Weeding through to See Potential

Weeding through to See Potential

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Green beans that have been weeded.

We have spent much of our time this week controlling and managing pests in the crops. The weeds seem to always thrive and hinder the growth and health of the crops. But once you take away the obstacle of the pest and the weeds the crops really grow.

Have you ever wondered why, for the oddest reason, weeding seems therapeutic even though it is a dreaded process? Why do we feel so satisfied when a garden or a field has been cleaned of the weeds and pests? It reminds me of events or things in life that drag us down, that don’t let us or those we love thrive to be their best self. I feel that weeding for that moment in time allows me to be in control of something.

There are so many things that are out of our control, but if we can focus on one “weed or pest” at a time, eventually we will get to the end of the field and look back and see that for a moment in time we have conquered what ever was holding us back. Just like the crops that we want to grow, we need to rid ourselves of the weeds or pests that hold us back from achieving our true potential.

Yes, the weeds and pests will come back if we allow them to but just like in agriculture, we need to constantly troubleshoot and find better ways to show constant improvement to strive to be our best self.

So the moral of the story: don’t let weeds or pests stand in your way of seeking your sunshine to stand tall and proud to achieve your maximum potential. Face what you dread head on, and the end result will be worth your efforts.

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Crop scouting for potato bugs.

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The last planting of potatoes was hilled which means using the tiller with a special attachment to push more dirt up along the potato plant and providing the plant more room to grow potatoes.

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The tomatoes were tied up so they are not growing on in the ground. This they are cleaner and less chance for soil born plant disease.

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We were able to continue learning about other areas of agriculture on a 4-H field trip to the University of Minnesota touring a variety of their research farms.

Garden Science

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Japanese beetles feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants between the veins, leaving a skeleton of brown fibers where the leaves used to be. Learn more here.

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Tomato Hornworms is a very destructive pest to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes.

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. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Red Oak leaf lettuce have elongated, lobed and loosely serrated leaves similar to those of oak leaves. The vibrant burgundy stained leaves form a semi-tight rosette, growing upward and outward. Red Oak Leaf lettuce has a buttery texture and an incredibly mellow, nutty and sweet flavor. It is known for its sweetness, which may be an even more memorable quality than its attractive foliage.

Spinach – Great for salads – check out last week’s recipe

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are growing like crazy. Here are a few ideas on how to use them from Martha Stewart.

Beets An old garden favorite of mine. The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant. It is one of several of the cultivated varieties of grown for their edible taproots and their leaves called beet greens. Learn how to use them here.

Carrots – The carrots are finally ready! Enjoy.

Swiss Chard The green leafy vegetable has the leaf stalks and often leaf blade or stalk that can be eaten. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in color; the leaf stalks are usually white, yellow, or red.

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Sugar snap peas were first developed in 1952 by cross-breeding snow pea with a mutant shell pea plant. Researchers hoped that the cross might counteract twisting and buckling seen in varieties at the time. With this cross, they developed a new class of snow pea.[2] Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe.

Sugar Snap Peas –Eat the whole edible pod. Enjoy this garden favorite.

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs.

Summer SquashYou don’t have to peel the squash, just wash it. Here are a few ways to use it from Country Living. Shareholders either have the golden egg or a zucchini in their box.

CilantroDid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.

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A variety of zinnias and sunflowers.

Fresh cut arrangement –zinnias, hostas, sunflowers and hydrangeas.

Recipe of the Week

Freezing Herbs

This is step by step instructions that I posted a few years ago, but it was worth reposting. From time to time, I will be setting out additional herbs in case you don’t have those herbs in your pot, or you would just like more. Help yourself, and use this method to have a taste of the garden throughout the winter.

7-19-12 wash herbs

Wondering how to preserve your herbs for making salsa or chilli? I wash them and place in a small ice cube tray and then place in a small Ziploc bag so I have them when I need them. First, wash herbs under cold water.

 

7-19-12 herbs in ice cube tray

Cut or pull herbs apart and place smaller portions in the separate compartments in an ice cube tray. This tray I found in the $1 isle at Target.

 

 

7-9-14 frozen herbs

Run water over the herbs and place in the freezer. Once frozen, take out of tray and place in labeled bag or container. These will come in handy throughout the year when a recipe calls for an herb. Just take the ice cube and place in the recipe. Fresh herbs throughout the year.

 

 

 

Perspective and Attitude drive Outcome

Perspective and Attitude drive Outcome

It has been a busy week filled with planting another round of crops and weeding. The weather made it extremely challenging to accomplish.

As you can see, Sam and I raced a storm that had us in a flash flood warning this weekend. We are appreciative that we did not receive the downpour that friends south of us received. Thankfully no lightning at our place – so Sam thought it was a blast to play in the rain immediately following planting sweet potatoes.

