Monday, June 30, 2008

Beet Greens & veggie adoption...

This year we added a "veggie adoption table" to our pickups. If ever a member does not want something in their share we ask them to take it anyway and put it on the adoption table, so it can find a loving home...

At yesterday's pickup a couple bunches of beet greens made their way to this table. Both found loving new homes, but I'd like to point out that beet greens are yummy! This is especially true for young ones, which need to be cooked (if at all) for only a little time. Also, always enjoy the greens on the tops of your "regular" beets, they are a little bigger but just as yummy.

So the question becomes, "What do I do with beet greens?" And as this week is not the only week these hardy greens will find their way into shares it is an important question. Try one or more of these...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ominous cloud hanging over our first pickup... Maybe a bad omen.?
No! First pickup went well. A couple people forgot or didn't show, but that is to be expected with the frist pickup of the season.
In the above photo, do you see the dark green (almost grey) rows? Those are weeds that were just knocked down with the flamer. This is almost our last bed has not been weeded as carefully as it maybe should have been.

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First Pickup.

Waiting for first CSA pick up of the year to start. This week... beets, turnips, beet greens, lettuce, and spring onions. Tommorow I will post recipies for beets and beet greens...

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tour at farm...

Yesterday we did a farm tour for teachers taking a summer course on sustainable agriculture at Lake Farm Park. I hope they learned something and did not bore them to much...
Darwin Kelsey (of the Countryside Conservancy) started the session by talking about the state of the local food system and the national food system. About how we can move in a direction to make local food a reality. Thousands of small farms needed in our region!
Afterward we walked around the feilds and I talked about bugs and soil and foliar feeding and cover cropping... At the very end I talked about the triple bottom line or the three "P"s of sustainablity; Planet, People, and Profit.
Hopefully, it was not TO boring, most of them looked interested in what I was saying. One said he was impressed but "You're crazy to do this!" I asked him "But I thought you were a teacher!?!"

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

May garden...

When I consider that this is what our garden looked like 6 weeks ago we have come a long way... Still have a long way to go.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The sad truth...

I almost did not blog about this, as I am embarrassed about what it says about my skills as and future as a farmer, but I decided I need to come clean! So here it is...

We finally bought a small soil test kit. I know! We should have done it first thing when we turned ground but we did not. Results would not really change the fact that we still need to plant those feilds. But last night we tested soil from both of our fields (1 location each but we will be doing more!)

The results?
Carrot row: Ph-6.5 (good), Nitrogen - Low to very low, Potassium-trace (that vial was supposed to change color?), Phosphorus-very low. UG!!!

Potato row: Ph-5.5 (low but potatoes like that), Nitrogen - Medium to high (Finally a good result!), Potassium - trace (I wonder if the test is working!), Phosphorous - very low...

Not good results, as hubby said it is amazing grass grows up there! So we need to work on both our short term and long term soil building and fertilization plans.

Short term we have two backpack sprayers on the way so we can foliar feed our plants as much as we need to. Currently we use a small sprayer and it is such a pain that we do not always spray when we should. You may be asking yourself "But I THOUGHT they were growing naturally!" We are! But foliar feeding is an established method of organic fertilization. By using a combination of natural products we can supply many of the needs of a plant efficiently and reducing runoff by spraying the products on their leaves right before sunset. Then when the stoma open at night so the plant can breath it absorbs the nutrients very quickly and effectively.

Longer term I fear that our planned cover crops and green manures will not be nearly enough to make up the deficiencies. We will probably have to use significant amounts of organic soil amendments over the next few years to make up the deficiencies... It may be a long road.

But in the end I want to be able to post that our soil in amazingly healthy! High in everything and a perfect pH, the kind of ground that will grow any seed that touches it into a wonderful vegetable!


We have always strayed away from growing potatoes before (except for a handful with the home gardener tire method.) This year we took the plunge and planted close to 1000 feet. When we saw our first Colorodo Potaote Bettles we braced our selves for combat and probably the death of our plants. But we took the advice anouther organic farmer and started scouting them daily for bugs and eggs. Thankfully they are bright and easy to see, the eggs are orange and even easier to find. Sso 1000 feet takes maybe 15 minutes a day to look at during which point we squash any we find. So far I think we have missed one group of eggs as we found some larve on one plant yesterday, but no major damage... And the first of the blossoms are here! We have 5 diffrent kinds so except for the Yukon golds CSA members should just execct a taste of each kind.... Next year we are thinking a quarter acre.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Only a little hail...

I have to say I feel blessed this morning. The weekend came and went fast, and my poor hubby was left pretty much alone to do the farm chores (that is what farm chores that could be done with the rain!) I spent time at the hospital with a family member (who is doing better and came home Sunday.)

