Glimmers of Hope after the Storms

Sam discovered the Tiger Lillies in the yard: orange, yellow and pink. He found them fascinating and “pretty.” These were used in our fresh cut flowers this week.

This week was a discovery week in the garden. Discover what isn’t growing because of last weeks hail and extreme rains, as well as, what is growing. Our spinach did not survive last week’s weather, and our lettuce really took a beating.

Onion hail damage – note the brown spots, and how it is broken over.

Tomato plants recovering from hail. Note the white spots on the stems where hail hit the plant.

Rhubarb stems were pelleted with the marble size hail. Making many stems unusable.

The lone pepper that we had growing in the garden during the storms was bruised by the hail and became inedible.

The corn leaves were stripped by the hail. It is remarkable how strong corn plants are to recover.

We have replanted spinach as well as carrots, beets, three different varitites of lettuce. These were planted in a new garden partially made out of pallets as well as another section made from beams. I am hoping with the pallets that there will be less weeding:) Steve and the boys spent Saturday morning assembling it, and I planted that night. We were pleasantly surprised to see some growth in these gardens already on Tuesday! I also planted some more annual flowers and zuchinni.

Steve making pallet gardens on the left and a garden made from beams on the right. I am hoping that the pallet garden will have fewer weeds.

Another look at the pallet gardens from Keith’s angle.

Saturday was spent weeding while exhausting, it was also a treasurer hunt finding glimmers of hope of how strong the plants were. We are thankful that we bought much of our seed from Jordan Seeds in Woodbury. They are a wholesale seed dealer for farmers who raise crops for farmers markets and CSA. Their years of experience assisted us in buying good seed. Thank you to our friends who recommended that route!

How muddy were parts of the garden? So muddy that Sam got stuck in it, and I had to lift him out. So in this spirit, I took off my shoes and proceeded to weed the garden with no shoes for the rest of the morning. It was actually quite refreshing and in the end I had so much mud on the bottom of my feet that it did not hurt to walk across our gravel driveway. The boys found this quite amusing!

After about 9 hours of weeding, the garden was looking alot more promising.

BOXES OF PRODUCE

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Look for new links on recipes etc. Also remember food safety when preparing, always wash your before eating. http://bit.ly/MBhskn

Rhubarb – The rhubarb season will be coming to an end in the next few weeks. When exactly will be determined by the weather. It has definitely appreciated the rain, but not so much the hail. Simply cut off the damaged areas and enjoy. I tried to select stems that had limited amount of damage. Definite advantage to the plants large leaves. Rhubarb freezing great! I freeze in amounts recipes call for and use it throughout the year.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Wash, cut off longer stems. These plants are struggling to recover from the storms. Our second and third plantings of salad crops took a beating. We have replanted. With this heat and humidity, we hope to have spinach and several varities of lettuce very shortly.

Beets – Althought the leaves were damaged by the hail, they appear to be recovering. We are thinning out the rows so the bulbs have more room to grow, so enjoy these small beautiful red bulbs.

Carrots – Enjoy some fresh garden carrots!

Peas – The pods are edible. When I took a peak at the garden this morning, I was excited to see these were ready to harvest and indulged in a few for breakfast!

Herbs – Chives, red basil, mint, parsley and golden oregano. Remember you can dry them or you can freeze in an ice cube to use later.

Fresh cut arrangement – Tiger Lillies this week. Enjoy!

Turnips – Many have commented how this is a new vegetable that we are not quite sure how to use. Below is the recipe my mom tried this week and shared with us. Remember, the turnip greens are also edible and could be used in a salad.

Lemon Parsleyed Turnips

Cook 2 cups turnip sticks in boiling salted water. Boil until tender. About 20 minutes. Drain.

Add:

1 Tablespoon butter

2 teaspoon snipped parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Toss. Serves 4.  Note: Norma cut the recipe in half for just her and dad.

Salad using Turnips

Salad greens, turnips, almonds , walnuts, and a few blue berries with her favorite dressing on the side.

Turnip Sandwich

Mom also loves radish sandwiches so she is going to try a turnip sandwich. Slice either vegetable thin. Place on buttered bread.

Sources: Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (1960’s edition) and my mom, Norma Campbell

Rain, rain go away come again another day

6-16-12 Keith and Sam monitoring the garden after the 7 1/2 inch rain.

It is ironic that last week’s post was about irrigation, and this week’s post is about excess water. How much water?? Well last Thursday, we ended up with about 7 1/2 inches of rain. Most of this came down in about 1 1/2 hours. I don’t know that I have ever seen such power and velocity behind that much rain after it hit the ground. The end results were astonishing to see, and there is no question that God is in charge of our direction. Most certainly, we were in need of rain, but there is no question that we could wait awhile before we needed moisture and share the rain with so many across our great Nation who really need some rain.

