Soilent Greens, Plus, Plus

My partner and I are inextricably bound to the sustainability/homesteading way of life. It’s in our DNA. We both feel strongly that the mainstream “American way of life” is not sustainable, that looking out for your own is the only way to go, and preparing for the worst while enjoying the here and now is what wakes us up in the morning, and keeps us going through each day. It’s only since we both got into our 40’s that we were able to make the dreams a reality.

Soilent Greens is the name of our business.  We will be producing microgreens (in greenhouses) and exotic vegetables and edible flowers for high end restaurants in the Brazos Valley. Through A’s profession, we already have sales relationships in place, and an awesome resource in Texas A&M.  Organic certification by the USDA is planned to start in April or May, and we have software to purchase for record-keeping and fees to pay for registration with the County, State and Federal authorities. We’re looking into our CSA options, and will be donating excess to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. We’re working with some students at Texas A&M with irrigation, greenhouses, organic options and sourcing.

A large portion of the outdoor gardens and all of the potager will be given over to production for us, and this summer, fall and winter will be a learning process on how to freeze-dry, can, preserve, cure, and freeze.  We would very much like to have goats soon for milk, which will throw in the learning mix how to milk, make cheese and soap (and of course, how to take care of goats). We’re also planning on a rescue donkey (because my BFF wants one and because they’re AWESOME guard animals against coyotes, which seem to be really fond of our farm…assholes), and ten or so geese (for a business yet to be announced).

We started years ago by buying our produce and meat local and organic whenever possible, and by researching/planning planning planning our own organic concern so when the time was right, we’d be in place to start immediately.

That time is now, and we’re ready.  I have had a cache of organic seeds since September.  While limited, it was a reasonably-sized variety of plants that we really wanted to start with immediately.  We purchased an in-home greenhouse in December (right after we moved into the farmhouse) and while it was probably too early to start the seedlings, I did it anyway (because I occasionally exhibit low impulse control).  Based on previous experience with this type of greenhouse, we’ve had fantastic success with germination.  Since it’s Texas, we’ve built a cold-frame and will be moving the bulk of the babies outside beginning next week.  If I get a freeze warning, I’ll move them back in, but I think we’ll be okay.

We have a potager (or kitchen garden) right outside our side door, measuring 21’x24′. It will house tomatoes, beans, a hot pepper garden, an allium garden, and an extensive selection of herbs in four rectangles.  The larger back garden (50’x75′) has been planned for 1/3 devotion to us and 2/3 to the business.

SO! Busiest spring ever:

February:

  • Harden off seedlings outside in cold-frame
  • Order chicks/raise chicks
  • Order microgreens seeds
  • Purchase all microgreens equipment/set up
  • Cultivate first round of microgreens (harvest starting Day 12)
  • Finalize logo/packaging
  • Firm up sales relationships
  • Establish shipping relationships

March:

  • Raise chicks
  • Harden off seedlings in cold-frame (round 2)
  • Roto-till cardboard and compost in potager

    Potager start: Lasagne layering (4 rectangles with 2' walkways)

  • Plant seedlings
  • Register business/Get tax license
  • Harvest first greens – SELL
  • Roto-till big garden
  • Plant seedlings
  • Finalize CSA arrangements
  • Get goose pasture ready
  • Order Talouse geese (10)

April:

  • Put chicks in chicken yard
  • Raise goslings in brooder
  • Get USDA out to farm; start certification process
  • Continue greenhouse production
  • SELL
  • Take care of all gardens

May:

  • Raise goslings
  • Continue greenhouse production
  • SELL
  • Take care of all gardens
  • GET MARRIED!!!

The beauty part of all of this? I ain’t scared.  At all.  I’m excited that I learn new things every day, even if they’re not pleasant.  I’m hands-on, every single day.  I tear shit down, I build shit up, I take care of plants, animals and my partner.  I’ve got a firm plan in place and am meeting my goals, every day. If things get too hairy, we have plans to hire me some part-time help.  Also, the plans involve making as much of this process as possible automated with timers for watering, irrigation already in place for plants and animals, and a shotgun at the ready.  And, since it’s Texas, we’re planning on suspending greenhouse microgreens production for June, July and August.  Delicate plants just can’t make it in that weather (even in a greenhouse), and I might die.  We’re sincerely trying to avoid especially the latter.

By the time we have the wedding here, the gardens will be in place and there will be animals galore.  The trees will be greened out and there will be flowers.  The pool will be up and running.

I’ll be exhausted and happy. And married. And a “real” farmer.

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4 thoughts on “Soilent Greens, Plus, Plus

  1. Lilybell says:

    I hope to be eating some of your yummy food someday! I really enjoy Caffe Capri and Cafe Eccell. Maybe you have chatted with them already? There is also Christopher’s. I am sure Rami at Caffe Capri would be interested in new food source options for items like herbs and tomatoes (his restaurant is Italian).

    I will keep looking out for you guys–I am also a BV resident and am in the process of building some extra raised beds.

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