I greatly appreciated his willingness to work with speed and understanding of the purposeful outcome we needed to have. So many good life lessons from this including teamwork, do it right the first time so you don’t have to do it over and things can be fun in the rain, one’s perspective and attitude drive the outcome.

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Sam and I planted 50 sweet potatoes. We appreciate the help from our neighbors the Schwakes for their help with sweet potatoes.

An update on what is growing on: the radishes and kohlrabi appear to be loved by an insect this year. Now on the 4th planting, we are hopeful that we can beat the insects on this round. Also, the sugar snap peas are blooming which means edible pea pods are around the corner. In fact, we harvested a handful yesterday so we are hopeful that the bounty will be available next week.

Garden Science

We thought you would enjoy a few of our views this week.

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Looking down the top of a corn plant is always fascinating to see the swirls as the leaves and plant grow. Learn more about the corn plant growth here.

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Blue potatoes are not a GMO. It’s origin is quite interesting. Learn more here  and at the Wisconsin Potato Growers.

Pick-up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.

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.

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

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. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas. Also, a recent rhubarb favorite was shared this evening – make rhubarb sauce and eat it with your favorite yogurt.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California. Check out these recipes.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

spinach

It is so fun to watch the crops that you plant sprout and grow. This is a young spinach plant. Do you know how long it takes for spinach to germinate? 7-14 days depending on growing conditions. You can cut and harvest several times. The plant will grow new leaves back every time you cut and harvest it.

Spinach – great for salads – check out this week’s recipe below.

Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill. Here are a few ideas for using your chives. https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=chives

Cilantrodid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.   https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=cilantro

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves. I was so bummed that the peonies had already finished flowering.

Recipe of the Week

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing

3 Tablespoons apple juice

2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 cups bite-size pieces spinach

1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. In small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until blended; set aside.
  2. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Remove chicken to cutting board.
  3. Add dressing to skillet; stir to loosen any pan drippings.
  4. Cut chicken into slices. Among 4 plates, divide spinach. Top with chicken, strawberries and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Source: Taste of Home

 

Harvesting Begins

Harvesting Begins

The excitement of seeing the joys from the garden has begun. It is good to seeing our growing season is slightly in front of last year’s especially since we had a blizzard in the middle of April.

Garden Science

 

I asked Sam what our science message should be this week, and he said, “let’s show them how the Peony flower opens up.” It usually happens fairly quickly over a period of 1-3 days. They are beautiful and smell delightful. So here is Sam’s view from the camera lens on this science project.

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The beginning bloom of the Peony flower.

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The bloom beginning to open on the Peony.

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The Peony flower bloom open.

 

Pick-up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.

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.

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

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. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

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How large are rhubarb leaves? This big.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas.
Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California. Check out these recipes.

lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – love eating this in salads and on sandwiches.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads

Herbchives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill.


Herbs pots – includes three of one of the following: thyme, rosemary, sweet basil, parsley, sage and a few surprises. Enjoy them in your kitchen.

20180606_211807.jpgFresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and peonies

Recipe of the Week

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Rhubarb Jam – Enjoy!

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together and set aside until a juice forms

6 cups rhubarb sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

3 cups sugar

Next:

Add one can of pie filling (cherry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry)

Cook these ingredients for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 package of 3 oz jello (use Jello that is of the same flavor as the pie filling). Mix well. Pour into containers. Refrigerate or freeze.

From Winter to Summer

From Winter to Summer

It is extremely strange to think that roughly a month and a half ago was a blizzard and that over Memorial Day, we experienced record setting heat. All of these crazy weather conditions, combined with a window to plant provided an opportunity for the crops and weeds to grow like crazy. The good news is that harvest for some of these crops is just around the corner, and so are some delicious dishes to tantalize the taste buds.

4-15-18 Brothers

Roughly a month and a half ago, we had a blizzard which was followed by record-setting heat at the end of May. It is strange to think that we are ready for produce to be harvested. If you are wondering, yes the snow was that deep on April 15.

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The brown spot on the leaf is the outside shell of the seed still hanging onto the leaf. It will eventually fall off as the plant continues to grow.

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New lettuce plants… love the color of the leaves.

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4 O’Clocks peaking out of the ground. The strength a young plant has to peek out of the ground is always amazing to me. We plant 4 O’Clocks to attract good insects so they will eat the bad insects.

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The potatoes are growing and needed to be hilled already. This allows more room for the tubers (potatoes) to grow.

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Unfortunately, we still have to pull some weeds. These weeds overcame the carrots over Memorial Day weekend.

