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The 11th Annual Hot Pepper Awards - WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

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2018 - The Farm


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#21 TrentL

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 09:49 AM

That’s a brave endeavor. My hat’s off to ya. It sounds like you did your research. I hope everything turns out great.


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Thanks, I'm still trying to wrap my head around how much labor this is going to be. I have a pretty good idea of my costs now, when I need to buy what, and what it's going to take. But training workers is going to be a new thing to me, not like I have a curriculum or best practices or anything built up. "Best practices" and refining procedures will take a long time to hash out. 

 

The thing that has me more nervous at this juncture is "where the hell am I going to sell all of the produce, IF we have a successful grow?"

 

My original plan with "the farm" was to do a small pepper grow (a glorified garden) and turn the rest of the property in to a shooting range. The only shooting range in our county has a membership cap of 300 people and a 10-year waiting list, not accepting applications; meanwhile there's 35,000 gun owners with no place to shoot. And there's not a 500 yard shooting range within 3 hours of us.

 

But there's some delay with government red tape on getting the plan for that business enterprise off the ground. I have the business plan for it, all of the engineering worked out, but to harvest dirt for backstops involves digging a pond, and as soon as you talk about digging a pond there's an alphabet soup of government agencies who get involved.

 

For a 500 yard range there's a lot of dirt to move, 36,000 cubic yards. It's very flat terrain so 20 foot high berms have to be built; which is a LOT of dirt. :)

 

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Anyway the business plan included the contingency of "if there is a delay in zoning or permits, and /or if the project is halted, the property will be farmed."

 

So a-farming I go.

 

I'm more qualified to start a shooting range than I am to farm peppers. Most I've ever done is a 272 plant grow at home, and it about wiped me out, doing that alone. This half acre I'm doing in 2018 is going to be 10x that size.  And still just a small fraction of the land's potential. It could support 105,000 chinense or 1.5 times that in annums.

 

So all I have is a half decade experience growing peppers at home. I was decent at it and know the process, but I also know all of the hundreds of things that could go horribly wrong; like if the field catches a whiff of 2,4-D or Dicamba, it's game over and the crop is gone overnight. Had half my garden wiped out once by a neighbor spraying for poison ivy upwind; and they spray square MILES of fields around here with that crap. 

 

Shooting range is more predictable and potentially more profitable. I'm an NRA certified rifle, pistol, and shotgun instructor, NRA certified chief range safety officer, have a certificate of training for range development and operations, and have served on the executive board of directors at another range for years. I'm an approved IL concealed carry instructor, and a federal firearms licensee. Also I have experience organizing, sponsoring, and running NRA Highpower and Smallbore events, and coaching folks on everything from positional shooting to long range marksmanship. Even taught US Marines about the love and care of Soviet small arms, once upon a time, in a different life. ;)

 

But creds aside, THIS year, I have to be laser focused on learning about pepper farming. I have a farmer I'm in a 50/50 with on a soybean crop on the rest of the field, but the pepper crop is my baby. Sink or swim, it's on.



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#22 TrentL

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 05:59 PM

Hmm... I goofed on spacing. I went back through my old grow long, something was tickling the nether regions of my brain. I'd planted annuums at 12" spacing to good effect, and chinense at 24" spacing, before. Not 3' as I mis-remembered.

 

Adjusting the numbers and doing the math I'm 18 rows short on seed, even digging in to my old seed stock for better answers.

 

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Hope the vendors I ordered from throw in good freebies. Gonna Need 'em. :)

 

Struggling with the logistics now that I realized a 50/50 annuum / chinense split is going to be 5,000 plants instead of 2500. That's going to eat up a LOT of indoor space.

Gonna need more lights.. shelves.. trays... dirt, labor.. hell everything just doubled.

 

Filling 50x 150 foot long rows spaced 3 feet apart is going to take a metric buttload of plants. (Yes, that's your measurement of the day. "Metric Buttload" - which is one partial buttload more than an "Imperial Buttload".)

 


Edited by TrentL, 16 January 2018 - 06:01 PM.


#23 Ohjay

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 04:49 AM

This is awesome!

Going to be very interesting to follow the grow (and the government red tape).

Best of luck to you!



#24 Chilidude

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 06:04 AM

If there is any decent history with the place, why not let somebody metal detect in there to see what kind of old relics can you find inside the ground before you start building all over the place. :rolleyes:

 

Find some of the historic relics of the place and put them up for a display or something in a nice glass door container to everyone to see.


