Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

We have been busy planting, weeding, mulching and staking. Great news – there is a lot is growing, and we were blessed with rain last night. We anticipate that you should start enjoying garden produce very soon.

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.

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.

 

Mulch and irrigation line was laid at the beginning of May for our tomatoes to provide regular moisture to the plants to provide more event growth opportunity for the tomatoes.

Mulch and irrigation line was laid at the beginning of May for our tomatoes to provide regular moisture to the plants to provide more even growth opportunity for the tomatoes. Note: We usually work with our shoes on for safety purposes. This job gets so much dirt in your shoes it’s difficult to work with them on.

Learning to fence is part of living at our place. We will use trellis fro our sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

Learning to fence is part of living at our place. We will use trellis’ for our sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

Planting of pumpkins and squash also occurred earlier in May and they are poking out of the ground.

Planting of pumpkins and squash also occurred earlier in May, and they are peeking out of the ground.

We utilize fence repurposed from my parents farm to use for our trellis for our peas. We are ready for these little plants to take off climbing.

We utilize fence repurposed from my parents farm to use for our trellis for our peas. We are ready for these little plants to take off climbing.

Garden Science

We did have frost in mid-May. Notice the black parts on the leaves of the potatoes which were caused by the cold weather.

We did have frost in mid-May. Notice the black parts on the leaves of the potatoes which were caused by the cold weather. Good news is that it didn’t damage the plant significantly, and it is growing out of the stress of the cold weather.

Agriculture in the Classroom

We were privileged to be part of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture's Book of the Year project and were featured in their Ag Mag - great for students in 3rd -5th grade available in both English and Spanish. The Book of the Year is First Peas to the Table which tells a story of President Thomas Jefferson and his farm.

We were privileged to be part of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year project and were featured in their Ag Mag – great for students in 3rd -5th grade. The Book of the Year is First Peas to the Table which tells a story of President Thomas Jefferson and his farm.

We had a fun day with Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell. She is a farm girl from Georgia. As part of my job with the Minnesota Farm Bureau, we were able to share Minnesota agriculture with her through a farm visit at FarGaze Farms and Wolf Creek Dairy. She also stopped by to see the national contest that she partnered with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture on called First Peas to the Table Contest. The students have learned so much through this opportunity.

We had a fun day with Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell. She is a farm girl from Georgia. As part of my job with the Minnesota Farm Bureau, we were able to share Minnesota agriculture with her starting at Little Oscars and farm visits at FarGaze Farms and Wolf Creek Dairy. She also stopped by to see the national contest in action that she partnered with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture on called First Peas to the Table Contest. The students have learned so much through this opportunity. Thank you to Betty for being such a great spokesperson for agriculture!

 

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

Spring always brings smiles, from seeing the first Robins appear to the first flowers blooming to the smell of soil and the smell of spring rains. Spring is simply exciting. This week we were in the field and were able to accomplish quite a bit because of the cooperative weather. The soil temps are warming up. The rain, while welcome, is just enough to settle the dust.

Thank you to our neighbor, the Quinnels, for loaning us the tractor and tiller to try out. It sure was efficient and welcome pieces of equipment.

Thank you to our neighbor, Keith Quinnell, for loaning us the tractor and tiller to try out. It sure was efficient and welcome pieces of equipment.

We drug out the ends to even out the soil for a nice seed bed and seeded some of our grass field roads and pasture that needed to be replanted.

We drug out the ends to even out the soil for a nice seed bed and seeded some of our grass field roads and pasture that needed to be replanted.

We decided last year that the raised bed garden will be our carrot sampling garden for our shareholders.

We decided last year that the raised bed garden will be our carrot sampling garden for our shareholders.

We planted many crops this weekend: lettuces, spinach, kale, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, beets, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower.

We planted many crops this weekend: lettuces, spinach, kale, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, beets, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower.

Math Corner

We planted five varieties of potatoes: Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Dark Red Norland, Masquerade and Blue potatoes. We planted 20 rows with 60 per row, how many potato plants were planted? Yes, we planted 1,200 potato plants.

We planted five varieties of potatoes: Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Dark Red Norland, Masquerade and Blue potatoes. We planted 20 rows with 60 per row, how many potato plants were planted? Yes, we planted 1,200 potato plants.

Garden Science

We also were rock picking this week. We had a great question - do you have to rock pick every year? The answer is yes. Our Minnesota weather with the freezing and thawing seem to push up rocks out of the ground on a regular basis. Not all the rocks are the same. There are many different types of rocks found in Minnesota. So while picking rock can get monotonous, the types of rocks do help to make the job more like a treasure hunt.

We also were rock picking this week. We had a great question – do you have to rock pick every year? The answer is yes. Our Minnesota weather with the freezing and thawing seem to push up rocks out of the ground on a regular basis. Not all the rocks are the same. There are many different types of rocks found in Minnesota. So while picking rock can get monotonous, the types of rocks do help to make the job more like a treasure hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Another motivation for weeding is finding fresh carrots.

Another motivation for weeding is finding fresh carrots.