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What do we do as a family before and after a day of baseball…weed control. After 3 inches of rain and about a week of above normal and record-setting temperatures, the weeds are plentiful. Keeping them under control is essential to growing and harvesting a good crop.

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Running the tiller that was his great grandpa’s.

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Yes, we have two of great grandpa’s tillers because they had a big garden. They accomplish the task faster when we work together.

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We made a trip to South Dakota and were able to see the Corn Palace. It was fun to see the beautiful art work made from different color corn varieties. The corn is not dyed. Corn is naturally these different colors depending on the variety. 

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We recently hatched baby chicks in a classroom. We all enjoy doing agriculture in the classroom to help others better understand agriculture.

Showing Growth

Showing Growth

The crops are growing and so are the weeds this week. Here’s a quick view of what’s growing on.

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The pea plants germinating as well as many of the other crops. Look closely to see the fine hairs on the leaves. The morning dew help to make them stand out. The new plants are so fun and fascinating to look at.

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We planted two varieties of garlic this week California White and Walla Walla.

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A great team effort planting herb pots with a variety of herbs in each one. A culinary delight for the shareholders.

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The broilers went outside this weekend. They are growing quickly and will be ready for market in a few weeks.

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The rhubarb looked fantastic so we made rhubarb jam and some homemade bread to sample the jelly on. He did a great job in the kitchen!

 

In the ground

In the ground

It feels pretty good to have most of the crops planted. The few things such as garlic and sweet potatoes are not planted because they had not been shipped yet due to the growing zone we live in. We feel pretty happy with what was completed, and also that we received a nice rain on them this past week. Below are a few highlights – enjoy.

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Sam’s turn running the tiller preparing the fields for the vine crops.

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A lot of hard work was accomplished by these two this past week. They found ways to keep fun in with work.

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We installed the pea fence and cucumber fences for those crops to climb up.

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805 onions were planted by these two. A good way to practice math skills.

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An experiment … planting different varieties of potatoes in each tire garden. As the potatoes grow, a tire will be added on top and more soil added. We have estimated how many pounds of potatoes will grow from these vertical tie gardens. Thank you to our friend Owen for helping us get these started. What’s your guess?

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A double rainbow followed a quick rainstorm with 50 mph winds. A beautiful way to end the day and a good reminder that we are not in charge. Praying for a good growing season for every one.

 

 

 

Spring Field Work Begins

Spring Field Work Begins

We are so grateful for the good drying weather and beautiful days to be in the field. Below is a quick glance at last week.

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Field work started this week. Everyone enjoys the opportunity to be on the tractor.

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These boys planted 548 potatoes 4 varieties in 45 minutes to beat some rain. They are happy to have accomplished this task in record time without sacrificing quality outcomes.

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Rhubarb emerged this week and is growing like crazy. I love the crinkly leaves and the blend of colors. We were able to enjoy a small rhubarb raspberry pie this week.

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The broker chicks are growing fast. Now at 4 weeks old they are almost fully feathered.

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The 4-H pigs arrived this week. The boys enjoy this project and learn so much from this opportunity. Thank you to Country Girls Showpigs for their help on this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Blizzard

April Blizzard

It is hard to tell how many inches of snow Mother Nature sent our way this weekend along with the high winds creating blizzard conditions. But it is a historic weather event in Minnesota. One we hope does not repeat anytime soon.

Please pray for warmer weather providing for good planting conditions. I’d also ask that you keep all those affected by extreme weather events across our Nation in your prayers. Prayer and hope are powerful to those in need.

Snow Drifts

It is hard to believe we were in a blizzard warning and winter weather warning for most of the weekend. But all you had to do was look out the window or go outside to feel the ice pellets, different forms of snow and see the snow drifts to know that Mother Nature is in charge. We are just not real fond of her tricks at this point.

4-15-18 Broiler Chicks

Our broiler chicks came this week and are already growing like crazy. See their wing feathers already developing. These chicks are not given any hormones. It is illegal in the United States to give chickens hormones. They will be full-grown in 8 weeks.

4-15-18 seed potatoes

Our seed potatoes and seeds are ready for planting when Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

A busy off season

A busy off season

It has been a busy past few months, and the growing season is already upon us. Seeds have been ordered, and some have being started. Hard to believe that April is just around the corner.

Here is an update on a few projects that happened over the past few months. Thank you again for your interest in Harner Brothers CSA.

Faribault K thank you

We were happy to share some gourds and pumpkins with a first grade class to use in their store.

Sam with Ms Baker

We were able to share pumpkins with Sam’s class for their Fall party.

Project talk Keith

The boys both gave 4-H project talks at a club meeting with one focusing on the swine project.