I did make it the Junior Ranger program on Saturday but it was a close thing! The program started at 1:30 and I left the hospital at 12:00 for the 30 minute drive home, but there was a bicycle race going on and (I am only exaggerating a little) EVERY road between my house and the hospital was blocked by this race which spaghettied it's way through Akron! But we made it and had a great program (with all girls.) I will be posting about that later.

About an hour after they left it started raining. And we had a nice storm with heavy winds that took down some branches and only a little hail. Some areas around us had a lot, so we were pretty lucky. It rained some more on Sunday, so we were not able to get in the last of our transplants (if you plant them in heavy mud they can have problems establishing roots!)

We also enjoyed a nice meal (planned for a month) with friends. We went to Fire and, as always, had an amazing meal. Thanks Doug!

With the rain and things we are a little behind, but that is the way of things around here it seems. We still have plenty of time to get good growth off our plants. And in the mean time tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and squash plants all have the first of their flowers! We are still pulling flowers off the tomatoes and peppers, as the plants are still a bit small to try to make fruit, but it is looking like we will have a good year, as long as the weather gods stay on our side...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Anouther activity..

Which seed weighs more?

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Let the fun begin.

Junior Ranger activity... Match the veggie to the seed.

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What a sky!


There are times I wonder "Why are we doing this?" When we are in the field on a 85 degree evening after working a 9 hour day weeding the tenth hundred foot row of the night, and wondering why things do not grow as fast as they are supposed to... Then there are days when the breeze is cool and the birds are singing, when you find more lady bugs the potato beetles when you look at your field. When the sky is calm and beautiful, time slows down, and I feel so lucky to be doing what I am....

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Junior Rangers...

We have the first of three Jr. Junior Ranger Programs at our farm today. Little Sprouts will run today and Saturday and for kids 4-6 and will teach them all about seeds and how they grow. At the end they will get to plant a tomato or pepper in the field.

The third program is in September and then the program will based on harvesting in the field and trying what are picked. Potatoes, tomatoes, beets and more are on the schedule for then...

But I thought I'd mention on the blog that there is still space for this Saturday's program at 1:30! If you have a child in this age, consider the program, we had great fun last year...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sugar Creek Farm...

I just had to post this link to Sugar Creek Farm's blog, which I read regularly...

In the midst of the disaster in Iowa and so positive, and amazing photos.

Cool in Cleveland?

My husband claims that I am not cool. He goes as far to say that "There is not even enough cool in a Harley to make you cool." And, I fear, he is not alone in this opinion. There have been plenty of times in my life when I bottomed out the "cool-meter," but lets not talk about high school Star Trek conventions and memorizing first air dates for original episodes in their star date equivalents! Let's pretend that was someone else... (I have perhaps shared to much!)

So imagine my surprise when I was listed in Cool Cleveland this week in there "Emissions from the Blogsphere" (scroll way down...) But then flame throwers are always cool! I'll need to get a video of my husband flaming at night and post that, talk about cool! My hubby may claim that it is he who wields the flame thrower while I man-handle the propane tank (not nearly as cool) but I'll take my cool where I can get it...

Chicks on the move...

AW... Aren't they cute?

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Monday, June 16, 2008

500 year flood...

Today keep your thoughts with the farmers in Iowa. 2 million acres of soybeans and 1.3 million acres of corn are destroyed. And though some of it will be replanted (depending on how well the ground dries) with those acres of crops are the livelihoods of family farmers. People who thought this would be a good year and stretched their resources to earn the high prices corn will draw this year...

Remind me not to complain about the weather (at least not to much) this year...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flame weeding

Weeding with flame the only way to go... One of our new toys...
Take a look at this video... With our little torch we weeded inbetween all our rows in our small field in a little over an hour. With a hoe or our small walk behind tiller it would have taken a day...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hold on market for a while...

This weather has been pretty annoying to us this year. The picture is of bolting lettuce...

Just when things were starting to grow a heat wave hit and all of our nice spring stuff is done. Our radishes turned to disgusting pithy hollow balls, our broccoli rabb bolted, and lettuce turned bitter. The good news is the turnips, beets, squash, beans, and the like seem to be loving it, not to mention the tomatoes and peppers!

There will be lots of yummy food this year, but not this weekend. So we have decided to stop doing market for a few weeks. This will give our stuff a chance to grow a little more without us having to pick baby stuff for market and fearing that our members will get short shifted their first week.
Speaking of the first CSA week. We will be announcing it to an email to our members this weekend! It will be really soon, but not next week. Our season may start a little slow, but before long their will be more produce then they know what to do with!

We are seriously eyeing a nice big hoop house which will give us a place to grow earlier crops for everyone next year! But we know that our season will be a good one,and we thank all our members for hanging in with us...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New chicks came in...

