Sunday, May 31, 2009

Row covers in and First Distribution out - woo hoo!

Everyone has received their first full share - we hope you are enjoying everything. There were a few things included in Saturday's share that weren't in Wednesday's share - broccoli raab and chinese cabbage, to be specific. As crops mature, they will be handed out so, as much as I'm trying to make everything even, it might vary from day to day. In the end, I'm sure it will all balance out.

Mary and Bob Wessner came over today and Steve and Mary Kolasa came over earlier in the week. We got a lot done! We have about 25 hills of summer squash, some muskmelon and watermelon, cukes, more onions, sunflowers and zinnias, beans, more tomatoes, more basil, more carrots and brussels sprouts. Thanks for your help! We still need to plant all of the winter squash, potatoes, more sunflowers and fl0wer seedlings and I'm sure other things. In addition, the weeds are taking off along with the veggies so pretty soon we might have to have a weeding day. This might be something you would like to do one evening as I can point you in the right direction and leave you to your thoughts with the weeds.

We also installed some row covers over the cukes, squash, melons and eggplant. This should help with the flea beetle and the cucumber beetle. These beetles decimate the eggplant and the cuke beetle can kill the plants by spreading a bacteria from plant to plant (fusarium wilt). So, hopefully this will help. Hopefully we won't have a problem with the squash vine borer - keep your fingers crossed on that one.

Have a great week! Let me know if you have any good recipes that you'd like to share. I'll be working on a recipe blog in the near future.

Here is a recipe recommended by Julie Campbell - her 6 year old gave it two thumbs up so I'm sure it's tasty. I don't know if the link will work but give it a try.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Start of Distributions!

Distributions start this week! The options are Wednesday evening between 4:30 - 7 and Saturday morning between 9 & 12. If that doesn't work out, please let us know. Unless you tell us otherwise, we'll assume you'll pick up your share on the same day each week. Please let us know at least 3 days in advance if you need to change your pick-up time. If you haven't responded yet, please do so below. That way others can see when things are scheduled. So far I know 3 people will pick up Wed. and 3 will pick up Saturday. We're trying to keep the #'s roughly even for each day.

I'll put together a list of the items that should be in the share for the week. They will include lettuce, kale, collards, mustard greens, spinach, maybe some broccoli raab, thyme, oregano, chives, some lilly of the valley, maybe an iris, maybe some rhubarb and maybe some nettles. I'll probably put the nettles, rhubarb and flowers in an optional bin. If there is something in the package that you do not want, please place the item on the "overflow table". If there's something there that you'd like, please help yourself. We'll figure out what to do with leftovers - maybe they'll be held over until the next pick-up (day-old veggie pile) or maybe they'll go to the chickens or, if we have a lot, I'll figure out how to donate excess produce to Food Gatherer's or another organization.

We got a lot done on Wednesday and Saturday - thanks to all who came out! This last week, we planted about 100 tomato plants, 200 pepper plants, a nice row of Okra, some flowers and herbs. We still have about 200 tomato seedlings that we started from seed along with quite a few flowers also started indoors. Would anyone like a tomato plant? Those will go in over the next 2 weeks along with beans, cukes, summer squash, sunflowers, etc. etc. etc.

Re. Future work days:
We're going to change the time to 9-12 (unless you want to come earlier, just let us know). It's too hot now to work in the afternoons.

See you this week! I probably won't be here Wed. evening so if I miss you, I'll see you next week.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Help wanted!

See 3rd paragraph re. first distribution!

It's hard to believe that we're nearing the end of May. There's a chance of frost tonight but, hopefully, after this, it will be clear sailing until mid-September. This means that we're going to go full on for planting - tomatoes, peppers, tons of seeds, potatoes, etc., etc., etc. If you haven't been out yet to work, please try to be here between 1 & 4 either May 23, May 30 or June 6 (even if you have been out, your help will be welcome :) ). If you're not into planting, you could come sometime during the week to help me lay things out - place stakes, run string, prep the rows, write out labels, get the water to the west garden, etc. Just let me know. I know there were a few people who prefer to work during the week, in the evening. That's certainly an option - just give us a call or send an e-mail and we'll work it in. There's lots to do!
Thanks to Royla and Gerry who came over this week and worked to help me start the chicken tractor. It was a lot of work! It's on wheels and has made it from the small barn to the driveway by the house (without falling apart). Hopefully I'll finish it this week and 1/2 of the hens and their one significant other will move into the apple orchard.

Plant update: Things are starting to look official around here. We've thinned out the plantings in the hothouse and moved them into rows outside. We just started eating spinach and a little lettuce along with the kale that was planted last fall. The spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens and lettuce will be ready to harvest in the next 2 weeks. Maybe some radishes as well, along with thyme, oregano, lemon balm, cilantro, and, if the weather stays cool, nettles. So, we'll start distributions May 27 & 30. I think we'll have enough for a starter. I'll send out an e-mail next week and ask you to let me know if and when you'll be picking up your share (Wed. eve. between 4:30 and 7 or Saturday mornings between 9 & 12). For those who are sharing a share, I'll label your box with both names and let you figure out who's picking up the box for the week.

We're looking forward to the start of the distributions! We've been working diligently to try to help things grow around here.

FYI - we're seeing toads in the hothouse daily and the bees are more prevalent in the yard and are busily working their new hive. No sign of dragon flies, garter snakes or praying mantis yet but we're waiting for them to come out as well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

1st week of May

Plants are growing and bees are buzzing. Judy & Randy Durfy received their bee shipment on Saturday around 6 p.m. They drove to the drop off in Milford, picked up 2 hives, brought one here and placed them in the hive, and then drove to Trenton to place their 2nd hive. The workers are busy getting to know their new home and are exploring the area. They are in the woods, about 30 yards south of the driveway by the back small barn - you can't miss the yellow hive.

All of the chinese cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower has now been transplanted from the cold frames to the front garden. The back garden has all sprouted (planted almost 2 weeks ago now). The flea beetles have found many of the brassicas. They do some serious damage very quickly so watch out for 1 mm black beetles (small holes in the leaves). I think we've saved the plants though. Nathan sprayed many of the veggies with deer repellent today (putrified egg spray - it stinks!). He was concerned about the rabbit that lives in the Forsythia bush. We planted some ginger today - let's see what happens - and transplanted some of the kale and collards out of the hot house. Other than that, the garlic is about 4 - 6" tall now, the onions are between 6" and 1 foot, the plants in the hot house are growing nicely and things are coming along. I think deliveries will begin May 27 or in 3 weeks. We may have a small amount May 20.

Something to think about: we've been eating stinging nettles and dandelions lately. The nettles make an excellent tea. We've learned they are one of the most nutritous veggies around - increased blood flow, packed with vitamins, good for rhumatoid arthritis, etc. etc. etc.. They are really tasty sauteed with a little garlic and a little salt - they have a buttery flavor and taste a little like lobster. Nettle pesto is also really good. Also, fried dandelion flowers are really a nice surprise. The children loved them! They were a bit heavy (deep fried) but if you don't eat them all the time, what a treat! If you'd like a recipe for either, please let me know.

We've also learned that dandelions are a very important food source for honey bees. The honey bees don't go for the fruit tree blossoms - mason bees and bumble bees do that. The honey bees go for other nectar sources, dandelions being high on the list. So, if your neighbor gives you a hard time about not spraying your weeds, tell him/her that your doing your part for the honey bee.

On Monday and Wednesday next week I will need help constructing the tool shed - 1 - 4ish. No experience is necessary. Please let me know if you are available. Or, if you'd like to come in the evening or on the weekend, give me a call.

Thanks & have a great week!