Kitchen Garden

Farm Transition

View from the Barn
View from the Barn

RURAL CEDAR TOWNSHIP — Yesterday was the Practical Farmers of Iowa field day at Carmen Black’s Sundog Farm.

Carmen and Susan Jutz explained their farm transition process in a simple duet about bankers, government agencies, insurance companies and community.

Like everything Susan has done since I met her almost 20 years ago, the transaction of selling the farm had a home made feel to it. It looks like Carmen will continue that localized and home made culture.

Attendees walked the farm, with Carmen and Susan explaining pest control practices. Highlights included treatment for flea beetles, tomato blight, worms and cucumber beetles.

What I hadn’t thought about was providing proper space for air to circulate among tomato plants to prevent spread of disease. The wall of cherry tomatoes that blew over in yesterday’s storm is a good example. The wind caught the entire planting like a sail. If they were separated more, wind might blow through them, leaving them upright.

Susan’s eventual departure from the farm is another instance of my generation going home. On Sundog Farm there is a chance for sustainability as Carmen adds farm management to her experience. Opportunities like this are rare and Carmen appears to be making the most of it.