Edited by Chilidude, 18 January 2018 - 06:19 AM.


#25 TrentL

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:16 AM

This is awesome!

Going to be very interesting to follow the grow (and the government red tape).

Best of luck to you!

 

Thanks, just finished clearing out a 16x16 grow room in the basement to start sprouting. Got a bunch of 4' long tray warmers in yesterday. Several big heavy boxes of 1020's. And $1700 in grow lights on the way for that room. Four different 8-bulb high output T5's, two each, I figure I'll get some idea of what I like out of those 4 different brands before committing to a big order for the farm. 

 

If there is any decent history with the place, why not let somebody metal detect in there to see what kind of old relics can you find inside the ground before you start building all over the place. :rolleyes:

 

Find some of the historic relics of the place and put them up for a display or something in a nice glass door container to everyone to see.

 

Should be loads of horseshoes around in the dirt. For close to a century it was a wheat/pasture/horse farm. They bred and trained horses there, until horses went out of style. 



#26 Chilidude

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:32 AM

 

Thanks, just finished clearing out a 16x16 grow room in the basement to start sprouting. Got a bunch of 4' long tray warmers in yesterday. Several big heavy boxes of 1020's. And $1700 in grow lights on the way for that room. Four different 8-bulb high output T5's, two each, I figure I'll get some idea of what I like out of those 4 different brands before committing to a big order for the farm. 

 

 

Should be loads of horseshoes around in the dirt. For close to a century it was a wheat/pasture/horse farm. They bred and trained horses there, until horses went out of style. 

 

Nah, i am not talking about any random iron horseshoes, modern metal detectors can cancel that stuff out most of the time. Much more interesting things for me are various buttons, buckles and maybe few random old coins dropped by the horse riding people. If you know somebody local, that have metal detecting as a hobby, i am sure they would be willing to help you.


Edited by Chilidude, 18 January 2018 - 11:35 AM.


#27 TrentL

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:39 AM

 

Nah, i am not talking about any random iron horseshoes, modern metal detectors can cancel that stuff out most of the time. Much more interesting things for me are various buttons, buckles and maybe few random old coins dropped by the horse riding people. If you know somebody local, that have metal detecting as a hobby, i am sure they would be willing to help you.

 

Too bad they can't detect arrowheads. I live on an end-morraine (huge hills glaciers pushed up) and this area was thick with Indians once upon a time, and they hunted these hills very heavily. Sometimes after a hard rain I can go for a walk out back and find arrowheads that have been uncovered out in the woods. Arrowheads, axe heads, etc it's all over around here. But finding them is just a matter of luck. Can't dig and screen because the roots are too thick in the soil.


Edited by TrentL, 18 January 2018 - 11:40 AM.


#28 Chilidude

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:42 AM

 

Too bad they can't detect arrowheads. I live on an end-morraine (huge hills glaciers pushed up) and this area was thick with Indians once upon a time, and they hunted these hills very heavily. Sometimes after a hard rain I can go for a walk out back and find arrowheads that have been uncovered out in the woods. Arrowheads, axe heads, etc it's all over around here. But finding them is just a matter of luck. Can't dig and screen because the roots are too thick in the soil.

 

I usually just keep checking the surface of the farmers field while detecting, it is not too rare to spot flintstone pieces from the stone age. We do not have any Indians here, but i would not mind finding few arrowheads.


Edited by Chilidude, 18 January 2018 - 11:43 AM.


#29 TrentL

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 01:37 PM

Buckeye's order showed up today; everything counted out fine

 

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Edited by TrentL, 18 January 2018 - 01:38 PM.


#30 Edmick

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:02 PM

Looks like a nice spread of seed. You gonna be planting all those seedlings by hand or do you have a machine?

#31 TrentL

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:13 PM

Looks like a nice spread of seed. You gonna be planting all those seedlings by hand or do you have a machine?

 

By hand, this year. I put a local help wanted out on the local town's facebook page and have a half dozen workers already signed up.

 

Plan is to sprout, then move to 4" pots, then plant out from the 4" pots.

 

I did 3" pots one year, they got rootbound. Did 5.5" pots the next, was a waste of soil and space. So I'm thinking 4" pots will be just right.

 

I'm just praying they don't get a whiff of 2,4-D or Dicamba when they go out.