While the weather has been beautiful, it has proven to be a haven for ideal weed growth. We spent a considerable amount of time this week weeding in the garden, and we are only half done! A combination of methods are used from hand weeding to tilling to rid these pesky plants from hindering a productive crop of garden produce. I always feel this is the most challenging time for weeds as there is no natural “canopy” from the garden crops formed over the weeds to shade out their growth.

What keeps us motivated to finish the weeding? Well, the radio always helps, along with, good conversation and a few games of “would you rather” or the stop everything and play “pretend.”

But to be honest, the feeling of looking back on your work and being able to say to yourself, “job well done” and also knowing that the plants will be healthier and more productive throughout the growing season, makes it all worth it.

At the end of the day, the bond from accomplishing the job together is pretty important!

At the end of the day, the bond from accomplishing the job together is pretty important!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herb – Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces or wash and freeze in a Ziploc bag. When they are taken out of the freezer you could crush them at that time into tiny pieces to use as flavoring in dishes.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves. I learned this a long time ago from Martha Stewart to cut a few hosta leaves and bring the “outside in.” I think it is a great way to brighten up your house, and they should last several weeks!

Rhubarb Torte

This is a family favorite. The recipe was given to me by a dear friend, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin. I love the recipes shared with friends and family as they always bring good memories to mind as you share the delicious dish with others.

The first step is to wash the rhubarb, cut off the ends and any scarred areas on the stock (from wind or hail) and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

The first step is to wash the rhubarb, cut off the ends and any scarred areas on the stock (from wind or hail) and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 Tablespoons milk, and 1/2 cup butter. Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 Tablespoons milk, and 1/2 cup butter.
Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Then sprinkle 6 oz package of Jello powder (strawberry or cherry) over rhubarb.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Then sprinkle 6 oz package of Jello powder (strawberry or cherry) over rhubarb.

Mix with pie cutter. Topping: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter. Then spread on top of Jello.

Mix with pie cutter. Topping: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter. Then spread on top of Jello.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.

Rhubarb Torte

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following.

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons milk

1/2 cup butter

Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces

6 oz package of strawberry or raspberry jello.

Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Rhubarb should be cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle jello powder over rhubarb.

Topping

2 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

Mix with pie cutter or fork and spread on top of Jello. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

What a beautiful sunset, we had the other night after a hard days work. God has a way of bringing peacefulness to the day and even better when it is captured through the lens by a young boy.

What a beautiful sunset, we had the other night after a hard days work. God has a way of bringing peacefulness to the day and even better when it is captured through the lens by a young boy.

And So It Begins

And So It Begins

Welcome to all of our shareholders. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and for you through out the growing season. We work hard to earn your trust and respect in the food that we grow for your families and ours! All of you should have received an email with more details of dates and specifics with the CSA. We are excited to see the daily changes and growth in the garden. Look for weekly blog posts for guidance throughout the season which will provide you with updates, ideas for your box of produce and recipes.

Did you know - that the young cucumber plants when they are cotyledons smell like a cucumber? We found that out as we were thinning the row. So we had a better plant population (plants properly spaced for optimal growth and production).

Did you know – that the young cucumber plants when they are cotyledons smell like a cucumber? We found that out as we were thinning the row. We thin the row so we have a plants properly spaced for optimal growth and production.

The potatoes have enjoyed the weather and were already in need of being hilled. Hilling helps the potato growth to occur under ground vs. above ground. We feel we have a more plentiful harvest when this is done. You will see the boys busy fertilizing the peas in the foreground.

The potatoes have enjoyed the weather and were already in need of being hilled. Hilling helps the potato growth to occur under ground vs. above ground (thus the greening of the potato). We feel we have a more plentiful harvest when this is done. You will see the boys busy fertilizing the peas in the foreground.

Pick-up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA with harvest on Wednesday evenings – 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.  

Garden Science

Potato bugs have reappeared. So we are again spending family bonding time picking the bugs and the eggs off of the potatoes and tomato plants.

Potato bugs have reappeared. So we are again spending family bonding time picking the bugs and the eggs off of the potatoes and tomato plants.

A lot has been done in the garden this past week including weeding, insect control and planting another crop of snap peas, green beans, beets, lettuces and spinach. Our biggest challenge this week are potato bugs!

We have done a lot of research over the last few years and will keep you posted as we work through this. This year we have again planted dill and marigolds around the potatoes with the hope that these plants would draw in beneficial insects to eat the potato bugs and the potato bug larvae. In addition, we have planted some 4’oclocks and wildflowers to also help bring in beneficial insects.

To say we were disappointed that the potato bugs found their way to the new field and have started eating tomato plants in addition to the potato plants is a gross understatement. Every night, we are out there picking potato bugs and their eggs off of the potato plants. What is even more frustrating is how they eat the potato plants as they emerge from the ground, and before the potato plants emerged, the potato bugs were eating the tomato plants.

 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.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location.

