The following is a chronological list, starting with the most recent, of notable periods that brought Farrell Fields to life.
March 27, 2020
We are currently prepping for the 2020 season. We don’t have a lot of space to work with (only 1125 square feet), but we have enough to offer up to 20 CSA boxes to people in London, Ontario. Considering the COVID 19 outbreak, and with farmer’s markets being closed, we figured a CSA box would be the perfect option.
April 24, 2019
I am currently in the process of piecing together the plot. I have a huge order of compost arriving on Friday, and seeds will be planted that day (Spinach, Radish, Turnip, Carrots, Squash, Peas, and more). I have about 1000 seedlings started indoors, which should be ready for transplant shortly. Pictures soon to follow! I will be following a no-dig, no-till, compost-rich, amendment-only program. Big thanks to Charles Dowding!
The extent of issues halted most of the production, and I eventually called it a season in late July. The well ran out of water in late June, and I had no access to a public water source. There was also no rain for more than 1 month starting early July. However, I managed to harvest more than 80kg of cherry tomatoes, but the plants had already shown signs of blight, so I decided not to sell the fruit. The 150-200 Cherry Tomato plants took up 1/7th of the total area I had for crop production. The outside area dried up and no new plants could grow, nor did I have compost on hand to amend the outside soil, and it was too late in the season to invest in good soil. A very good learning experience, if anything.
That winter, with the heavy snow falls and then constant warming and cooling, caused the hoop-house (as seen in some of the pictures) to collapse. The early spring brought quick melting of the snow and flooded the entire area with 4+ feet of water. Mainly because of the collapse, I didn’t use that plot in 2018, and instead invested in a house with a large backyard for a more manageable production project, which starts in 2019!
June 23rd, 2017
I have decided against doing any Farmer’s Markets for the time being. I don’t quite have the yields to make it economical. However, this may change. I had a very good harvest yesterday, totaling 15.5kg (34lbs) of produce. This succession included Arugula, Basil, Turnip, Kale, Mustard Frills, and Spring Mix. I estimated yields, of at least this size, every week from now until the end of the year.
The seeds are in, the soil needs work, but I’m on my way. The greenhouse and garden area have never been sprayed with any insecticides, pesticides, or chemical-based fertilizers. I put down 300 liters of organic fertilizer and plan to add another 300 liters very shortly. I have been in contact with all local farmer’s markets, but the Convent Garden Market and Western Fair grounds markets are full for the year. I will be at the Masonville market on Friday’s and the Trail’s End market on Saturdays, starting early June (most likely June 9th).
And so it began. Sometimes you just have to start, put yourself out there, and see where it leads you. Taking your idea and simply starting to work on it is 50% of the battle. While inquiring about a house on a couple acres of land, I got in contact with a real estate agent who (which no other agent has ever done, at least on my watch) asked what I planned on doing with the acreage and what I do for a living currently. After informing her of what I planned to do, and telling her about my web and software development company, iaps, she asked me to do her website for her AND allowed me to use their unused greenhouse and garden area for a trial run.
This is when things got serious. Being back in London, having moved from Mississauga, I focused on looking for land (with or without a house), and researching how to create the best soil. At this time I knew that I had to start from the ground up, so I watched videos and read up a lot on soil and best practices. Not too long after that, I found The Urban Farmer – Curtis Stone’s VLOG #2, which he had just released. Ever since then, I have watched every video he has released, along with multiple books and videos from researchers and other farmers.
Despite having limited space, I again attempted to setup a garden, but this time I decided to do them all from seed, and started them indoors near the end of April. The seedlings started to grow, but soon died off thereafter; most likely due to lack of nutrients in, and the age of, the little peat pucks each seed was placed in. I managed to get some tomato plants going right from seed, directly in the garden, but I ended up moving and had to transplant all the tomato plants, which ended up never producing any fruit due to lack of pruning knowledge.
The name, Farrell Fields, was taken from a small village, of the exact same name, where my great, great, great grandparents lived in England in the mid 1800’s. This discovery was made when my uncle did some research on the family name and heritage, which he provided to me around this time.
After listening to a TED talk, “A foie gras parable” from chef Dan Barber, inspiration set in. The most inspiring part of the talk begins at 10:10, but I suggest listening to the entire video to get the whole picture. The idea, which still brings me to tears every time I hear it, is to create an environment conducive to life and happiness, and that became my life goal.
My backyard garden was very tiny (12x8ft). I spent a bunch of money on top soil, got some seedlings from the local grocer, and hoped for the best. It went pretty well, yielding a few peppers, beans and tomatoes, but all yields were low to moderate.