quick growing crops.
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Ewing – 16:52
I have a couple of questions for you…
1. What are your opinions on the tilther? I think I remember you mentioning in a video of yours that it is a bit under powered? I know Neversink uses the tilther extensively but they have sandy soils. We are just starting out and have 15 100′ beds with a fairly heavy clay soil. I’m a bit hesitant to invest in the bcs for this size. Our market is pretty saturated (Eugene, Or). Our current goal is to be able to produce most of the high-value vegetables that we currently aggregate for our 50 member full diet csa (meat, milk, eggs, veges, fruit, & grain) that we operate. Being that our market is fairly saturated, I’m not sure what our niche will be outside of the csa going forward and how the market garden will evolve. If we do get larger, I tend to lean towards tractor based farming as we already have them for the pastured livestock business my in-laws operate.
2. Any tips on nursery production in mid summer for fall planting? Would it be beneficial to use a 30% shade cloth over the flats to help keep the temps down? Is outside or in inside a hoophouse better?
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Paul – 23:01
Hi Curtis,
Our farm is in zone 5.  In the past years we’ve had problems getting fall crops started in July. If we go later, they don’t grow enough. If we start sooner, it’s a bit early for storage. And some of our beds are only available after the garlic is lifted, which is usually the first or second week of July.
In the nursery, most small starts like lettuce and cabbage just seem to stall in their flats, probably because of heat or day length – despite more watering, placing in a place with fewer hours of sunlight, etc.
Some specific row crops that are problematic are parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, and winter storage radishes. They do well once it gets cooler, and then taste better after several light freezes.
We can water the row crops 4 or 5 times a day, mostly by hand – watering can and hose with wand – and the germination rate still seems to be poor. Maybe the seed germinates, but the heat dries it out.  This year on one seed packet it said to plant the seeds twice as deep in the summer. First time hearing that – but it makes some sense.
Especially rutabagas, they always seemed to come up so sparsely. This year we observed much closer, counted plants in some areas, and found them disappearing, and found out that grasshoppers, which come out in July, were eating the seedlings almost as soon as they emerge.
So we covered it with Agribon 15 as an insect barrier, and it does better.  This is our first year working with row cover, and we found out the Agribon sheds water unless it is on the ground, so it’s a matter of uncovering it every time to water – which can be multiple times a day on hot sunny days until most of them are up.  One lesson for us is to start rutabagas earlier to get a head start before the grasshoppers.
Thankfully, the grasshoppers left the winter radishes alone, they must not like to eat them.  Also in one grow area we have a lot of yellow jacket wasps. Maybe the yellow jackets are helping get rid of the grasshoppers, as we see them hunting on the ground.
Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
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