Why Observing Land Before Starting a Farm is So Important

Why Observing Your Land Before Starting a Farm is So Important, plus Resources for Planning a Farm - Heirloom Soul Florals

I recently moved to Buffalo, NY from Chicago, IL. Roughly 80% of my conversations with Buffalonians end with, “Oh, so you’re here from the WINDY CITY!!!”

Anyone who moves from Chicago to Buffalo knows this is an extravagant statement on several levels (that means me, and maybe Jesse). Having learned from the greats (read: Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends & Influence People) I choose to not correct anyone about the Windy City thing unless they’re my close friend and I trust won’t take me for a know-it-all. I’m here to make lifelong connections, not prove people wrong.

I need to clear up this Windy City thing. Chicago is not a windy city. Up until two months ago I might have said, “Yeah, downtown can be frigidly windy Mid-January at 8 am,” but the truth of the matter is, Chicago is just not that windy. The term “Windy City” actually has nothing to do with weather, and in fact, is a nickname derived from 20th century politicians who couldn’t keep their babbling mouths shut (source).

Turns out Buffalo, NY is the windiest city I’ve ever experienced. In the most complete literal sense of wind.

 

IRRATIONAL THOUGHTS I HAVE DURING A WINDY DAY IN BUFFALO:

  1. 1. The three huge, boxy garbage cans usually nestled against my house have just been horizontally catapulted into the vacant lot next door. What is this magic. The lids bang up and down, it’s the empty sound of abandon and torment. I’m home alone and now I can’t go in the basement to get the laundry. This must be demon work.
  2. 2. Which one of you big ass trees is going to fall on my car? My seven year old car that is the only asset I have to my name besides my MacBook, which I technically co-own?
  3. 3. Do the bunnies come out of their burrows? Do the rats come up for air? Where do the stray, feral cats roam? Do birds die? What of the mail carriers? What does the fox say?
  4. 4. I should probably chain the furniture down on the front porch.
  5. 5. I can’t sleep. I can’t let myself fall back asleep. I need to lay here for the next three hours and listen to the wind whip between my house and my neighbor’s house and bang against the storm windows. It’s making such a loud WHOOOOOSHing sound. If I fall asleep I am certain I will die in this windstorm.
  6. 6. Is Lake Erie the ocean?
  7. 7. I’m never fucking living near an ocean.
  8. 8. There’s no way I can grow a flower farm in this vacant lot. Too much wind. My blooms will be completely destroyed.

Folks, as much as #8 kills my insides, it is the reason why OBSERVING AND INTERACTING with your land, BEFORE starting a farm, is entirely key. Seasoned farmers will always tell you this.

Things to observe on your future farmland: Sun patterns, wild animals, trespassers, weeds that are currently growing, WIND!, average rainfall, how well the soil drains the rainfall, apparent bugs/diseases on adjacent plant life. Take notes! Taking notes is absolutely key in reminding yourself of all your observations when you’re actually farming. I promise you won’t remember it all otherwise.

Never be too hasty when planning a farm. Moving to Buffalo in October, at the very end of a growing season, was totally annoying for me. I was anxious to start digging, planning, planting – Spring Stuff. I’m bummed at how ridiculously windy it is in Buffalo 50% of the time, but now I know I need to look for land somewhere more inland. Blessing in disguise.

It’s windy AF today which means I’m not going anywhere.

 

If you’re looking for resources to start an organic farm, I’ve got you covered:

4 Steps to Planning + Budgeting Your Organic Farm/Garden

How to Find Land for an Urban Farm

5 Steps to Building Healthy Soil: Increasing the Biodiversity of Your Soil Food Web

How to Start a Compost Pile (and WHY You Absolutely Should)

How to Cover Crop Your Garden

6 Ways to Increase Food Production in Your Edible Farm/Garden

Epic Spring Planting Series: Tips for Sowing Seeds + Tips for Transplanting



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