Saturday, May 31, 2014

35 Million Pounds of Compost

When I was in college I worked for a summer for a guy that fixed tractors and other kinds of heavy equipment. He prided himself on having every possible part and if he didn't have it he would get it.

Reminds me of the amount of compost at the waste to energy facility. They have all anyone could possibly need. I'm estimating a bit but looks to me like they have approximately...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, May 31, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 out door market season. We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, May 31, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Garden a Go Go

June is just around the corner and it is time to go full steam in the garden.
Photo Credit: Reed Petersen
We are well past the last frost date and the weather this week has been warm and dry, making for perfect planting conditions. We typically plant most of our tomato and pepper plants in late May and early June. There are other plants that favor being planted in pots and transferred to the garden after the weather settles.

We have about 5000 transplants ready to go, we will bring the following to market this week...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Black Gold - The Value of Compost

There should be a national compost week the first of June, where we celebrate the coming of summer by enriching our soil. You have heard of "Gold Rush" the local flea market phenomenon. Well this is a different kind of gold..."Black Gold".  (No not the Beverly Hillbillies kind either.)

Here are 10 little known benefits of compost, the "Black Gold" of the garden...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Humerous Happenings at the Rocheser Compost Pile

Compost is truly one of the many wonders of the natural world. I get 5-6 pickup loads a week so I am at the waste to energy facility in Rochester a lot. The county does an excellent job of processing leaf and grass clippings into black gold.

My fellow composters are the salt of the earth but sometimes the things they do at the compost pile in pursuit of their world class gardens just make me laugh... 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Grow Rosemary - Our Featured Herb of the Week

How to grow rosemary. Rosemary is a woody perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region.  The name Rosemary is derived from the Latin "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus) or "dew of the sea" because in many costal regions the only water it needs is the humidity of the sea breeze. It has needle shaped leaves and blue flowers. It is a member of the mint or Lamiaceae family.

Rosemary is typically started from...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, May 24, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 out door market season. We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, May 24, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Salsa - Brandywine, Cherry Tomato, Roasted Roma, Hot'n'Sweet, Jalapeno Jelly (yum)

Sweet Red Onions
Green Onions
Shallots
Sweet Spanish Onions - these babies are very sweet.
Dried egg plant (see recent blog posts on how to use and recipes)
Cipotle Smoked Peppers
Smoked Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sweet Green Onions
Dandelion Greens
Fresh Spinach
Arugula
Spring Mix
Red Russian Kale
Ruby Sweet
Cilantro
Oregano


Herb plants for this week,
  • Chives
  • French Tarragon
  • Apple Mint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • English Thyme
  • Oregano Thyme
  • Silver Posie Thyme
  • Caraway Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Epasote
Tomato Plants: Early Girl, Celebrity, Beefsteak, Roma, Sweet 100, Yellow Pear
Pepper Plants: Red Bell, Jalapeno, Habernaro, Yellow Bell

The weather is looking good Saturday. See you there.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Control Flea Beetles

Have you noticed those little pin holes in leaves of brassica plants like kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Well those are cause by tiny beetles that are no bigger than a grain of sand.We often ignore them as they don't really cause more than cosmetic damage. However, there are two excellent organic controls.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Parsnips, the Great Experiment

Many of our fellow farmers market vendors grow parsnips and I will join them for the first time this year. We grow thousands of pounds of carrots but nary a single parsnip. So why the oversight?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Best Value in Basil Plants

Early in the season we typically grow basil by scattering a pinch of basil seed in the middle of a three inch pot and when they are two or three inches tall we transfer them to a five inch pot and bring them to market. For a couple of weeks we have these multiple plant pots and then we switch over to mostly single plants five inch pots that are 4-5inches tall. So what is the best value in basil plants?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to Grow Mint Julep and Mojito Mint

How to Grow Mint Julep and Mojito Mint. By special request we have acquired starts of the  mint (Yerba Buena) used in these summer time drinks. We will have this mint all summer.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, May 17, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 out door market season. We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, May 17, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Salsa - Brandywine, Cherry Tomato, Roasted Roma, Hot'n'Sweet, Jalapeno Jelly (yum)

Crunchy Candy Carrots - these are amazing eating carrots.
Sweet Red Onions
Shallots
Sweet Spanish Onions - these babies are very sweet.
Dried egg plant (see recent blog posts on how to use and recipes)
Cipotle Smoked Peppers
Smoked Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sweet Green Onions
Dandelion Greens
Fresh Spinach

Herb plants for this week,
  • Chives
  • French Tarragon
  • Apple Mint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • English Thyme
  • Oregano Thyme
  • Silver Posie Thyme
  • Caraway Thyme
  • Cilantro
Tomato Plants: Early Girl, Celebrity, Beefsteak, Roma, Sweet 100, Yellow Pear
Pepper Plants: Red Bell, Jalapeno, Habernaro, Yellow Bell

The weather is looking good Saturday. See you there.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Serendipity in the Herb Garden

We noticed that oregano, mints, thymes and chives would come back year after year in old garden plots and around old homesteads. These were always earlier than herbs we grew and planted. Why were these established plants "way ahead" of their more domesticated cousins. Could we establish our own "persistent" or perennial herb garden.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Grow Mint - Our Featured Herb of the Week

Mint is one of the easiest of the herbs or garden plants to grow. It is extremely winter hardy. During the summer it is so aggressive that some people plant it in a large pot in the ground so it doesn't spread to the whole garden bed.

