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Spring is in the air, and everywhere you see helpful garden planting memes (graphic pictures and text with quick easy to digest visuals) that really aren’t all that helpful, and sometimes are flat out wrong. So I’ve recently made my own “when to plant your veggies” meme (see bottom of post). Read the rest of this entry »
Wow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
When a farmer says corn, no doubt the first thing that comes into your head is sweet corn, dripping with butter, maybe hot off the grill. I know that’s what I think of. But corn has a long and fascinating history. Corn is thought to have been domesticated at least 7,000 years ago, somewhere in central Mexico, from a wild grass called Teosinte. Modern day corn is a plant that literally can not survive without human input, as it needs to be planted and harvested by us in order to continue. It is (or was) a crop with huge genetic diversity. The US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa holds 19,780 different samples or “accessions” of corn from around the world. Read the rest of this entry »
So, the Saturday downtown farmers market started April 30th, and I’ve started attending the Pendleton market on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings of the month, starting May 13th. Both have been very successful so far. May is always a good month for markets! Come down and see me. Read the rest of this entry »
I love April. It seems every day I go out and find new things to marvel at, from ducklings that seem to double in size overnight, to new plums starting to form on the plum tree, to lilacs filling the air with their heady scent. There are future harvests everywhere!
Just a quick post about some carrot taste testing we did this year. I had a whole bunch of carrot seed left over from last year, and because I hadn’t had great germination last year, and had decided just to use the seed up, not expecting much to come up, I used my seeding wheel to plant them in 5 rows, one for each variety. Carrot germination is all about the correct soil temperature (not too hot, not too cold) and adequate moisture. The seed is small, needs to be planted fairly shallow, and dries out easily. It’s difficult to get a high germination rate, even using all the best tricks. Not expecting much, I planted about 250 ft of carrots (five 50 ft rows). The varieties were Danvers Half Longs, Nelson (pelleted in little clay balls for ease of planting), Yaya, Scarlet Nantes and Atomic Red. I happened to plant at the perfect time in mid April, right before we got a period of light rains and overcast days that didn’t dry out the soil quickly, and I had excellent germination on everything but the Nelson. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been on a search for the perfect 8 oz tomato. I grow a lot of lovely heirlooms. German Pink, Dester, Stripped German. Beautiful, huge tomatoes. Some well over 1 lb. But not everyone at market wants to pay $3 or more for ONE tomato. So I’ve been looking for a medium sized red tomato with excellent flavor. What I really want is a red version of Valencia, which is a fantastic yellow/orange heirloom that I’ve been growing for the last two years. Read the rest of this entry »
So, the larger your garden, the more weeds, right? I have a large garden, but I don’t own a tractor, so I still tend to plant more along the lines of the square foot gardening method rather than the traditional “x spacing between each plant, x spacing between each row”. Those back of the seed package guidelines, by the way, are based on spacing if you DO have a tractor. I can get a lot more plants into a lot smaller space this way, which makes my life easier and gives us more pasture for sheep forage as well. Read the rest of this entry »
I used to just buy bags of potting soil at the big box stores. Then I graduated to starting my own seeds, and had to search high and low for “seed starting mix”, which is finer grained than “potting mix” and less common. Then I started to really get serious about seed starting (I currently have about 50 flats of seedlings in my greenhouse) and buying seed starting mix just wasn’t a financial option any more. Read the rest of this entry »
What gardener doesn’t live for the warm season crops? The squash, the corn, the peppers, and of course, swoon, the tomatoes. As we work our way through the 2nd week of December, and approach the shortest day of the year on December 21st, I dream of the summer just past and the summer to come. Here’s what worked, and what didn’t, for me in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »