Here is a summer update about progress at the farm here in Yalaha, FL.
So we are just over a year from first setting up the aquaponics at the new farm and just about 8 months since we started selling produce from the farm.
It has been a warm summer this year, and a wet one. Last summer, even without shade cloth I did manage to keep lettuce growing on through the summer but when growing for your own home it is often far easier to dismiss imperfections. This summer I’m finding that what might have looked good enough for us, it’s always good enough to sell. It is also so hot and rainy this year that even with the shade cloth, most types of lettuce are not heading up enough to sell as a whole lettuce (even the loose leaf or butter lettuce.) Summer crisp seems to be the only lettuce still able to produce right now.
We have stopped offering produce through the Orlando Home Grown Coop for the time being in order to focus on getting the fall plantings going.
It is not uncommon for farms in this part of Florida to “take vacation” this time of year. Our best growing season is Fall through Spring. Summer is often just too hot and wet.
That said, we do still have Basil, chives, water chestnut, some pond plants and mosquito fish.
Now is also a good time to get your own systems built and start cycling since the weather is good for cycling up a new system to be ready for the fall cool weather growing season.
We have about 130 eating size catfish, another 150+ catfish that will be eating size by next spring, and 200+ new channel catfish fingerlings that will be out of quarantine and available for sale in 6 weeks.
We have plans to expand certain aspects of the systems to grow our most productive and in demand crops. The first year of a farm’s operation is often spent figuring out what grows well on the farm as well as figuring out what sells well. I find I need more media beds but I need them to be narrow to facilitate commercial growing of certain plants. The 4′ wide media beds don’t suite commercial growing of very many things since it is too hard to access the plants to tend, deal with pests or harvest.