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. Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Beet/Beet Leaves – Many times I have seen in high-end restaurants beet leaves in my salads. Well here is your opportunity. These are young plants that we are thinning out of the rows – eat the whole plant. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

Now that's a radish. Our French Radish and Cherry Belle radishes are plentiful. This one was as big as Sam's hand.

Now that’s a radish. Our French Radish and Cherry Belle radishes are plentiful. This one was as big as Sam’s hand.

Radishes – wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herb chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in

Fresh cut arrangement – herbs pots – includes three of one of the following: silver thyme, rosemary, sweet basil, parsley and/or purple basil.

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb Juice

Thank you to my friends at Feltis Farms CSA for sharing this delicious recipe.

8 lbs. diced rhubarb
2 gallons water
2 12 oz. cans frozen orange juice concentrate
2 46 oz. cans pineapple juice
2 3 oz. boxes strawberry gelatin
4 cups sugar

In LARGE pot combine water and rhubarb. Cook down until rhubarb is soft. Drain. Discard rhubarb. Add sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients.

Enjoy immediately.

Or cook in for 10 minutes at 5 lbs. pressure in canner to enjoy this winter.

On the Move

On the Move

We have been on the move at Harner Brothers CSA. Moving our garden from its original space to our field. We have divided the field into our own “mini-fields.” We hope this will allow us to more efficiently manage the soil health, insects and plant health. In the meantime, the old garden area is being planted with a cover crop. Using moveable pens, we will be putting some of our younger hens that are not laying yet and our roosters on that land area with the hope that they will eat some of the bad insects such as potato bugs and squash bugs.

As usual, there will be a lot of science projects going on this summer. Stay tuned. As usual, agriculture is always interesting! Enjoy a quick glimpse into what we have been working on.

This past fall, the boys used profits from the extra rhubarb sales to send in a donation to Gillette's Children's Hospital and the American Red Cross. Let us know if you are in need of any before the CSA starts or if you would like extra during the season. We use this as an opportunity to teach the kids the importance of giving back.

This past fall, the boys used profits from the extra rhubarb sales to send in a donation to Gillette’s Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross. Let us know if you are in need of any rhubarb ($3 per pound) before the CSA starts, or if you would like extra during the season. We use this as an opportunity to teach the kids the importance of giving back.

In early April we started the herbs. Seeds come in all sizes. The herb seeds are particularly tiny.

In early April, we started the herbs. Seeds come in all sizes. The herb seeds are particularly tiny.

The boys helped to prepare the herb pots by using the cordless drill to ensure their is a drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Much like tile drainage systems in a field, the drain hole in this pot helps to keep the roots of the plants healthy by draining any extra water that seeps through the soil to the bottom of the pot. If the hole was not there for the access water to drain out the plant would not be healthy.

The boys helped to prepare the herb pots by using the cordless drill to ensure there is a drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Much like tile drainage systems in a field, the drain hole in this pot helps to keep the roots of the plants healthy by draining any extra water that seeps through the soil to the bottom of the pot. If the hole was not there for the access water to drain out, the plant would not be healthy.

Don't let my photo bomber fool you...they worked mighty hard this day in April.  Thank you to FarGaze Farms for the use of the tillage equipment to work up the ground to prepare it for planting.  We worked up our old garden to plant a cover crop to add fertility to the soil and provide additional area for our chickens (non-laying hens such as roosters and pullets) so they can eat bad insects such as potato bugs (insect control). We are utilizing our field which will allow for more room for growing vines. Look for us to sell pink pumpkins this fall with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research.

Don’t let my photo bomber fool you…they worked mighty hard this day in April. Thank you to FarGaze Farms for the use of the tillage equipment to work up the ground to prepare it for planting. We worked up our old garden to plant a cover crop to add fertility to the soil and provide additional area for our chickens (non-laying hens such as roosters and pullets) so they can eat bad insects such as potato bugs (insect control). We are utilizing our field which will allow for more room for growing vines. Look for us to sell pink pumpkins this fall with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research.

At the end of our first work day in the field, we had accomplished a lot working up the old garden and the field and building and painting a new moveable chicken pen. It was a great day for teaching work ethic  and the need to work hard when Mother Nature allows you the opportunity.

At the end of our first work day in the field, we had accomplished a lot: working up the old garden and the field and building and painting a new moveable chicken pen. It was a great day for teaching work ethic and the need to work hard when Mother Nature allows you the opportunity.

PIcking rock is part of preparing the field so we don't ruin our tiller or other equipment.

Picking rock is part of preparing the field so we don’t ruin our tiller or other equipment.

We have planted five varieties of potatoes. They weren't in by Good Friday but they were in on April 18. The spring has been cooperative as far as temperatures, but we sure could use a good rain.

We have planted five varieties of potatoes. They weren’t in by Good Friday, but they were in on April 18. The spring has been cooperative as far as temperatures, but we sure could use a good rain.

We also planted several cold season crops on April 18 including a few different varieties of lettuces, spinach, radishes, sugar snap peas and beets.

We also planted several cold season crops on April 18 including a few different varieties of lettuces, spinach, radishes, sugar snap peas and beets.

We preplanted our large pumpkins. We are excited to have a larger area for vines as part of our experiments including three varieties of giant pumpkins. We thought these "natural" pots looked interesting. They are made of sterilized cattle manure and should break down nicely in the soil as the pumpkins grow.

We pre-planted three varieties of large pumpkins. We are excited to have a larger area for vines as part of our experiments. We thought these “natural” pots looked interesting. They are made of sterilized cattle manure and should break down nicely in the soil as the pumpkins grow.

The giant pumpkins have begun to emerge with the first set of leaves - the cotyledons. I always think it is fun to see the seed pod still attached to these emerging leaves. The pumpkins are planted in the field waiting for a good drink of rain.

The giant pumpkins have begun to emerge with the first set of leaves – the cotyledons. I always think it is fun to see the seed pod still attached to these emerging leaves. The pumpkins are planted in the field waiting for a good drink of rain.

At the end of this past weekend, we had over 50 varieties of vegetables and flowers planted. The boys commented that they way we have laid the field out into its own mini-fields that it will look cool when everything is growing. This weekend was beautiful with it warming up to about 80 degrees F. We did not receive much rain on Sunday but were thankful we missed the large hail that came with that storm.

At the end of this past weekend, we had over 50 varieties of vegetables and flowers planted. The boys commented are excited to see how it all looks when the mini-fields begin to grow. This weekend was beautiful with it warming up to about 80 degrees F. We did not receive much rain on Sunday but were thankful we missed the large hail that came with that storm.

 

 

What does that mean?

What does that mean?

 

Weeding and worms - that is what is growing on in the garden. Lots and lots of weeding occurred this weekend. The weeds are then fed to the chickens. In addition, the ornamental corn is growing like crazy and a great place for Sam to sit to be shaded from the sun.

Weeding and worms – that is what is growing on in the garden. Lots and lots of weeding occurred this weekend. The weeds are then fed to the chickens. We weed so that our crops receive the nutrients and water from the soil instead of the weeds. The weeds can choke the plant out of its space and cause our crop to die or not be productive. While we are weeding, the boys also have a jar near by to put worms in. Not only do they like to use the worms as bait when we go fishing, but they simply think worms are cool. In addition, the ornamental corn is growing like crazy and a great place for Sam to sit to be shaded from the sun.

As we were working in the garden, the kids asked me some good questions that I thought some of you may like to know as well. So below are a few clarifying terms that I hope are helpful.

Annual – A plant that grows for one growing season. Most of our crops our annuals and are replanted every spring.

Perennials – Plants that grow back on their own for more than two years. A perennial crop produces year after year. Crops that are examples of perennials would be rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries and blueberries.

Germinate – When a seed that you have planted begins to grow.

Replant – When a seed does not sprout. We had to replant some seeds because they rotted in the soil. The soil was to wet over an extended period of time because of all the rain we received. Once the soil dried enough, we replanted it in the soil. Now we are hoping that it will germinate or begin to grow.

Pests – We deal with a variety of pests in our garden. A pest is a destructive insect or other animal that attacks crops, food or livestock. Pests we deal with our weeds, insects (ex. potato bugs, squash bugs) and wildlife (rabbits and deer).

What’s Growing On

We also were replanting different crops. The constant wet weather caused some of our seeds to rot and not grow in the garden. So we replanted some of these crops this past week.

We also were replanting different crops. The constant wet weather caused some of our seeds to rot and not grow in the garden. So we replanted some of these crops this past week.

Not only do the insects like to eat our crops. So do the rabbits, see what they did to the cabbage.

Not only do the insects like to eat our crops. So do the rabbits, see what they did to the cabbage.

This is the way the cabbage looked before the rabbit enjoyed a meal.

This is the way the cabbage looked before the rabbit enjoyed a meal.

 Garden Science

Potato bugs can lay up to 800 eggs at one time. While everyone has been diligent in searching for the adult potato bugs and the eggs, we weren't fortunate enough to find all of them.

Potato bugs can lay up to 800 eggs at one time. While everyone has been diligent in searching for the adult potato bugs and the eggs, we weren’t fortunate enough to find all of them.

 

Sam is holding four stages of potato bugs. On the leaf are the eggs, the largest bug is the adult and on either side of the adult are red dots which are different stages of baby potato bugs. We have been researching our options and recognize that constant monitoring is necessary so that an infestation does not occur. An infestation will cause them to not only eat the potatoes but other crops as well.

Sam is holding four stages of potato bugs. On the leaf are the eggs, the largest bug is the adult and on either side of the adult are red dots which are different stages of baby potato bugs. We have been researching our options and recognize that constant monitoring is necessary so that an infestation does not occur. An infestation will cause them to not only eat the potato plants but other crops as well.

 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.

Rhubarb – one pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts. 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 our recipe ideas below.

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. Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops.  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.

Prizeleaf Lettuce – what a beautiful colored lettuce to add to the salads. Add some fresh strawberries or dried fruit to your salads and Enjoy!

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Some spinach salad ideas from P. Allen Smith.

Beet Leaves – Many times I have seen in high-end restaurants beet leaves in my salads. Well here is your opportunity. These are young plants that we are thinning out of th rows – eat the whole plant. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

The boys gather, clean and pack the eggs. They hope you enjoy them!

The boys gather, clean and pack the eggs. They hope you enjoy them!

Eggs – Enjoy some fresh eggs from our chickens. The varied sizes and colors come from a variety of breeds of chickens as well as different ages of chickens. Please feel free to ask the boys about the different sizes. They will be happy to identify the hen that laid it.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves…these last forever in a vase of water. After a week, give them a fresh-cut, and they will last longer. The greenery in the house is a day brightener.

Recipe of the Week

This is Keith’s favorite – Rhubarb Torte. It is one of my favorites as well! We were so excited to have some tonight that we ate two pieces for “supper” before you all picked up your boxes tonight!

Rhubarb Torte

Mix together the crust until crumbly •1 cup flour; •1/2 cup butter; •Dash of salt;  •2 tablespoons sugar;

Mix together the crust until crumbly
•1 cup flour; •1/2 cup butter; •Dash of salt;
•2 tablespoons sugar;

Pat it into a 9x13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Pat it into a 9×13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

While the crust is baking mix together the next layer. •1 1/2 cups sugar; •2 tablespoons flour;  •1/3 cup cream; •3 egg yolks beaten; •3-4 cups rhubarb; Cook until thickened. Pour over crust after it has baked. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix together the next layer. •1 1/2 cups sugar; •2 tablespoons flour;
•1/3 cup cream; •3 egg yolks beaten; •3-4 cups rhubarb; Cook until thickened. Pour over crust after it has baked. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

Mix on high until stiff - 3 egg whites.

Mix on high until stiff – 3 egg whites.

Then add and beat into the egg whites:  •1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar; •Dash of vanilla; •Dash of salt; •1/3 cup powdered sugar. Spread over middle rhubarb section. Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes to brown slightly the meringue.

Then add and beat into the egg whites:
•1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar; •Dash of vanilla; •Dash of salt; •1/3 cup powdered sugar.
Spread over middle rhubarb section. Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes to brown slightly the meringue.

Fresh out of the oven.

Fresh out of the oven.

Rhubarb Torte

Crust

Mix together until crumbly

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Middle

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 3 egg yolks beaten
  • 3-4 cups rhubarb

Cook until thickened. Pour over crust after it has baked. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

Top

  • 3 egg whites (whipped until stiff)

Then add and beat into the egg whites

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Spread over middle rhubarb section. Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes to brown slightly the meringue.

In the end, I have happy boys eating rhubarb!

In the end, I have happy boys eating rhubarb!

 

More Recipes

Thank you to one of our shareholders Tracy Modory for sharing this easy jam recipe that was a success in her house. Looks delicious!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Refrigerator Jam

1 1/3 cup strawberries
2/3 cup rhubarb
2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
2 T chia seeds

Process all ingredients in a blender, transfer to jars and refrigerate overnight. The chia seeds will gel, thickening the fruit puree. No need to cook the fruit. This can also be frozen after refrigerated overnight and thawed when ready to use.

 

 

Weather Watching

Weather Watching

The weather the last few days has been tumultuous. During these types of moments, I find myself frequently checking weather, checking social media and watching the clouds. You might find this odd. I find it normal. Because it is what I grew up with – checking and watching weather.

I remember many moments where we would watch the clouds roll over with varying results. The ones I remember the most are the clouds that were green and eerie which would burst open to the ground full of rain, wind and hail. After the storm, we would go to the fields to check the crops. More often than not, we would find the crops shredded by the hail and laying flat because of the rain, wind and hail.  To say this was disheartening is an understatement – money and time gone. All of that hard work was gone: dad planting, mom doing field work, my brothers and I picking rock (walking back and forth in the fields to throw rocks larger than a baseball into a loader bucket or hay rack – this is done so the rocks will not break a very expensive part of the equipment) and walking beans (hoeing and/or spraying weeds that would choke out the plants resulting in a poor yield – the sole purpose was to kill the weeds). Most years my parents had crop insurance on the crops, and we replanted the crops. This post by a friend of mine may help explain. But what people don’t understand about farming is a farmer is at the mercy of the weather, and Mother Nature never takes a day off.

What does all of this weather mean for our CSA? Well if we were to get damaging wind, rain and hail – there would be no crop to harvest. We would have to replant and wait for it to regrow. We have no crop insurance for our crops. That is why we were out during “breaks” in last night’s storm – harvesting. I was watching the weather and fearing wind and hail were going to damage the crop last night. We were fortunate that this time we did not receive the damaging storms. We instead received about 2 inches of rain this weekend and a 1/2 inch of rain yesterday. A far cry from the 8 inches – 12 inches of rain some received in southwestern Minnesota.

So how do farmers handle not being able to control Mother Nature. Well, most of the farmers I know have a very strong faith in God because they understand that God will provide in his own way. With that said, many of the farmers I know are also avid weather watchers. While it may be out of our control, Mother Nature is still simply amazing to watch.