 

I lost my 2015 grow from it.

 

ROMr2Io.jpg



#32 TrentL

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:14 PM

Going to hang a great big 10' banner on the split rail fence at the farm saying

 

"2,4-D / DICAMBA SENSITIVE CROP"
"SPRAY AND MAKE MY LAWYER'S DAY"

 



#33 Devv

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 06:05 PM

Quite the endeavor Trent!

 

I wish you all the luck!

 

Now instead of digging a pond; do the math and look at skimming the soil in the potential shooting lanes, lowering the overall depth, keeping it level, and using that soil to build the backstops. Just a thought.

 

Of course it would probably harm any future farming.


It's all about the pods....


#34 TrentL

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 08:04 PM

Quite the endeavor Trent!

 

I wish you all the luck!

 

Now instead of digging a pond; do the math and look at skimming the soil in the potential shooting lanes, lowering the overall depth, keeping it level, and using that soil to build the backstops. Just a thought.

 

Of course it would probably harm any future farming.

 

Can't because this property sits at a natural low spot on miles of fields. If I dig down any deeper I'll be making lots of shallow ponds. :)

 

I guess that could work though if I want to switch over to growing rice, and hosting Vietnam re-enactments instead of a shooting range. :)



#35 Chilidude

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:02 AM

Best of luck to you, maybe you could even try making some sauces to sell, while you are at it. :hot:


Edited by Chilidude, 19 January 2018 - 01:06 AM.


#36 TrentL

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:14 AM

Best of luck to you, maybe you could even try making some sauces to sell, while you are at it. :hot:

 

Still a ways off from certified kitchen. I do make my own at home but can't resell. 



#37 TrentL

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:08 AM

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#38 TrentL

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 11:48 AM

Moving some of my bigger gear to the farm

 

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Still got a LOT of insulation work to do.

 

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Plus wiring.

 

 

 

 

Found out all four of the garage doors are somewhat "lacking" on weather stripping with the last snowfall blowing hard from the southeast.

 

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Gotta address that before I crank the heat up!

 

Also had a side project land in my lap, son's fiancee's 08 ranger with 39k blew a rod through the block this week (oil changes are your friend, people...)

 

whIsNf3.jpg

 

Going to teach my boy how to do an engine swap once we get that insulation up.

 

In other news had some lights show up, and the rest of my initial grow trays. Hundred 1020's and sprouting trays. 4' Electric warming mats. Etc.

 

The grow room at home is going to draw 5209 watts, 43.4 amps. So I've got to run 3x 20 amp circuits to that room. (This is lights + warming mats). 
 
At the farm, the scale gets much more massive when I transplant to 4" pots. 34 banks of grow lights will draw 14,688 watts. That's 122 amps of continuous load @ 120v. So I'll need to run 9 additional circuits upstairs to handle it (keeping each loaded below 15 amp continuous). 
 
Good thing I do electrician work as one of my day jobs. :)
 
Insert gratuitous action shot
 
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I'm famous at work for my diverse skill set;
 
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Of course whenever I spring a leak from somewhere the guys make me reset the sign. Can't remember what I did to cause a sign reset in this picture but "applying pressure to the wound helps stem the flow of blood"
 
9dg38Pa.jpg
 
 

Edited by TrentL, 20 January 2018 - 11:49 AM.


#39 Chilidude

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 01:45 AM

Good, zero work or freetime related serious injuries is a goal to keep, so try to work safe and you may only get few scratches and bruises along the way, but nothing too serious. :P

 

Have you thinked about the metal detecting stuff we discussed earlier, maybe find a one or two local hobby guys to help you out with the terms to let them search the land you own without you paying them anything for it because you are not trying to find anything specific, because most guys in the hobby do this for for fun of the search and not for the money believe or not.

 

If lucky you/they may find few interesting items in the ground to put in a shadow box to all people to see to tell the tale of the land's earlier history you now own. My saying is, save history not bury it.


Edited by Chilidude, 22 January 2018 - 07:17 AM.


#40 Dinsdale

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 07:21 AM

because most guys in the hobby do this for for fun of the search and not for the money believe or not.

 

I agree. I used to do that a few years back (I still have my metal detector, too bad I'm so far away!). Being the first person to see and touch an object that was buried for decades or centuries is a reward in its own right. And then there's the research to find when that object was buried, who it belonged to, etc. It's a lot of fun!






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