Berry Farm in Progress

Starting a Berry Farm

In 2011 we bought the farm, literally that is, with fields full of soybean.  Following the fall harvest we began work on the berry rows.  With the initial soil test from K-State extension service, it appeared we had great dirt but needed to increase the organic matter and lower the pH.  A bit of a crazy reversal for the soil as the previous owners had added lime to increase the pH so we were simply helping to restore the natural order.  

 

We incorporated horse manure, over 10,000 pounds of coffee grounds, coffee chaff, Canadian peat moss and pelletized sulfur into the soil.    

Horse poo, smells like money

Horse poo, smells like money

Mucking in the sun

Deere power and plow

Deere power and plow

Using one row plow to turn manure and coffee grounds deep into the soil

Keeping warm

Keeping warm

Mucking even in the cold but you do work up a sweat

Flyer for coffee shops

Flyer for coffee shops

Ground to Ground, coffee grounds to our berry ground.

Don't dump recycle!

Don't dump recycle!

We saved over 10,000 pounds of coffee grounds that would have gone to the landfill!

Spreading grounds

Spreading grounds

Berries love caffeine!

Coffee chaff

Coffee chaff

Its almost like bean bags, light and smells great

Ditchwitcher

Ditchwitcher

Filling the dirt back into the ditch

Preparing the pipe

Preparing the pipe

This was the easy part

Pipe along the upper half

Pipe along the upper half

200 yards plus of pvc

Connecting the pipes

Connecting the pipes

My fingers were purple for a few days

Drip pipe along rows

Drip pipe along rows

We put buckets over the new plants and then mulched

Drilling holes for the up tubes

Drilling holes for the up tubes

Lots more planting to do

Lots more planting to do

Prepared beds 18" deep

Mulching

Mulching

While better than mucking off the trailer too long a drive to big mulch pile

Looking good

Looking good

Not trying to impress, just never ending mulching.

Installing the drip system

In 2012 our initial test rows of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries seemed to be doing well.  Unfortunately, that was a dry year and we spent a lot of time watering with long lengths of garden hose to keep them moist.  So in 2013 we planned for installing a irrigation system.  We had prepared 27 rows for planting with over 1000 plants, garden hose watering just wasn't in the future!

 

Using 1.5 inch pvc pipe, John Deere pressure regulated drip pipe and what was the most confounding connectors (until I read the instructions), we had a drip system ready.

Planting

When planting we mix up "Brownie Batter" for each plant.  Takes time rehydrating peat moss, mixing in sulfur and small amount of fertilizer but gets the berries off to a good start.  

 

Weeding is also one of those evils that consumes time.  We don't use any herbicides, just weed pulling and torching them.  

 

Mulching is also key to thwarting weeds and keep roots moist.  The first year we mulched by hand but we now have graduated to a Mill Creek mulcher.  Best money spent!!

Torching weeds

Torching weeds

and enjoying a cigar

Making Brownie Batter

Making Brownie Batter

Peat moss, sulfur and fertilizer

Shoveling out batter into each hole

Shoveling out batter into each hole

Not the batter you want to lick off

Not the batter you want to lick off

Two Year old bare root plants

Two Year old bare root plants

Planted rows

Planted rows

We spaced the planting over 6 weekends

Putting up end posts for blackberrie

Putting up end posts for blackberrie

Huck and the new row mulcher

Huck and the new row mulcher

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Address: 18962 Santa Fe Trail Leavenworth, KS 66048

Email: oregon.trail.farm@gmail.com

Phone: (520) 249-0480

Veteran Owned

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