What’s Growing On

At 6 a.m. before the rainstorms, Steve was out hilling the potatoes and tilling some weeds. We hill the potatoes plants to provide a better growing medium and area for the plant to grow potatoes. Potatoes grow under the soil.

At 6 a.m. before the rainstorms this weekend, Steve was out hilling the potatoes and tilling some weeds. We hill the potatoes plants to provide a better growing medium and area for the plant to grow potatoes. Potatoes grow under the soil.

 

This blade is attached to the back of the tiller and pushes the soil to the sides thus "hilling" the potato rows.

This blade is attached to the back of the tiller and pushes the soil to the sides thus “hilling” the soil around the potato plants in their rows and providing more area for the potatoes to grow.

Steve and the boys installed the cucumber trellis this weekend. This will allow the cucumber plants to grow on the fence the cucumbers will grow and drop between the slats in this old fence. Thus keeping the cucumber cleaner since it is off of the ground.

Steve and the boys installed the cucumber trellis this weekend. This will allow the cucumber plants to grow on the fence. The cucumbers will grow and drop between the slats in this old fence. Thus keeping the cucumber cleaner since they are off of the ground. The fences are upcycled from my mom and dad’s farm.

Sam was busy inspecting the crops this weekend. We had a lot of questions regarding the mulch and why we have mulch on some of the crops. We mulch the vines and tomatoes to help with weed and plant disease issues as well as regulate moisture to the plants so that they grow better. In addition, especially with the tomatoes, the mulch helps to keep those vegetables from getting as much soil on them.

Sam was busy inspecting the crops this weekend. We had a lot of questions regarding the mulch and why we have mulch on some of the crops. We mulch the vines and tomatoes to help with weed and plant disease control as well as regulate moisture to the plants so that they grow more consistently. For example, inconsistent moisture can cause splitting and blossom end rot issues with potatoes. In addition, especially with the tomatoes, the mulch helps to keep those vegetables from getting as much soil on them – thus keeping them cleaner.

An interesting comparison, Sam's hand compared to the cotyledons of a pumpkin plant. Cotyledons are the first leaves of the plant to emerge,

An interesting comparison, Sam’s hand compared to the cotyledons of a pumpkin plant. Cotyledons are the first leaves of the plant to emerge from the ground.

Garden Science

Keith and Sam burying egg shells

Keith and Sam burying egg shells buy some of the Big Moon pumpkins. They have decided to bury eggs shells by these two pumpkins all summer and see if this will make a difference in the size of the pumpkins at harvest time.

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.

Rhubarb – one pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind or hail, 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 our recipe ideas at Taste of Home.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours from northern Minnesota. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. Enjoy! We love to eat it cooked and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Here is some fun information about asparagus.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of

Beet Leaves – Many times I have seen in high-end restaurants beet leaves in my salads. Well here is your opportunity. These are young plants that we are thinning out of th rows – eat the whole plant. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

Radishes – wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves…these last forever in a vase of water. After a week, give them a fresh-cut, and they will last longer. The greenery in the house is a day brightener.

Recipe of the Week

Thank you to one of our shareholders Amy Sillanpa for sharing one of her mom’s favorite rhubarb recipes!

Rhubarb Crunch

1 cup flour

3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

4 cups diced rhubarb

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix first four ingredients until crumbly. Press half in 9 inch square greased pan. Cover with 4 cups rhubarb. Combine last four ingredients and cook until thick and clear. Add 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring. Pour over rhubarb. Top with the rest of crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve war or cool with whipped topping.

 

First Delivery

First Delivery

Welcome to our CSA! Yes the boys do help in fact they were out before 7 a.m. picking your rhubarb. The leaves are so big on these plants. I remember as a child using the leaves to make "clothes." They definitely would not work as a prom dress!

Welcome to our CSA! Yes, the boys do help in fact they were out before 7 a.m. picking your rhubarb. The leaves are so big on these plants. I remember as a child using the leaves to make “clothes.” They definitely would not work as a prom dress!

How Does this Work – Few Reminders as we Begin

Welcome to all of our shareholders. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and for you through out the growing season. We work hard to earn your trust and respect in the food that we grow for your families and ours!

All of you should have received an email with more details of dates and specifics with the CSA. We are excited to see the daily changes and growth in the garden. Look for weekly blog posts for guidance throughout the season which will provide you with updates, ideas for your box of produce and recipes.

Pick-up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA with harvest on Wednesday evenings – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email. The first exception is next week which will be TUESDAY night. 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.  

Garden Science

A lot has been done in the garden this past week including weeding, insect control and planting another crop of snap peas, green beans, beets, lettuces and spinach.

