Monday, June 30, 2014

What seeds can I plant for a fall garden?

What We're Planting From Seed Now On Our Organic Farm; #11 Cilantro. Credit: RJP
Along about the first of July the garden centers box up all their remaining seeds and send them back to the seed companies. But you know as a educated and well informed gardener that the season is far from over. In fact some of the best vegetables come from the fall garden.

I just got my fall seed order from Johnny's seeds in Maine. Let's talk about what you can plant from seed that will thrive in the fall.  Here is my top 10 list.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What Transplants Are We Planting Now?

I get asked occasionally if you can still plant the things we bring to market as transplants. At this time of year this would be things like broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, peas, beans, cilantro, kale and herbs. The answer is emphatically yes. We are planting what we bring.
These Are The Plants We're Currently Planting On Our Fully Organic Farm Credit: RJP

So you may ask, why don't the local garden centers still offer these same transplants. The answer is...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

10 Ways to Use Fresh Basil

Credit: RJP 10 of Our Best Uses for the Lucious Basils We Grow.There is nothing better than fresh basil. Even non-Mediterranean Minnesotans are highly attracted to this very healthy food. We sell basil during the main growing season for the same price as lettuce. What a great deal. Like many things that are good for us we love the taste of basil. Here are 10 ways to use basil:
  1. Pesto, one of the most popular. See our post on how to make your own fresh pesto.
  2. Layer a few leaves on your hamburger as you grill or serve. Also looks great.
  3. Pizza sauce. chop finely and add 1/2 cup to your favorite sauce. Also is good with a white sauce.
  4. Pasta sauce. Add 1 cup finely chopped to your favorite sauce.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Market Menu for June 28, 2014

With the July 4th Holiday next week we will have lots of folks stocking up for their holiday entertaining needs. Reed says the Walla Walla onions are going to be ready and we will bring the first harvest of many weeks to come. Yum, I can't wait.

Jenna picked two tubs of beautiful baby Kale this week. We have been running out towards the end of the market the last few weeks, we hope to have that remedied this week. As a fun side note, I planted a bed to Lacino (dinosaur) Kale a couple of week ago. We are going to try this as a baby cut Kale and it will be ready by next weekend. This is one of the more tender kale leaves and should be really amazing as a baby cut green.

As we pass through the longest days of the year, the garden plants are working overtime and many are doubling in size weekly. Jenna says we will have some fresh basil and mint this week. We just transplanted it to the field two weeks ago and the nearly ideal conditions of warmth, rain and long days mean we can start harvesting already.

We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, June 21, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Should You Use a Scale?

How Is The Scale Weighing In? Good or Bad? Photo Credit: Reed Petersen
It almost seems like we have always sold certain crops like garlic, shallots and onions by weight, but there was a time before we got our scale when we sold by volume only.

It seems more equitable for both parties to sell by weight, especially when various vegetables vary a lot in size.

The effect on sales was...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Favorite Tomato

The Vegetable Freak Staff's Favorite Tomato Varities. Photo Credit: Reed J Petersen.
My favorite tomato is the heirloom Brandywine followed closely by the shorter season Pruden's Purple.

As a farmer you might think I am partial to these two tomatoes because of their superior disease resistance (I pick many varieties because of this). Or maybe outstanding yields, that is another selection criteria for some of our vegetables.

But these are my favorite tomatoes because of only one thing. It is...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What Happens When It Rains 4 Inches in Three Days

We had 4 inches of rain in three days last week and had another 1/2 inch of rain this afternoon. I have had quite a few people ask me if we have had a lot of erosion, standing water or flooding. Well frankly we have had none of these issue and here is why:
With All Of This Persistent Rain, We Had To Explain... Photo Credit: RJ Petersen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Three Dimensional Growing Vegetables in Pots

Did you know there is an easy way to grow garden plants in pots in a space saving three dimensions...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Growing Great Garlic

Growing Great Garlic is the definitive source of organic garlic wisdom. The author Ron England is the owner of Filaree Garlic Farm in Okanogan, Washington. I got some of my early garlic starts from Filaree and they have been adapted to the Minnesota climate over several seasons.

Next week we will start our garlic season with...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, June 21, 2014

After some much needed rain earlier in the week we have a great menu for this week. With the June warmth and rain things are really popping in the garden. Many of the garden plants are doubling in size every week. We are getting close to the end of June and the longest days of the year.

The onions and garlic are starting to bulb. We will have garlic scrapes for the first time this week. Check out Jenna's great selection of mints.