In less than a weeks time, we accumulated about 11 1/2 inches most of the storms ranged in the amounts of 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches. In addition, we had BB size and marble size hail. How did the garden crops hold up? Well, the topic of tiling that area for better water management has been discussed. A need for better excessive water management became extremely evident after these torrential storms.

Excessive Rain

What happened to the plants as a result of all that rain? We had soil erosion, gullies washed throughout the garden, and water isn’t draining from the south end very well at all. In fact it is sitting there. This caused one of our newly emerged and once harvested variety of spinach to die. I believe the roots rotted, and the tops fried in the sun. When Steve went to harvest some carrots on Wednesday, he found they had become mush. As I looked at it today, I am concerned about plant regeneration in a number of varieties.

To say this is disappointing is an understatement. But having grown up on a farm, I remember countless times standing by my parents watching it hail and knowing that the hail had wiped out the entire crop and that it was too late in the season to replant. With this in mind, I look at the garden and know there are still options, and we will roll up our sleeves and see what we can do to still provide some delicious end results.

The next few days will determine a lot in the future course of direction. In the meantime, grass doesn’t grow under our feet, replanting is occurring tomorrow, and I am excited to report on this new method next week.

Interesting to see how the spinach obviously had to much rain in fact the leaf looked bruised.

Hail

The BB size hail didn’t last as long nor did it seem to affect very much. But the marble size hail that fell seemed to last far longer than anyone would like and did add additional stress onto already stressed plants. Besides the expected holes in the leaves, it shredded corn leaves, nicked up the rhubarb pretty good, broke off the tomato stems and bruised and broke over the onions.

These plants have really appreciated the last two beautiful days and have been appreciating the recovery time. We are thankful that we did not receive the golf ball size hail that Dundas did that same evening. Page 3 and 4 of this report from Purdue University provides a good insight into the disease monitoring and side effects that we will be looking for as the growing season progresses. http://www.btny.purdue.edu/pubs/vegcrop/VCH2011/VCH537.pdf

Hail pile on Tuesday morning an 1 1/2 after it had fallen.

Green beans after marble size hail.

Lettuce after Tuesday morning’s hail.

Tomato plant stems were broken over after the hail.

Marble size hail – 1 1/2 hours after it fell.

Water Management

So you may be wondering why would you consider field tile for this area. What is tile? It isn’t what we put in for flooring in our kitchen but rather a tube laid under the ground to carry the excess water away from the plants versus the water running over the top of the ground causing soil erosion.

Picture this, soil acts like a sponge. When a sponge is full of water, water will drain out of the bottom of the sponge. This is what happens under ground. If the ground is given an option of how to drain the excess water, much like a sponge it will drain from the bottom.

Field tile is used for water management in farming to remove excess water from soil subsurface. Whereas irrigation is the practice of adding additional water when the soil is naturally too dry, drainage brings soil moisture levels down for optimal crop growth and crop health. Too much subsurface water can prevent root development and inhibit crop growth. Too much water can limit access to the land preventing the ability to plant, cultivate for weed control and harvest. In fact, Steve was sinking down in the mud past his ankles while harvesting the salad crops this week. I regret that I missed this Kodak moment!

On the bright side, Steve installed gutters on Sunday and the 2 1/2 inch rain that night filled the tank completely full. The boys were amazed by this science (weather) and math demonstration (how can 2 1/2 inches turn into this!).

Life is all perspective. Samuel and Keith are pictured with our dog. The boys select something of Steve’s to wear and the photos I take are Steve’s gift for Father’s Day. This year they selected Minnesota Twins shirts and football hats. Thought you would enjoy this…especially their shoes!

BOXES OF PRODUCE

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Look for new links on recipes etc. Also remember food safety when preparing, always wash your before eating. http://bit.ly/MBhskn

Rhubarb – The rhubarb definitely appreciated the rain, but not so much the hail. Simply cut off the damaged areas and enjoy. I tried to select stems that had limited amount of damage. Definite advantage to the plants large leaves.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Wash, cut off longer stems. We are not sure how these plants will recover. Even my second and third plantings of salad crops took a beating.

Beet – Althought the leaves were damaged by the hail, it was a pleasant surprise to see these beautiful red bulbs.

Turnips – NEW this week, great cut up and eaten raw in a salad. The turnip greens are also edible and could be used in a salad. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/11/turnip-gratin/

Herbs – Purple basil, parsley, mint and orange thyme (NEW)

Fresh cut arrangement – Includes Hosta leaves and Tiger Lillies. I had to dig deep in the big Hosta plants to find some with no hail damage:)

Food and Farm Fact Book – From time to time, I would like to include something fun and/or informative for you. This is a great resource of information put together by the American Farm Bureau Federation gathering data from many of our U.S. governmental agencies. I hope you find a few great trivia facts to stump your family and friends. http://www.fb.org/index.php?action=ordermaterials

Why Water? June 13

Our primary concern this week was water…water for the plants to ensure they continue to grow. We haven’t had a good rain for a few weeks. These hot, windy days take the moisture and humidity away and stress the plants. This link about carrots, and what they need provides a good overview of what aspects including watering that we evaluate in order to have a good crop.  http://bit.ly/M2qLZM   In general, about an inch of moisture each week is what we are aiming for.

