Farming Software – Organic Farmer 3.0

Maintaining organic certification requires keeping complete, extensive and detailed records about all aspects of farm work, and requires keeping copies of receipts for all purchases of seeds, fertilizers, etc. Even market gardeners that do not seek organic certification must maintain extensive records to be compliant with food safety laws as codified in the FSMA. As I am an intrinsically disorganized person, I have created a relational database to facilitate keeping and maintaining the required records. The database is now on its third iteration of improvement. The beauty of the database is that it runs in the cloud on Airtable, which allows access by smartphone from the field, as well as via web browser from a laptop or desktop computer.

Annual recertification of an organic farm requires an inspection that typically takes two to three hours, with most of this time devoted to auditing farm records. During High & Dry Farm’s most recent certification inspection, Airtable allowed me to power through the audit, which was completed within one hour, with no significant issues reported.

We am now making this database system, Organic Farmer 3.0, available to farmers completely without charge. Sign up for a free Airtable account here. Once you have signed up, download a copy of the Organic Farmer 3.0 database to your Airtable account here. Detailed instructions for use of Organic Farmer 3.0 can be found here.

Foraging

I can’t decide whether foraging food or growing food is more satisfying. Our horse pastures sprout meadow mushrooms this time of year, and this year the crop has been huuuuuuge.

A few of these will become a side-dish for steak tonight. The rest go into our dehydrator.

Agaricus campestrina

Farming Aptitude Test

Multiple choice (chose all correct answers).

You need to remove this 100′ row of exhausted summer squash plants to plant a fall crop of radishes and salad greens. To accomplish this task you will need:

summer squash
Summer Squash
  1. A stout pair of gloves
  2. A cool cloudy day
  3. A helicopter with grappling cable
  4. Patience

Farming Software – Organic Farmer 2.0

Maintaining organic certification requires keeping complete, extensive and detailed records about all aspects of farm work, and requires keeping copies of receipts for all purchases of seeds, fertilizers, etc. Even market gardeners that do not seek organic certification must maintain extensive records to be compliant with food safety laws as codified in the FSMA. As I am an intrinsically disorganized person, I have created a relational database to facilitate keeping and maintaining the required records. The beauty of the database is that it runs in the cloud on Airtable, which allows access by smartphone from the field, as well as via web browser from a laptop or desktop computer.

When High and Dry Farm recently received its initial inspection for organic certification, the inspector was blown away by the power of this system. A standard part of such inspections is for the inspector to point to a recent sale of a farm product, and demand that the farmer show records demonstrating that the product in question was indeed grown on the farm and was grown using organic methods. The inspector pointed to a sale of 10 lbs of fennel. Using the data base, within 60 seconds, I was able to show that the fennel in question was planted in the greenhouse, on a specific date, using seeds purchased on a specific date from Johnny’s Seeds, and the database provided an image of the seed package and of the purchase receipt. I showed records indicating that the plants were transplanted into Bed D of plot #2 on a specific date and harvested on a specific date, and I showed records indicating that the bed in question had been amended on a specific date with organic fertilizers, showing images of the receipts for the fertilizer purchases.

We am now making this database system, Organic Farmer 2.0, available to farmers completely without charge. Sign up for a free Airtable account here. Once you have signed up, download a copy of the Organic Farmer 2.0 database to your Airtable account here. Detailed instructions for use of Organic Farmer 2.0 can be found here.

Sowing Winter Crops

Seeded Hoophouse
Hoophouse seeded with carrots, spinach, and hakurei turnips

After it’s summer crop of tomatoes and peppers, the new hoophouse has been seeded for its winter crop of carrots, spinach, and hakurei turnips. This winter crop is always risky business because germination takes weeks and nothing really grows significantly until day length increases to 10 hours, which happens in the middle of February.