Wow, do chicks gro w fast... This is a diffrence of just two weeks in age. The first was born may 28, the other June 10... They sure look cutter when they are babies. One of the joys of farming is to get that 7:00 am call from the post office, "Your chicks are here!" Then it is anticipation until you can make it there, anticipation and a little fear that they will not all be OK. Until you get one you find it hard to belive the post office can safley ship a box of tiny day old chicks, but they have beendoing so for over 100 years and no one else (fed ex-ups) will take live animals. One of these days we will have to order a box bees.... they come in a wood box with screen sides so you can get a good look at the bees, I doubt the ladies at the post office would find them as cute or be as happy to get the box for me....

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Why become a farmer?

Tractors are a chick magnet!

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Market today...

We had our first market of the year today, not much to sell produce wise but we had starts and they sold well. It was brutal hot, which I think kept some people at home. Right now we are getting ready to go out and do some chores, more planting and some more tilling...

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Visitor in our garage.

Look who we found in our garage last night... We live in a zoo! What was a bullfrog doing in my garage, and how did it get there? But my neices thought it was pretty cool. We let the youngest feel its skin and took photos of the 13 year old puckered up like she was going to kiss it, then we releseased it at the tree line... But really, with all the snakes we've found a frog is nothing...

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

First Market this Saturday

This Saturday we will be at market for the first week!

We expect to have the following available:
Baby Turnip Greens
Honey Caramels
Starts - Tomatoes, Peppers, and Squash

Many of the starts are heirloom varieties and several are on Slow Food's Ark of Taste! And, no, it's not to late to plant your garden. In the past we have put tomatoes in as late as early July (because we lost our first planting) and still got tomatoes!

Some of these items will be in pretty limited quantities, so visit us early. The market opens at 9:00.

As always, thanks for your support of our farm and local food!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

This evening on the farm.

calm evening., birds singing, sky changing... I love spring.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my neice with her chicks... she is not that interested in holding them a lot since one pooped on her...

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Update on the PD article

A friend contacted them about us and they said we had not answered our phone when they tried to call us. We do not have an answering machine on our home phone as we always use our cells, and recently between our jobs and farm chores are seldom inside the house during daylight, unless it is raining! Most people contact us on email, or else our cells. I'm not sure where they would have gotten our home phone as we do not list it anywhere. If they contacted the Cuyahoga Conservancy the number they have for us are our cells, and that is what they always give people... No one attempted to contact us by email.

In any case that was not the only error/omission in the article. Poor Crown Point! If anyone is wondering they do NOT require members to work 30 hours a week! They do offer a working share where members receive a discount in exchange for working on the farm some during the season, but it is not 30 hours a week!

Thanks to everyone for their support of our farm.

Rain and plants...

Yesterday we saw the rain was coming (2.5 inches expected in next 2 days) and it was a mad race to get more stuff in the ground. The soil temperature was (finally!) warm enough to feel safe putting in our untreated squash and pumpkin seeds, so it was going to be an evening of squash and pumpkin planting!

But then I got home and there was a box on my doorstep. 200 sweet potato slips (plants)! I was really beginning to wonder if our order had been lost as we were supposed to get them (I thought) 2 weeks ago! But there they were and they had to go in then, as 2 inches of rain will make it hard to plant very much for a week... So it was a change of plan.

With the help of my sister (who is visiting) and my 5 year old niece (who is a sweety pie and very patient) we put in the sweet potatoes. Then a quick look at the weather on our cells said there was only a 20% chance of rain in the next 24 hours (80% in 48) so poor hubby went and got the hoses and dragged them out to the field. We typically do not need to set up our irrigation this early in the year, but we will in the next couple weeks, this has been a strange weather year and we need to be more prepared.

S0 1000 foot of hose came out, not quite long enough, so he spent an hour watering the starts with a bucket while my sister and I put in hundreds of feet of winter squash and pumpkins! He said when we were done he never thought he'd own that much hose, and he NEVER imagined if he did he'd want more!

The 5 year old alternated who she was helping, but I think her favorite was stepping on the seed holes and dropping seeds in the planter, although anything she can do with her Uncle is always fun...

We started around 6:30 and got done at 9:15. Then watered the starts still being hardened off in the barn, took care of the baby chicks, and was inside the house by 9:45 or so. Feed the kids a very late supper (they had snacked and we had a late lunch (2:30)) and I was in bed around 11:30. Yawn...

Woke up this morning and was out the door at 5:59, to be at my office by 6:30. And the past week of days like this are getting me! I NEED to get to bed before 11, at least once, or else I will fall asleep at my computer! When I woke up it was raining, and I felt horrible that hubby had spent so much time watering by hand! But if we had woken up to sun and it had not rained until 1 or 2 in the 80 degree weather those sweet potatoes would have been cooked!

I am having a great time visiting with my sister and nieces, I took afternoons off all week so I can be home by around 1 to go do something with them... Yawn, again, long week... Maybe when I get home today I'll nap...