We had an extremely harsh winter and a number of people have reported that their mint did not survive the winter. So what to do...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

10 Benefits of a Micro Farm

We have 8 acres of tillable land on our farm and typically plant about 5 acres to vegetables and fruit each year.

Anything under 10 acres is a micro farm.

Here are 10 significant benefits of a micro farm...

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Radish as a Marketing Case Study

One of the gems of spring is the humble radish.

When we first started selling at the farmers market radishes were gong for 50¢ a bunch. They are way to much work to sell for that, so what we did to be able to sell more is a classic study in marketing...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to Grow Peas, The Emralds of Spring


Spring is the purview of the delicious Pea. There are snow peas, snap peas and shell peas. This post is about how to plant and grow the "Emeralds of Spring".

Friday, May 9, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 out door market season. We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, May 10, 2014. (New items are in Bold Print)

Salsa - Brandywine, Cherry Tomato, Roasted Roma, Hot'n'Sweet, Jalapeno Jelly (yum)

Crunchy Candy Carrots - these are amazing eating carrots.
Sweet Red Onions
Shallots
Sweet Spanish Onions - these babies are very sweet.
Dried egg plant (see recent blog posts on how to use and recipes)
Cipotle Smoked Peppers
Smoked Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Dandelion Greens
Fresh Spinach

Herb plants for this week,
  • Chives
  • French Tarragon
  • Apple Mint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • English Thyme
  • Oregano Thyme
  • Silver Posie Thyme
  • Caraway Thyme
  • Cilantro
Tomato Plants: Early Girl, Celebrity, Beefsteak, Roma, Sweet 100, Yellow Pear
Pepper Plants: Red Bell, Jalapeno, Habernaro, Yellow Bell

The weather is looking good Saturday. See you there.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How to Grow Cipollini Onions

Cipollini (pronounced chip-o-lee-knee) were once the province of high end restaurants and gourmet magazine. But they are becoming more common at local farmers markets. We have grown these little gems for over 10 years. We start our cipollini onions from transplants. We started planting about 3000 plants last night and will finish by the weekend (weather permitting).

Here is how we do it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Before Children There was Music, A Mothers Day Tribute for Lisa

There are common threads in marriage that transcend all others. These are typically things like our love for each other and our faith in God. One of these things in our marriage is music, not because it is more important than love or faith, but because it is part of the beautiful tapestry of our relationship and it is near to our heart.

Let me explain...

Isn't Mommy Beautiful?

"Isn't Mommy beautiful?" is one of the well repeated phrases of Dad on Mother's Day. My habitual response was to grin and nod, and repeat, "Yes. Mommy is beautiful", and secretly roll my eyes at the slight romance.

I appreciate the love my Mom shows for me daily, and am giving her a little love now. She works tirelessly trying to serve us, with no monetary compensation. Here's a poem I wrote to show some appreciation:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Reflections

We lost my father to cancer about 5 weeks ago and I know my mother is feeling the loss the most. Here are some reflections of my growing up years and the affect my mother had in our home.

It is my goal to bless her for all these memories...

Monday, May 5, 2014

10 Reasons Why Rochester Minnesota Is a Great Place to Raise a Family

Spring is in the air and people start thinking of moving and relocating. With all the talk about the Destination Medical Center (DMC), many people will be thinking of relocating here. The local papers and TV are promoting Rochester as a mecca for employment and growth.

As a long term resident, I would like to offer my list of why the Rochester area is a great place to live and raise a family.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Honor - A Mother's Day Blessing

The ten commandments says to honor our father and mother. As a husband I think this includes honoring our wife, the mother of our children. We can bring honor to them with our words as well as our actions. I know it is a week early, but if you are looking for some fresh ideas on how to honor your wife or mother for Mothers Day here are some suggestions...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How to Pick the Best Garden Vegetable Seeds

One of the rituals of spring is picking out seeds for the garden. Until you have some experiencing it is always a challenge to pick the best varieties and seed. 

Here are a few tips...


Friday, May 2, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, May 3, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 out door market season. We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, May 3, 2014. (New items are in Bold Print)

Salsa - Brandywine, Cherry Tomato, Roasted Roma, Hot'n'Sweet, Jalapeno Jelly (yum)

Crunchy Candy Carrots - these are amazing eating carrots.
Sweet Red Onions
Shallots
Sweet Spanish Onions - these babies are very sweet.
Dried egg plant (see recent blog posts)
Cipotle Smoked Peppers
Smoked Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Dandelion Greens

Herb plants for this week,
  • Chives
  • French Tarragon
  • Apple Mint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • English Thyme
  • Oregano Thyme
  • Silver Posie Thyme
  • Caraway Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
The weather is looking good Saturday. See you there.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How To Make Compost Tea

What is Compost Tea?

For all you tea lovers out there you can add compost tea to your list but you don’t drink it, you use it on your plants. 

You make compost tea by steeping compost in unclorinated water. The mixing process can be a simple as burlap bag in a bucket of water, or some very advanced tea makers use bubbling air to mix things and keep it aerobic (good microbes).  Some tea makers also add some nutrients for the microbes, typically a sugar.  

So why go to all this trouble?