Friday, May 28, 2010

Work day is on!

Our farm workday scheduled for Saturday 1-6 is on.

If you are in the area join us and help us plant zuchhini, cucumber, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and more! We will get some stuff done, get to know each other and have fun.

Feel free to come for the whole time or just an hour, carefully supervised children are welcomed.

We will be in the fields, look for the Armington Pond parking lot across from the Humane Society sign at 4965 Quick Rd. Peninsula OH.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Local food... or at least regional...

Yesterday we were at the grocery store. It is our habit to try to buy from as close to our home as we can. This is why we used to buy Michigan beet sugar instead of cane sugar (we no longer do this because most sugar beets are now GMO.)

So, like many of you, we carefully ready the labels. And, like some of you, we occasionally make mistakes. That bag of garlic which says "California" on the front says "Product of China" in tiny letters somewhere on the back. They just put it in the bag in California! US garlic can become a difficult thing to find mid winter when all of ours is gone!

Anyway, yesterday we saw these mushrooms. On one side they say Pennsylvania (logical since mushrooms are very perishable) on the other side they say "Product of Korea"! KOREA! For something like a mushroom, as perishable as a mushroom!

Look for mushrooms at your farmers market. And, as always, read labels carefully!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Light reading anyone - S 510

Would anyone like a little light reading?

Here is a nice piece from the Farm to Consumer Legal Defence Fund.

The article is review of the "more damaging provisions of the two bills under the following subheadings:"

  • A. National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy
    B. Authority over Movement of Food
    C. Criminal and Civil Penalties
    D. HACCP Plans
    E. Food Traceability
    F. Safety Standards for Produce

Enjoy your light reading!

The article ends by asking people to call their Senators and asking them to vote against the Bill. In reality, the bill is extremely likely to pass. I have been suggesting that people call and support the Tester Amendment, which will exempt small farms (under $500,000 is gross receipts) from some of the more difficult and expensive provisions of the bill including HACCP Plans and Traceability requirements.

Let me know if you call and their staff seems to care at all. I would be interested.

Monday, May 17, 2010

June 3rd Gardening Class.

I am getting excited about our June 3rd Feeding your Garden Class.

We are going to talk about different ways to get your plants all the nutrients they need, starting with feeding your soil and moving onto your plants. We will talk about different recipes for a garden.

We will talk about the big 3- NPK, and why they are important, but not the end of the story. We will talk about micro nutrients and more.

I am most excited about showing people how to make their own compost tea, a wonderful, inexpensive, and easy to make way to enhance the biological activity of your soil! A healthy plant starts with biological activity in your soil!

This past winter we went to a farming conference. The presenter made a joke about organic farmers (to which everyone in the room laughed,) and right after that he went on to say that he had done research on Compost Tea and was a strong believer in it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A couple photos and Mid May update.

The season is progressing well. The garlic is growing fast. Hopefully it will wait until our CSA starts in about a month to start the scapes. We can scape people out this year!

The new bees are doing well, and eating lots of sugar water. Hubby took this photo, with not a bee to be seen, but it was only 45 degrees and there were a few Guard Bees popping in and out. The next day they were flying, and the established hives are really strong!

Looks like, thanks to the PD's article, we will fill up our CSA in the next couple days. That will be a good feeling to not have to worry about that anymore.

Radishes, beets, turnips, greens, and carrots are all up. The cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, and kale transplants are doing well under row cover. The onions are all growing and we should have "spring" onions in time for first week with scallions not far behind! The potatoes are starting to pop through the ground and already need to be cultivated in advance of their first hilling in a few weeks. The hoophouse is starting to burst with all the transplants!

It is not the middle of May yet and we already have more in the ground then we had all season two years ago! We still have about $5,000 in equipment, a produce cooler, and a large high tunnel to buy this season, so please remember to get your final CSA payment when you get a chance. I will be sending a reminder email when I get a chance!

I am very excited this is going to be a great season!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Early May hoophouse...
The basement still has stuff in it, so we are going to run out of room fast! Good thing we are planning to plant some more this week!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fingers crossed

Hopefully this works...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reason to believe S.510 is scary.

I keep meaning to post this, and I keep putting it off, because I KNOW that you probably care more about what is going on at the farm (weeding, the last rain kick started the Canadian Thistle) and not more blabbing on the Food Safety Bill.

But I found this article last week about a farmer being raided for suspected interstate sale of raw milk.
"Stockton warned the requirement now is for federal agents to claim they have "credible evidence" regarding a case, but a proposed federal change would strike those words in the law and replace them with "reason to believe."
"The phrase 'reason to believe' would be inserted 14 times into the code with S. 510," she said. "If this bill goes through, the FDA will have control of farms. They will not need 'credible evidence' to act. They will essentially be given a free hand to act as they want. And look at how they already act, even with the existing constraints in place." "

How much less is "reason to believe" then "credible evidence," a world it seems to me... a constitutional world...

Another video.

Here is a video of us making our hills. They were already prehilled and are about 125 feet long.

We pull driptape (irrigation) at the same time we make the bed (that is the big black thing on the tractor) and we mark rows at the same time to. By marking rows it makes it easier to seed or transplant straight without pulling string (which is hard to do straight when your land is not flat.)

In case you wonder, I am standing on the hiller as we do the rows. That way I can cut the irrigation tape at the end of the row and start it at the beginning. Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Plants, plants, everywhere and not a thing to eat!

This time of year is a time of great hope and greater impatience. Since our CSA does not start until mid June we do not push our early season to hard (this will change in coming years with hoophouses and other improvements.) But with a lot of items in the ground, and thousands waiting in the hoophouse we are just waiting for the first truly edible items (probably radishes, greens, and garlic scapes) in about a month.

So far this season our major completed tasks have included:
  • Planting about 2,400 row feet of potatoes
  • Planting about 1/4 acre of onions (sets and transplants)
  • First spring seeding (about 5,500 row feet of every thing from carrots and beets, to peas and hearty greens.
  • Transplanted 200+ broccoli plants, 200+ kale plants, 1000+ cabbage plants, a few hundred feet of lettuce, and 100 feet of scallions.
  • First weeding of the year, including getting the garlic cultivated and fertilized.
  • Started a couple hundred trays of everthing from peppers and eggplant to lettuce and kohlrabi.
  • Of course we also got our hoophouse up and heat in it.
  • Made tables for the hoophouse.
  • Lots of field work, including plowing and tilling new land, and of course prepping the acre plus which is already in.
  • One gardening class.
  • Participated in EarthFest.
  • Fixed the tractor.
  • Built a row marker.
  • Built a prehiller.
  • Answered a couple thousand emails.
  • And a million other small tasks of the type which comes up every day.
The photos are both from the same day. We still have some starts in our basement and are daily moving them to the hoophouse. Problem is we are still starting seeds, so the basement is not getting less crowded, while the hoophouse is getting more crowded! Thankfully, we have started to transplant so we should be OK for a while.