Fall Planting Comes Good and The Last Soup Post for a While

garlic-sprout
We planted most of our garlic, onions and leeks way back in October (last year), just a few weeks before the first hard frost. Now, after a long winter of waiting, the fall planting is finally coming good. The garlic and onions are thriving and last week we transplanted leeks that we’d originally put out over six months ago.

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The Nursery Hoop, Cuban Black Beans and Escabeche

black-bean-rice

Our tiny 1/4 acre farm is three blocks off main street. The land is zoned residential. We have neighbors living across a six-foot cedar fence. Out my window right now I see lights on inside the church across the street. This is not a traditional agricultural setting. There isn’t an open vista with great views of the sunrise. There isn’t an old barn or broken down tractor (or these days a cell  tower or gas well head) anywhere on the property. Instead we’re surrounded by homes, kids, traffic, churches, schools and people just trying to live their lives. I love our little farm. I need and want our neighbors to love it too. I want to be nothing but a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

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Early Spring Transplanting and Portuguese Kale Soup

Kale-Bush

Early spring  at the farmer’s market will be a tricky business. The things we will have for sale, when the weekly market starts in about a month, will likely not be the things people will be looking to buy. They certainly won’t be the things I would want to buy. Early May, with the days getting longer and the temperatures getting hotter, it’s easy to forget the season. Who wants yet more brazing greens or root veggies with summer on the horizon and everything in bloom? I know I”ll be craving soft greens, tomatoes, peppers and corn. Unfortunately, we’ll arrive at market offering kale (three kinds), chard, spinach, bunch onion, some head lettuce and a whole lot of not yet edible plants for peoples home gardens. It’s hard work to keep our early spring farmer’s markets from being a letdown to our customers. But there’s not much we can do. We are servile to nature. We are slaves to the season. There’s no getting around that.

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Tomato Soup And The Big Seed Out

Tomato-pot-web

For us, summer started a few weeks ago, in mid-March, during a snow storm that would ultimately drop more than 12-inches. Early on we declared a snow day and spent a morning planting almost 1,000 tomato and pepper plants in our basement grow room. Without question this will be the most important planting session of our growing year. Baring grievous misfortune or outrageous happenstance, tomatoes will be our largest dollar crop by a significant margin (just as they are for almost all mixed veggie farms). Sold as both plants and fruit, they could account for up to a full 5th of our income. In no small way, the financial success of our farm depends on our success with tomatoes. The peppers are important too. While they won’t drive as much income as the tomatoes, they are essential to our presenting a vibrant and interesting market stand. We focus on growing unusual varieties with great flavors and colors. So when the pepper come good, they will help us build a colorful, vibrant and delicious market stand.

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