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It’s Like A Fun Miracle Over And Over

About six months ago, we received a package. That box was about 18”x18”x18” -- packed full of vegetable seeds we ordered for our garden.


Once our greenhouse was operational, we began opening the seed packets and carefully placing them in planting trays. Spinach seeds. Lettuce seeds. Radish seeds. Boc choi seeds. Tomato seeds. Cucumber seeds. Arugula seeds and carrot seeds. And that was just in the first few weeks.


Since then, we have planted thousands of seeds in moist, nutrient rich soil, watched them sprout, transferred the tender seedlings to our 200 garden beds, and – just at the right time – harvested them and distributed them to customers from Duluth to Minneapolis.


During that entire process, while we watered and weeded and cared for the plants, it’s the plants that were doing the real work.


Embedded in those seeds are the DNA that makes it possible for the plants to grow roots that extract nutrients and minerals from the soil, combine it with the water from the sky, and then build leaves that are able to photo-synthesize the sun’s solar power. And the end result is the creation of more than 20 trailer loads of fruits and vegetables. Miraculously, those seeds become bushels and bushels of stuff that’s pretty to look at and good for you too!


It makes our job easy – all we have to do is pick, wash, pack and then delivered all we can to you each week.


Looking Ahead – All The Way To October

Believe it or not, we are doing some of our final seeding now. It is really a matter of timing. Things like cabbage and onions are planted now, but stay in greenhouse longer before they are transplanted in the field. Because some things like fennel, celery, parsley and rosemary take a longer time to mature, we have to be sure they are started early enough to come to fruition before the first frost hits (usually around the second week in September!). If we start these too late, we risk that it will be killed by the frost before it can be harvested.


We are also working hard to get our winter squash plants into the ground this week. While things like radishes take only 3-4 weeks to go from seed to harvest, squash takes about four times as long.

Squash also takes a lot of space – the vines spread everywhere. In fact, since our 200 garden beds are all needed through the rest of the season, we decided to start the squash in an unused area. To accomplish this, we will be laying down some irrigations drip tape (where we want controlled watering to happen), cover the area with big tarps (which will keep the weeds down) and then punch holes where we want to squash plants to go.

That way we won’t have to spend a lot of time weeding, but we should get a good crop. Specifically, we expect to have buttercup squash, acorn squash, winter sweet, butternut squash and delicata squash.


All of these are great to have at the end of the season. Few other fruits are hardy enough to survive in the colder weather. But these can remain in the field even after early frosts kill the plant. And squash are yummy – so look for them in your last few shares!


P.S. – we always grow plenty of squash because any that is damaged or unsold can be easily stored and used to feed the chickens throughout the winter. It is full of nutrients and vitamins that the birds devour!


Last Batch

Today we are moving the last batch of of young broiler chickens to the pasture. From here on out, the ones that are already in the pasture will be delivered (about 250 at a time) to the butcher.


Taking the time to carefully raise them is important to us. We don’t grow attached to them (like pets) but we make sure they are treated ethically, living their best life in the field foraging for all sorts of tasty grubs and grasses (and not packed into inhumane cages eating growth hormones).


The Fruits Are … Ummm …Fruitful!

We are starting to really see things growing at an alarming rate -- and cucs and zucchini are being harvested every other day.


Another bit of good news is that the tomatoes are blooming and setting fruit. We are excited about that – and I am sure you can't wait for those to be on your table!


Addendum

  1. Some of our friends may remember Thomas Gibson who has worked for us the last two years. We are glad to have him join us again for a few weeks soon. Having a “seasoned field hand” is a great help.

  2. In the midst of everything going on, one regular but often overlooked task is “patching the hoses.” Farm hoses take a beating – sitting in the hot sun, being moved around, enduring the harsh low temps each winter. Because they decay over time, finding a leak is pretty common, so we keep plenty of patching materials around. It’s a common saying among farmers – “it’s easier to patch an old hose than buy a new hose.”


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