Recently, I spoke with Farmer Chris of Cedars Farm, Ontario, Canada about the importance of crop diversification and irrigation on a small farm.
Chris has been farming Cedars Farm for nine seasons and is transforming the land in the process. His passion for farming and sustainability is carving the path for the farm.
When they first purchased the farm, they had grand plans for the two acre plot. However, the previously mono-cropped commercial field could not deliver. In fact, the soil here was completely dead. Years of fertilisers, pesticides, and machinery had destroyed the soil structure and sapped it of nutrients. The first crop of tomatoes turned purple, withered, and died.
It was clear that a lot of work would be needed to return the land to a productive and thriving farm. Starting with the soil, the first mission was to bring it back to life.
Transforming Cedar Hedge Farm
Fast forward to now and it is hard to imagine that first season. Now, there are two acres growing veg with around 250 crop varieties ranging from cucumbers to tomatoes, beans to peppers, and almost everything in between.
But this transformation has not only taken time – with eight seasons of erratic weather and droughts lasting from weeks to months at a time – but the farm has been under serious stress, too.
With just a watering can filled from a water wagon on the farm, irrigating the plot has been an arduous challenge. One drought caused them to abandon the cucumbers as it was impossible to irrigate enough for the water to penetrate deep into the ground with just the watering can.
Chris realised that without reliable irrigation they wouldn’t be able to continue.
Is solar an option for irrigation in Canada?
In 2021 Cedars Farm invested in a Futurepump solar water pump. Using solar appealed as it allowed them to keep the farm off-grid and clean from polluting fuel pumps.
With the capacity for irrigating two-acres, the Futurepump SF2 met the needs of the farm perfectly. Something that Chris said was hard to find. Most solar pumps available on the Canadian market are large scale with huge solar arrays or tiny pond pumps: the Futurepump hits the niche in between and is perfect for farmers like Chris.
Now with access to reliable, off-grid water pumping, Chris is seeing continued success across Cedar Hedge Farm and is gearing up for a very busy 2022, after having the their best cucumber harvest ever last year, despite prolonged drought conditions!
You can read more about how Chris has been using his Futurepump solar pump read his guest blog on how solar irrigation can make a differene in Canada.
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