What We've Been Up To Christmas tree farming is a year-around occupation! We just finished one of our busiest seasons on the farm — planting season. We currently have low inventory of our full grown trees in the field, which is a problem we hope to avoid in the future by planting in very large quantities over the next few years. Planting season is made up of two major tasks: 1) Planting last year’s seedlings into the ground, and 2) Potting new seedlings.
Measuring: This step is more difficult than it sounds! Some of our fields have nice, even, existing grids that we simply built off of or filled in gaps where trees had died in previous years. However, most of our fields made our heads spin trying to get our spots equidistant and in a somewhat straight line!
Prepping: Each year, we set up an assembly line for potting, prepping our tables, a few thousand pots, and have our compost and bark dust delivered. We use a partially composted dark medium density bark dust for our pots to allow for root development on our new baby seedlings.
Drilling: Each year we rent a “one-man” portable auger to drill our holes. Technically it can be moved by one person, but it’s really more of a two person job, and an exhausting one at that.
Potting: This is where our friends and community come into play. Down the assembly line, the baby seedling gets popped into a pot, filled with bark dust and topped off with a layer on compost and a sprinkling with fertilizer. Then they get carted off to our designated seedling area set up with weed barrier fabric.
Planting: We use a layer of chicken compost to coat the bottom of our newly drilled holes. Then, carefully removing the tree from the pot that has been its home for the past year, we place it in the hole, taking care to unwind any roots that have begun growing in circles. Fill in with compost and make sure there’s no big air gaps and on to the next one!
Year-Round Care: To ensure these baby trees survive, we water every week (or make sure it rained enough) and fertilize throughout the year.
Fertilizing and Mulching: The last step of the process is to fertilize each new tree along the drip line and apply a generous layer of mulch all around to control weed and grass growth. We learned our lesson last year not to skimp on this step!
This year, we planted 1,240 trees into the fields — all Douglas and Noble Firs. We potted a whopping 2,150 baby seedlings into pots, experimenting with some new species (Fraser and Nordmann) along with our standard order of Douglas and Nobles. Although it will be 6-8 years still until these trees are ready to be sold, we’re hoping that these years of heavy planting will be a sizable investment into the future of Good Boy Farms!
Welcoming new animals to the farm! This quarter, we have also welcomed 18 baby chicks and 3 new barn cats to the farm! The baby chicks give us the opportunity to provide more eggs (from the hens) for our family and learn how to harvest our own meat (the roosters) for the first time. Another small but significant step toward self-sufficiency and sourcing our own food. This year, the animals we have at the farm are just feeding our own family, but we are hoping to broaden the scope of the Good Boy Farms business model in coming years and begin providing farm fresh meats and other animal products to the community. Our three barn cats came to us fully grown, neutered, and with all of their shots up to date (shout out to Oasis for Animals!) Nicole has dubbed them Noble, Douglas (or Dougie), and Fraser in honor of our three main species of trees we planted this year.
And it's never too early to begin prepping for Christmas! We've already started preparing wood rounds for a new batch of hand-painted ornaments this year, and perusing after-Christmas clearance sales for decor for our wreaths and other handmade products. You could be the lucky winner of one of our 24" wreaths at the Oak Harbor Christian School Spring Auction coming up on May 20!
Thank you for following along with us as we learn and become more established as a family and as a business here in Oak Harbor. Your support is invaluable to us. Your friends at Good Boy Farms, Dave, Janet, Chris, Nicole, Josh & Kristi