Archive for December, 2008

Making progress

Have you had any time to check out seeds yet? Remember, if you don’t receive catalogs, most seed companies are online as well. I just think it’s more fun to have the catalog, but come to think of it, I bought our last order while viewing online, and then I got the catalog! Either way, it’s fun to see the pictures of plants and what they will become. Don’t be like me; remember to order flower seeds too. Flowers and veggies are natural companions. The bees, humming birds and other beneficials come in to feed and helps pollinate your garden and eat bad bugs too. We can never have enough bees and other pollinators in our gardens. So invite them in.

GARDEN: We’ve had great help recently and made enough soil to fill the second bed. That’s 90 cubic feet of soil (this bed is 30′ x 4′) WhooHooo!!! Three of us worked on that task for almost 4 hours and got it mostly done (the bed has room for another 4 cubic feet). Boy, am I sore. But it was worth it…another bed done. Bed #3 is on it’s way, built, and needs to be filled. Bed #4 is started too. Who knows, at this rate we may have the upper garden in all raised beds by Spring!

We also cleaned up the dead and dying beans and cucumbers that grew on the trellis and squash and some tomato plants in the lower garden. Lot’s of green material for Eric’s compost pile. More to go and we’ll get that next week. The chard in the #1 bed is covered to protect it from frost and birds. The little amount of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts that the birds and gophers didn’t get, are also covered.

Square Foot Gardening (SFG): Contact us to purchase All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. You’ll continue to support local agriculture by purchasing the book from us, plus you’ll get a great book full of info for the beginning and experienced gardener. This book can teach anyone to grow veggies and flowers in a small space. Plus, you can always ask us any questions you may have. All for only $20 (price includes tax).

And speaking of Square Foot Gardening, we have recently been in contact with Mel regarding Mel’s Mix. He is working with a manufacturer to provide 2 cubic foot bags of the mix. So for a 4′ x 4′, 6″ deep bed, you will need 4 of these bags (total of 8 cubic feet). We hope to have these for sale to those of you who want/need it. Not sure when, but we’ll keep you posted. (Note: Let me tell you from experience, especially after recently making 90 cubic feet of this stuff, it will be WAY easier to just buy it and pour it into your bed. And we figure, the price is comparable to having to purchase all the materials separately.)

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Can’t Wrap This…

Yes, I’m easily amused. Check out this UTube video:

Can’t Wrap This

Season’s Greetings to all!!

Seeds

The weather is finally feeling like Winter. Time to light a fire, have a warm drink and snuggle up with some seed catalogs!

OK, you’ve got your compost going and now you need to purchase seeds. The catalogs are coming out now and you can purchase seeds from a variety of places. Just make sure, wherever you buy, that the company honors the safe seed pledge. It reads:

“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative,We pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”

We typically purchase organic seed, but sometimes the variety we want isn’t offered as an organic. That’s OK, we purchase it anyway. Hey, not everything is available as an organic, and there are some varieties we want to try, so we have decided not to get too hung up on that. We figure, as long as the seeds are not GMO, it’s all good. We like heirlooms the best, but also buy a few hybrids.

So have fun checking out what the seed companies have to offer and order now for next season. (We just received our order for next season….I went kinda crazy, but it’s a great variety with many new veggies and herbs to try.)

IN THE GARDEN: Eric finished building the bed!!! WHOO HOOO!! Now we have to line the bottom to keep gophers and moles out, make the soil and put it in the bed and we are ready to plant. We’ll work on that this weekend. Eric is also working on building the compost pile and that’s just about ready. It’s about 12 feet long and almost 4 feet tall. I think the plan is to make another, once this one is complete. It will do it’s thing for a few months and should be ready when we are in the Spring. Since completing the second bed, Eric is rearing to go on the next one. I’ll take pictures soon and put them up on the blog.

We are also going to take a trip to the nursery and purchase some composted manures to supplement the first bed. Then we can plant. We’ve decided to leave the Bright Lights Chard in the first row and use it throughout the winter. Soon we’ll cover it with row covers. Actually, we’ll be covering all the planted beds with row cover to keep the birds out and make a mini green house to keep the ground and plants warmer.

We have potatoes growing in the lower beds. Funny, you just can never harvest all of the potatoes. So we have quite a few that seeded themselves. I was curious and dug up a larger plant, just to see what was happening underground. I dug up 3 great big yukon golds. Yummm!! Today I noticed a marble sized purple potato on the ground – I think Sadie dug it up and left it. Lot’s of gopher activity down there too…boy will I be glad when we have all raised beds.

The seed has no idea of being some particular plant, but it has
its own form and is in perfect harmony with the ground, with
its surroundings … and there is no trouble.
This is what we mean by naturalness.
– Shrunyu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Rain, rain, go away.

Well, not really. We need the rain. Our pond has been dry for some time. The cranes have come in and eaten all the fish and the poor ducks hardly have any water to swim in. We felt so bad for them, we brought them water in a large container. With this rain, I know they are happy again.

The gopher(s) have eaten many of the broccoli and cauliflower that we planted for ourselves this fall. We can’t wait to start growing in raised beds. We have also started to tear down old beds to build new.

Fall is a great time to start making your raised beds for spring planting. You can use wood, bricks, rocks, whatever you have to contain your soil. And start making compost too. Save your kitchen scraps, grass clippings and yard waste. Find free horse or cow manure. Mix it up, let it cook and you’ll have compost. Yes, there is more to it than that, but not much. It’s pretty simple and basic. Our goal this year, is to make our own compost. Purchasing it is not cheap and the transportation costs are as much as the compost. So making it will save money, reuse and recycle our own resources and reduce our carbon footprint by not shipping it to the farm. Go to Kitchen Gardeners.org and watch a video on making compost or check out Composting 101. The important thing is to start. We’ve even heard, in some counties, the garbage company will provide a composting bin free to their customers. Check it out and take advantage of the offer, if available.

Now is also the time to check out seed catalogs and purchase your seeds for spring. There are many seed companies out there but the most important factor, to us anyway, is to purchase from a company that honors the safe seed pledge. This pledge means the seed company will not knowingly sell seeds that have been genetically modified (GMO). Go to Gene Watch to learn about some seed companies and their websites. (Note: This list is about 2 years old, but you can check out the individual websites and double check…at least it’s a start.) Go to Say No to GMOs! to learn more about genetically modified organisms.

Catching up

Again, I apologize for not keeping up with this blog. I’ve been so busy with life lately (going to school, looking for a job, rebuilding the gardens, attending meetings, dealing with a computer crash, etc., etc.), and unfortunately, this blog has been last on my to-do list.

I write an email newsletter about once a week or so, to everyone on our email list, so I think I’ll post some of those here, because: 1) I’ve already written them, and 2) there’s lots of info. There is some sort of order in it all, first we discuss compost briefly and then on to purchasing seeds.

Not much is happening on the farm right now, we are sort of hibernating, and at the same time rebuilding the beds. We decided to take the plunge and build all raised beds and fill them with Mel’s Mix. We’re slow, but it’s getting done. Pics to be posted later.

So that’s it for now (I have to study for my last final of the semester).