Some of the resources we have available

We know that trying to decide if this is a good experience for you or a group can be challenging.  One of the requests we had was to show more of the resources we have available here. In response, we divided our resources in to 4 different groupings:

 

1. Site resources that explains more of our land and buildings 

2. Machinery or equipment we use

3. Hand tools and equipment 

4. Irrigation equipment

Site Resources
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This former hog farm has many different elements that make it well suited for both growing the produce as well as hosting groups of volunteers.  

We can store lots of equipment, have a cold room to store vegetables, and plenty of room for volunteers to work and park their cars or even buses.

The land is well suited to grow crops and has a pond fed by tile drainage that is used for both irrigation and some fishing.

Area to handle plants
Area to handle plants

Here are about 10,000 plants that we cared for until planted.

Plenty of parking
Plenty of parking

We can handle the parking for over 100 vehicles at a time if needed.

Cold room
Cold room

Our cold room will cool things down to 40 degrees and hold about 8 pallets of produce until it can be transported to the Food Bank.

Area to handle plants
Area to handle plants

Here are about 10,000 plants that we cared for until planted.

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Machinery Types of Equipment
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Main Tractor
Main Tractor

This is a John Deere 4020 gasoline model rated around 80 HP. Seems to be a good balance for most purposes. Running the forklift, mulch lifter and 6 ft tiller are the biggest demands we have and this tractor works well for those purposes. The HP is more than needed for mulch laying or spraying.

Farm Truck
Farm Truck

This is a 1/2 ton 4x4 that is pretty much dedicated solely to this project. It mostly hauls people, equipment and produce around the place.

Tractor
Tractor

While it does do a lot of the work on the place, it is a common attraction for kids to climb.

Main Tractor
Main Tractor

This is a John Deere 4020 gasoline model rated around 80 HP. Seems to be a good balance for most purposes. Running the forklift, mulch lifter and 6 ft tiller are the biggest demands we have and this tractor works well for those purposes. The HP is more than needed for mulch laying or spraying.

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We keep adding equipment as the project grows.  Some of the equipment is fairly standard and some of it is more specialized.  

We try and continually improve how we operate to make it the more practical for our volunteers to participate.

The use of the plastic mulch, mowing between rows, a hooded sprayer and our pond- sourced drip irrigation system are some the reasons for the less common equipment.

Hand Equipment
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We design our project to utilize large amounts of help from less experienced volunteers.  Many of these tools or equipment types are not something people would have readily available.

 

In response to our project growth, we have accumulated enough equipment so that we have been able to successfully host multiple groups over 100 people.  

We still recommend that people bring their own gloves if they have some they prefer.

Loppers
Loppers

Used to harvest produce like winter squash

Dibblers
Dibblers

Used to poke holes through the plastic mulch and make hole in soil for transplanting.

Pliers and wire cutters
Pliers and wire cutters

Used largely when putting up or tearing down the fence trellis.

Loppers
Loppers

Used to harvest produce like winter squash

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Irrigation
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Plastic mulch
Plastic mulch

We use the black plastic mulch as a weed barrier. The use of the plastic mulch reduces the evaporation and weeds so less irrigation is needed. Underneath the plastic mulch is the drip tape.

Irrigation Supplies
Irrigation Supplies

This picture is of all the materials used to bring water from the pond to the drip irrigation lines. We mostly use drip lines, but also occasionally use sprinkler systems.

Drip tape
Drip tape

This drip tape allows for a slow release of water. By watering the narrow band, we don't water areas that don't contain vegetables. Not only do we save water, but we don't water the weeds which means less weeding.

Plastic mulch
Plastic mulch

We use the black plastic mulch as a weed barrier. The use of the plastic mulch reduces the evaporation and weeds so less irrigation is needed. Underneath the plastic mulch is the drip tape.

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One of the keys to our success is the use of black plastic mulch and drip irrigation.  Because we cover over 10 acres at our place, a normal garden hose just won't work.

 

This is not intended to explain all the details of how to irrigate, but rather what equipment we use in our operation.  The use of the water from the pond provides a cheap source that was plentiful even during the summer of 2017.