Our biggest challenge this week are potato bugs! We have done a lot of research over the last few years and will keep you posted as we work through this. Last year, we planted dill and marigolds with the hope that these plants would draw in beneficial insects to eat the potato bugs and the potato bug larvae. To say we were surprised and disappointed that the potato bugs survived the winter, well that simply is a gross understatement. Every night, we are out there picking potato bugs and their eggs off of the potato plants. What is even more frustrating is how they eat the potato plants as they emerge from the ground, and before the potato plants emerged, the potato bugs were eating the tomato plants.

 

Just a few of the potato bugs from one of the nights pickings.

Just a few of the potato bugs from one of the nights pickings.

The potato bugs must taste so bad that the chickens won't even eat them. So how much do we dislike them...the boys smashed them with a hammer, if that gives you any indication.

The potato bugs must taste so bad that the chickens won’t even eat them. So how much do we dislike them…the boys smashed them with a hammer, if that gives you any indication.

Keith and Sam assisted Steve in putting up a fence for the peas to grow on. Yes we are upcycling an old child gate for this purpose.

Other garden activities included installing a fence for the peas to grow on. Yes, we are upcycling an old child gate for this purpose.

 

 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.

Rhubarb – one pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind or hail, 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.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Beet/Beet Leaves – Many times I have seen in high-end restaurants beet leaves in my salads. Well here is your opportunity. These are young plants that we are thinning out of the rows – eat the whole plant. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

Radishes – wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herbs – chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces.

Eggs – from time to time we will provide a few fresh eggs in your box from our chicken flock. We hope you enjoy them!

6-11-14 eggs

These eggs were all collected this week. Talk about variety from pee wee to extra-large.

Fresh cut arrangement – Peonies and Hosta leaves…these last forever in a vase of water. After a week, give them a fresh-cut, and they will last longer. The greenery in the house is a day brightener.

 

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Torte

One of Sam’s favorites from a dear friend from Wisconsin. We hope your family also enjoys this super easy quick rhubarb dessert.

Wash your rhubarb cutting off the end where I pulled it from the ground and give a fresh cut to the top. No need to peel. Simply cut into small 1/4" to 1/2" pieces.

Wash your rhubarb cutting off the end where I pulled it from the ground and give a fresh-cut to the top. No need to peel. Simply cut into small 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces.

Combine 2 c. flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 cup butter. Cut it together using a pie cutter.

Combine 2 c. flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 cup butter. Cut it together using a pie cutter.

 

After you have combined the crust ingredients spread it out in the pan and gently pat it.

After you have combined the crust ingredients spread it out in the pan and gently pat it.

Place 6 cups of cut rhubarb on top of crust. Sprinkle 6 ounce package of strawberry or raspberry Jello over the rhubarb. Next in a separate bowl combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter and cut together using your pie cutter. Gently spread over your rhubarb and Jello. Place in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Place 6 cups of cut rhubarb on top of crust. Sprinkle 6 ounce package of strawberry or raspberry Jello over the rhubarb. Next in a separate bowl combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter and cut together using your pie cutter. Gently spread over your rhubarb and Jello. Place in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Top with ice cream or Cool Whip. A happy kid is my result. Hope it is yours as well...Enjoy!

Top with ice cream or Cool Whip. A happy kid is my result. Hope it is yours as well…Enjoy!

Rhubarb Torte

Combine using a pie cutter:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup butter

Mix above ingredients and pat into a 9×13 pan.

  • 6 cups cut rhubarb, cut into about 1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 ounce package of strawberry or raspberry Jello

Place rhubarb over crust then sprinkle Jello over the rhubarb.

Top with:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter

Mix and put on top of Jello.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

The Mad Dash

The Mad Dash

The spinach, lettuce and radishes are looking great. The rain, heat and humidity have given a needed boost to these plants given our late spring.

The spinach, lettuce and radishes are looking great. The rain, heat and humidity have given a needed boost to these plants given our late spring.

If I could have only captured the moment on camera on Saturday night as we were attempting the mad dash to finish planting our tomatoes. The scattered thunderstorms had been popping up all afternoon, and it was one of those days where the directions of the storms were a bit unpredictable.

Steve and Sam were getting a few more supplies from our garage which left Keith and I in the garden. You also need to know that weather has always fascinated me. If given the opportunity, I would have loved to have been a tornado chaser.

So, I looked south across the section and saw heavy rain showers rolling across the field. If you have never seen this, it is a sight to see. It is one thing when it is a light rain (that is a somewhat calm beautiful view). But when the clouds are dark and you can hear the wind blowing and the rain hitting the ground over a mile away, you know it is time to find shelter FAST. Keith had never really experienced this, but thankfully, it was one of those moments when he listened to me – the first time. Perhaps it had something to do with the tone in my voice:) So anyways, I looked south and saw the storm rolling in very quickly. We rapidly picked up our equipment and sprinted into our garage, barely making it before you could hear the thunder of rain hitting the ground. There are many times in my life that I was not so lucky and ended up soaking wet to the bone.

This time we were a little wet, and I was laughing so hard after I crossed the threshold of the garage because of the crazy mad dash to the “finish” line. Keith on the other hand was asking me if we were going to have a tornado. I told him no – not to worry and said now you will always understand what it looks like to see a storm rolling in. It appears I will attempt another mad dash to finish the tomato planting this week between storms.

