Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mowing in the Garden

Well, with all the rain we have had (almost 14 inches in the month of June alone), the weeds are growing like crazy. We resorted today to mowing in the garden. We have sections that had early crops that are now done, plus in between rows that are a mass of weeds, so we just mowed them down. We will have to start thinking about sowing seeds in July for a Fall harvest, so we will till these plots under again before we replant. We also have a new flame weeder we will be trying out. We are hopeful that it will help too. We also worked on putting weed barrier down around the tomatoes. There is A LOT more weeding to be done, but it felt good to make a dent in it anyway. Tomorrow we will start weeding melons, zucchini, and probably sweet potatoes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter #5

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #5

What’s Happening on the Farm
The most exciting thing happening is the purchase of 2 new greenhouse frames for the farm. We plan on reconstructing them into 4 moveable high tunnels for our vegetable production. The weeds are still terrible, but I feel like that's all I ever complain (I mean talk) about. We have purchased a flame weeder from Johnny’s Selected Seeds and hope to use that as soon as it arrives, along with mowing then tilling. We need to get ahead of the weeds somehow. It sounds like we will be getting a few dry, sunny days in the week ahead, which is a blessing. All of this rain is not making gardening very easy at the moment. The garden isn’t a total loss yet however, so I need to remember all the positives: green tomatoes and peppers growing (no blight yet!), eggplants blooming and starting to grow mini fruits, cantaloupes and watermelons blooming, baby cucumbers that will be ready soon, zucchini growing and looking healthy, sweet corn waist high, potatoes about ready to dig (if the mud would dry up), and no mold or mildew problems yet.

What’s in the Box?
Romaine Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Green Cabbage
Green Beans
Greyzini Zucchini **(Friday pickups will receive zucchini this week, Saturday deliveries will receive zucchini next week).**
Red Onion

Zucchini Alfredo
This recipe came from allrecipes.com and is very good.
1 12 oz pkg. uncooked egg noodles (I have served this over pasta also)
3 TBSP oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or use a tsp or so of dried)
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook noodles according to pkg. directions, drain.Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes. Mix in zucchini and cook 10 min. until some of the moisture has evaporated. Pour the milk in the skillet and add the cream cheese, stir until melted. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve over cooked pasta.

Creamy Coleslaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
3 carrots, shredded
1 small head of cabbage, shredded

Mix mayo and sugar. Stir in cabbage and carrots just before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Sometimes I add a little more mayo, adjust amounts to your liking). Can also add a splash of vinegar--I like Balsamic.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away and a New Purchase

Well, this rain is just getting ridiculous! We haven't been able to get out in the garden and weed for a week and it's looking crazy out there! We need dry weather. I am hoping to get out there tomorrow to assess things and see what we will have to harvest this week. If it doesn't start to dry up I am worried we will start having mildew and disease problems on the plants. On a more exciting note:

We were able to make a new to us purchase for the farm off of Craigslist. We bought 2 high tunnel greenhouse frames, 1 is 18X84 and the other is 18X96. They need new end walls and plastic covering, but the frames are in good shape. We plan on making 4 moveable greenhouses out of them that travel on skids...allowing us to rotate plantings and extend our harvest. We are excited for this purchase! It will help us to get an earlier start and harvest later into winter. It will also be a more controled enviroment (more protected from pests and the weather). The below pic is off of Craigslist...the next big task is getting them to the farm!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What's On My Food?


I received the above link in an email and thought it would be VERY beneficial for all to check out. All you have to do is click on a vegetable/fruit item and it lists possible pesticide/herbicide residue on the conventionally grown item (and compares VS. Organic). It also tells if the chemical is a carcinogen, hormone disruptor, etc. VERY eye opening...I hope you all choose to by organic/chemical free when possible.

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter Week 4

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #4

What’s Happening on the Farm
One word...MUD! Well, maybe two...MUD and WEEDS. All of this rain is making it hard to get in the garden and weed. We’ve been able to get in there a couple times, but there is A LOT more work to be done. Between the weather and us learning how much we need to plant for our customers (our membership increased quite a bit this year) the bags are a little less full than we would like. Please bare with us! As we get further into the season your bags will get fuller! The green beans and zucchini are really close to being ready... I hope by next week we’ll have some. Some of you will have either Sugar Snaps or Kale but not both. This hot weather has been hard on the cool weather crops and these things are either sparse or done. We’ll be planting more for a Fall harvest, however.

What’s in the Box?
Lettuce- either Buttercrunch OR Tom Thumb variety
Radish- either French Breakfast OR Cherry Belle
Kohlrabi- Kolibri
Onion-Sweet Spanish
Sugar Snap Peas OR Kale-either red or green

Recipe Ideas
*Kohlrabi can be cooked, but many people like to eat it raw with a dip. It has a cabbage/turnip type flavor.

*Kale is a cooking green and is excellent in soups or casseroles.

*Sugar Snap Peas are great raw in a salad. I hope we have more of these in the Fall!