We received 1/10 of an inch on Sunday night. Keith’s perspective, “That’s good. We really needed some rain.” We are hoping that the projected rain for later this week brings rain. We always pray that when the storms blow over that God protects the crop and that hail, strong winds and tornadoes are not present in that storm.

Do you think these are working right?

On Saturday, Steve hooked up our irrigation system for the garden which is primarily a drip system. A drip irrigation system will not cause the soil to splash up on the plants. This will help prevent fungus and bacterial plant diseases which are naturally present in the soil. These issues can damage the crop. The following sites explain some of these diseases.  http://bit.ly/K0wYpv  http://bit.ly/NwV2WU

Our irrigation system will eventually run solely off of a water tank that will collect rain run-off of our shop through a gutter system.

In addition to installing the irrigation, we accomplished a lot of weeding this past weekend. We also planted cabbage, kohlarabi, Simpson Elite lettuce and Red Oak lettuce.

6-13-12 installation of irrigation

Box of Spring Produce

YOUR BOXES OF PRODUCE

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Look for new links on recipes etc. Also remember food safety when preparing, always wash your before eating. http://bit.ly/MBhskn

Rhubarb – Not in this weeks box. It needs time for a good regrowth after very little rain and hot and windy days. It does look promising for next week. In the meantime, check out some options for recipes in the future. I found yet another useful site on rhubarb courtesy of the Lanesboro, Minnesota’s Rhubarb Festival. Check out these award-winning recipes http://bit.ly/M2mkOO.  Thank you Kraby family for sharing a yummy recipe. http://bit.ly/LTvfUD

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – wash, cut off longer stems. Enjoy in salads or sprinkle a little bit of sugar over it.

Spinach – wash, cut off longer stems. Great for salads. There will be two types of spinach in this weeks box. An early season variety and a variety that really grew this last week. http://bit.ly/LjbXsx

Beet greens – wash, cut off longer stems. Great for salads. Some additional ideas for beet greens http://bit.ly/Ljc0oe

Radishes – wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt. http://bit.ly/KrSM3l

Turnips NEW this week. great cut up and eaten raw in a salad. The turnip greens are also edible and could be used in a salad.

Herbs – chives, lemon thyme, basil, cilantro, oregano and orange thyme (NEW) – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. http://bit.ly/LHQpIZ

Fresh cut arrangement – includes Hosta leaves. These last forever in a vase of water. Give them a fresh-cut when you get home and place in a vase of room temperature water. http://bit.ly/LHQIUb

Weeding and more weeding – June 6

This week we have been spent quite a bit of time weeding which has been good conversation time with the kids, and a great opportunity to bring science to life. We have identified weeds versus crops and looked at differences in roots, leaves and stalks. It is fun to use my three years of experience on the South Dakota State University weed science crew to use. What weeds are we finding? Dandelions, crab grass, pig weed and lambs quarter, log on here to see more weeds in Minnesota http://www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo/weedid/

Observing and analyzing in the field can bring a better understanding and appreciation for the food that we grow and the effort that other farmers put in to provide the other food that is on our tables. I see this with my own children.

Thought you would find it interesting that most of these pictures were taken by Keith in fact only one was taken by me. He is really enjoying taking pictures for this project!

YOUR BOXES OF PRODUCE

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list.

Look for new links on recipes etc. Also remember food safety when preparing, always wash your before eating. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/health_professionals/food_safety.html

Rhubarb – one pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces and you can freeze it in a Ziploc bag and use for months to come. Check out earlier posts on Rhubarb for recipe ideas. I also thought this link may be helpful. http://www.marthastewart.com/275393/rhubarb-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide#/264427

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – wash, cut off longer stems. Enjoy in salads or sprinkle a little bit of sugar over it.

Spinach – wash, cut off longer stems. Great for salads.

Beet greens – wash, cut off longer stems. Great for salads.

Radishes – wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt. http://www.eattheseasons.com/Archive/radishes.htm

Herbs – chives, lemon thyme, basil and oregano – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. While grilling turkey this weekend, I basted it with honey and then placed a sprig of the lemon thyme and basil on top. This added subtle hint of flavoring.

Fresh cut arrangement – includes Hosta leaves. These last forever in a vase of water. Give them a fresh-cut when you get home and place in a vase of water.

BOXES

Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. We have a couple of boxes per family. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA with harvest on Wednesday evenings. It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.