Yet, just another example of the crazy life and family experiences from our home.

We have had about 1.3 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.

We have had about 1.5 inches of rain since Saturday. This is less than others around us have received. We are thankful for what we have been given.

 Crop Update

The rhubarb is growing like crazy while the other crops are trying to catch up. The boys were excited to share some with their Grandma. In addition, we do sell rhubarb for $3 per pound. Part of the proceeds go towards disaster relief and Gillette Children's Hospital.

The rhubarb is growing like crazy while the other crops are trying to catch up. The boys were excited to share some with their Grandma. In addition, we do sell rhubarb for $3 per pound. Part of the proceeds go towards disaster relief and Gillette Children’s Hospital.

The boys were checking out the cucumbers that have emerged and doing some weeding so the weeds don't overtake the crops.

The boys were checking out the cucumbers that have emerged and doing some weeding so the weeds don’t overtake the crops.

We finished planting several varieties of tomatoes on Monday night. What a good feeling to have them in the ground!

We finished planting several varieties of tomatoes on Monday night. What a good feeling to have them in the ground!

Your Boxes

Welcome to all of our shareholders. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and for you through out the growing season. We work hard to earn your trust and respect in the food that we grow for your families and ours!

All of you should have received an email with more details of dates and specifics with the CSA. The planting was late this year, but the heat and humidity of the last two weeks have really helped out many of the crops. In addition, we received over an inch of rain since last night.

We are excited to see the daily changes and growth in the garden. Look for weekly blog posts for guidance through the season which will provide you with updates, ideas for your box of produce and recipes.

Pick-up and Delivery

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. 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.  

 

 

 

 

Window of Opportunity

Window of Opportunity

When planting season rolls around it feels somewhat like ABC’s Wide World of Sports would say, “The thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.” Meaning if you can beat the weather and get your crop in the ground, you feel victorious, thankful and relieved. Where as, if Mother Nature is relentless with poor weather conditions and the window of opportunity to plant is slim to none, it definitely feels like the agony of defeat. But in agriculture, you can’t give up. Persistence and optimism is a must to complete the task at hand.

The weather has definitely jumped from winter to spring. The plants are growing like crazy with the highs in the low 80s with humidity. If this weather continues, it is likely that the first delivery will be the first week of June. Look for additional details in your email box this weekend.

Here is an update on what was accomplished this past week. A lot of crops are growing and changing. Pray for cooperative weather throughout the growing season. After all, we can’t control Mother Nature. We can only control our attitudes and positive outlook.

What’s Growing 

The rhubarb is ready to be harvested. We do sell additional rhubarb throughout the growing season for $3 per pound. Part of the proceeds is donated to charities the boys have chosen: American Red Cross and Gillette's Children's Hospital.

The rhubarb is ready to be harvested. We do sell additional rhubarb throughout the growing season for $3 per pound. Part of the proceeds is donated to charities the boys have chosen: American Red Cross and Gillette’s Children’s Hospital.

5-23-14 cabbage

Great news, the soil was dry enough this weekend to complete 90 percent of the planting. Here you see us planting purple cabbage. All that we have left are the tomato and pepper plants.

5-23-14 baby carrots

Here is a carrot that emerged from the ground this weekend. The white root is what will grow into the carrot.

5-27-14 new radish

This is a small radish. The red root will grow into the delicious vegetable, or as the boys say, “the hot and spicy vegetable.”

5-27-14 Keith with radishes

In addition to the radishes, the spinach, peas and some lettuce varieties are growing in the new raised bed.

5-27-14 green beans emerging Sam

The crops we planted the weekend of May 18 emerged from the ground today. Here Sam is examining a green bean plant. Note the brown part by his fingers is the seed pod that is still attached to the plant.

 

Planting Update

5-24-14 Keith, Steve and Sam measuring between mulch rows

The boys learn a variety of skills while in the garden. Here they are learning how to read a tape measure as Steve measures the distance needed between the rows that have mulch.

Underneath the mulch, we installed a drip irrigation system so that we can supply the vine and tomato crops with a more consistent water supply.

Underneath the mulch, we installed a drip irrigation system so that we can supply the vine and tomato crops with a more consistent water supply. Throughout the season, I have the boys researching the crops to learn more about their water and nutrient needs. Look for the kids’ updates in future blogs.

5-24-14 Sam pulling mulch

There is a mulching machine on the market, but we have not yet invested in it. Instead we are building strong boys. They like to pull the roll across the field to help build their strength for the sports they enjoy playing.

5-25-14 Keith fertilizing vines

After transplanting our vine plants and planting some seeds, we watered and fertilized them.

5-25-14 Keith planting broom corn

We also planted a few more seeds including cucumbers, several pumpkin and gourd varieties and broom corn.

Of course, all work and no play doesn't work well. The boys again found great joy in looking for worms and creating their own "pool."

Of course, all work and no play doesn’t work well. The boys again found great joy in looking for worms and creating their own “pool.”