I found the following recipes on allrecipes.com:

Vegetarian Kale Soup
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 yellow onion, chopped
· 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
· 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
· 8 cups water
· 6 cubes vegetable bouillon
· 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
· 6 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
· 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans (drained if desired)
· 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
· 2 tablespoons dried parsley
· salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot; cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, vegetable bouillon, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Simmer soup on medium heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise
1 pound radishes
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook sugar snap peas in a pan of boiling salted water, about 30 seconds, or just until they turn bright green. Drain and plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Drain. Cut cucumber and radishes cross-wise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Toss peas, cucumber, radishes and sesame seeds with vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Little Rainy...

It has been raining buckets off and on again since yesterday. This mornings Pella drop off was VERY wet to say the least! When we got home we checked out the rain gage and there was 5 inches in it! That is all from this week, and it is supposed to rain more the next couple of days. We are under flash flood warnings and I can see why...on our way back to the farm we saw a lot of standing water,rushing water, and washouts on the gravel road. I just wish we had our rain barrels in place already...we could have caught some rain water today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weather Problems...

I also wanted to let our customers now that this warmer than usual weather we have been having is cutting some of our cool weather crops short. We had hoped to have more spinach and other cool weather greens, however many things are starting to bolt and get bitter a little sooner than normal. We will try to do the best we can with what we have for now, and hope that we can get more spinach, mescluns and lettuces planted for a Fall harvest. Gardening is full of unknowns based on weather, this is just one of them!

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter Season 2 Week 3

Picket Fence Farm Happenings
Season 2 Issue #3

What’s Happening on the Farm
The plants are growing, along with the weeds...it has been hard to get out there and weed with all the rain we have been getting lately. It sounds like there is more rain forecasted too. We have harvested a few raspberries and strawberries...this is the first year for them, so hopefully by next year we will have fruit in our CSA boxes. It usually takes a couple years for fruit to start producing. Things are starting to bloom and that is always exciting. We have blooms on green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant! I don’t know about you, but I am longing for that first ripe garden tomato. We are also reading books on extending the harvest, hoping to implement ideas on extending our growing season on into Fall, and getting an earlier start for next Spring. We are also learning about ways to reduce weeds, better amend the soil, and the use of floating row insect barrier to reduce bug damage on crops. Fresh, local, chemical-free food is important to us, and we hope it is to our customers as well. We have lots of ideas for 2011...We’ll keep you posted!

What’s in the Box?
Sugar Snap Peas
Swiss Chard--Green
Swiss Chard--Ruby (with some Bright Lights mixed in)
Garlic Chives (best stored in a glass of water in the fridge)

Recipe Ideas
*Cook Swiss Chard as you would spinach. It can be added to soups, casseroles, etc. It is also good sauteed in oil with garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar . If the stalks are large, cut them up and sautee a few minutes before adding the leaves to wilt...they take a little longer to cook.
Swiss Chard is similar to spinach and beets with a flavor that is bitter, pungent and slightly salty. It is high in Vitamins K, A, C, Magnesium, Potassium, and Iron, along with many others. Check out www.whfoods.com for the nutritional analysis of many fruits and veggies.

*Garlic Chives can be added to soups, sauces, cream cheese, butter, sour cream, dips, or sprinkle on potatoes and omelets.

*I like to check out allrecipes.com for ideas for fresh veggies.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Picket Fence Farm Newsletter Season 2 Week 2

What’s Happening on the Farm

The garden is growing well...this rain we have gotten lately is really helping things along. This week has included weeding (of course) and some planting. We were finally able to get our cantaloupe and watermelon transplants in the garden. We also planted our hills of pumpkins (4 varieties) and winter squash (3 varieties). We also checked on our bees this week and so far they are doing well. They are starting to make honey, so that is great! We are hoping they do well and we have some honey for sale this fall.

What’s in the Box?

Lettuce--Green Ice
Lettuce Blend
Spinach Mix
Radishes--Cherry Belle

Please Take Note

Our produce is field washed. I would suggest washing once more before eating. We do not use any chemical sprays, so you may find a few holes in the greens.

Recipe Ideas

Garlic Broccoli
· 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
· 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
· 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
· 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
· 1 tablespoon soy sauce
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· 3/4 teaspoon sugar
· 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Place 1 in. of water in a saucepan; add broccoli. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil, vegetable oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat for 2 minutes or until hot. Stir in the soy sauce, garlic, sugar and lemon juice. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Drain broccoli and transfer to a serving bowl. Pour garlic sauce over; toss to coat. Serve warm or chilled with a slotted spoon.

FYI: Regarding the CSA Boxes

We only have one box per customer this year, so please return to us each week. We will also be alternating with sacks as well. This will be a sort of experiment to see if we (and you as well) prefer the boxes or the sacks. If you could save and return the sacks, that would be great...as well as the rubber bands. We will not reuse the storage baggies however.