We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, June 21, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Techinques for Watering Vegetable Plants in Pots

Learn how exactly we water our plants and keep them looking healthy. Photo Credit: Reed.
There are several approaches for watering plants in pots depending on the number and size...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What is the Optimum Amount of Sunlight for Vegetables in Pots

Part sun or full sun for plants in pots? Find out in this post... Photo Credit: Reed
The amount of day light available to your potted vegetables will determine the growth rate. What is the ideal amount?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Plants That Do Well Together in Pots

This post covers which plants go well in a pot together! Photo Credit: Reed Petersen.There are a number of combinations of garden plants that do well together in pots. Here are 10 combinations:
  1. Sunflower, squash and peas. Similar to the three sisters that were planted by the native Americas when the Europeans first settled in America.
  2. Two peppers do well in pots. They also do well planted together in the garden.
  3. Combinations of herbs, such as Basil, Rosemary and Thyme.
  4. Edible flowers such as pansies work well with shorter herbs.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Characteristics of a Good Farm Father

A good farm father has some unique characteristics that most of us could learn from. In honor of all those farm fathers here is my top ten list...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

How to Grow Peppers in Pots

Peppers work well in pots. They are more appropriately sized to 3-5 gallon pots. One of the secrets to great yields is...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Market Menu for Saturday, June 14, 2014

Welcome to June of the 2014 out door market season. We are well beyond the last frost date and it is time to get those last tomato and pepper plants in the ground. Basil, Tomatoes and Peppers love this weather. Worm farms are back for the second week.  We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, June 14, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots

Patio Tomatoes: These tomatoes can grow in the pot all season. Photo: Reed PetersenTomatoes are one of the most frequent vegetables to be grown in pots. There are a number of factors to consider in selection of the type of tomatoes, pots and growing medium. An essential ingredient...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Enrichment of Adversity

Adversity, difficulty, failure, stress are typically viewed by our culture as negative. If  I take a tomato plant when it has just its first set of true leaves and put it outside in the Minnesota spring weather where it is exposed to the sun, wind and rain. We end up with this wonderful stocky plant that is almost bullet proof to the weather and wind.
A job doesn't detract from an eduction, it adds!
In the same way, if our education system, creates a challenging environment for our students where they are caused to overcome failure, grow, and handle an appropriate amount of stress. Then we end of with a resilient, sturdy and nearly bullet proof citizen, who is ready to be a productive member of society.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hunting for Truth, Beauty and Goodness

The elusive Morel mushroom is the gem of the spring forest floor. There is nothing better than Morels sauted in butter. You can't cultivate them. they just show up. But there is a time and place where they can be found. The experience forager knows where to look to increase the odds of finding these delectable treasures.
Elusive Morel Mushroom. Reed Petersen.
Elusive Morel Mushroom. Reed Petersen.

In the same way the High School graduate from Schaffer Academy has been trained to know where to look for...;

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Card

Jenna and I were at Think Bank, Friday, after she helped me shovel a load of compost. She was depositing her graduation money and the teller was just making small talk. She asked Jenna where she was going to school and if she was excited about it.

Then the conversation turned to "the card" and it is interesting what Jenna's reaction was...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Look in the Mirror - Graduation

GET BACK, BEHAVE, LAY DOWN, STOP IT, said a "stage whispered" little girl voice, which greeted Lisa and I one June morning at 5:00 am.

Upon investigation I found a three year old Jenna standing on the counter in the bathroom in front of the mirror working on her hair which had suffered some set-backs during the night in bed.

15 years later...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ten Reasons Why Day Length Is Important

Right now sunrise is at 5:28 am and sunset is at 8:51 pm here is Rochester, Minnesota. I am writing this at 4:30 am on Friday so it is still pretty dark outside. I like to rise early and Friday's are my day for a men's small group at our church. So the coffee is on and I am listening to some Hillsong tunes on YouTube.

Day Length Illustrated in this Picture, Taken at 8:00PM in April. Photo Credit: Reed Petersen
Day Length Illustrated in this Picture, Taken at About 8:00PM in April. Photo Credit: Reed Petersen
Right now the day length is approximately 15 hours and 21 minutes. In about three weeks we will top out at nearly 16 hours during the spring/summer solstice. Other than if you are a morning person "like me" or like to work in the garden until bed time "like me" (feels like double dipping this time of year) why should you care...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Market Menu for June 7, 2014

Welcome to June of the 2014 out door market season. We are well beyond the last frost date and it is time to get those last tomato and pepper plants in the ground. Basil & Okra love this weather. Worm farms are back this week.  We will have the following items at the Farmers Market for Saturday, June 7, 2014 (New items are in Bold Print)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What is a Worm Farm

Have you heard of an ant farm. A worm farm is similar. It consists of...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Worm Farms Are Back

We had a very severe winter and many of the adult Red Wigglers didn't make it. So we have been waiting for the new hatchlings to grow bigger before offering Worm Farms at the farmers market.

Well good news...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Do We Do With All That Compost (With Time Lapse Video)

We are very creative about the use of one of the most amazing resources in Rochester.

So just what do we do with all that compost...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ideas for Marketing More Compost

One of the folks that worked at the waste-to-energy facility asked me for some ideas on how they could better serve their customers and how they could sell more compost. They were getting quite a pile of inventory.

I'm one of the biggest advocates for compost from the waste-to-energy facility. I'm sure we send several hundred folks to get compost each year in the course of our work at the farmers market and talking to fellow growers.

Here are 26 ideas for an even bigger success...