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2018 - The Farm

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#21 PtMD989


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Posted 15 January 2018 - 06:50 PM

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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#22 TrentL



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Posted Yesterday, 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. :)




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.

#23 TrentL



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Posted Yesterday, 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.




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, Yesterday, 06:01 PM.

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