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Archive for the ‘Creatures’ Category

Fall has arrived but it seems the weather has decided that we need more Summer and I’m happy about that.

By September we see what experiments and new techniques have failed or succeeded in the gardens.

Big failures were Cucumbers, Squash, and Melons. The companion planting technique of growing radishes nearby didn’t stop the voracious appetite of the Cucumber Beetle, not even a little. Without a Winter-kill these insects have HIGH numbers and they not only munch on blossoms (so that fruit doesn’t set) but they also eat tender fruits. Cucumber beetles enjoy the whole Cucurbit family which includes Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, and Melons like Cantaloupes. The Squash Vine Borers put the nail in the coffin of any hope of having Squash and Pumpkins this year. It seems that the best strategy will be to not grow any of these crops for a number of years in order to discourage the insects by not giving them their favourite foods to eat.

It was also a bad year for Watermelons and a sad year for us as we grew out the last of the seeds that Farmer Faenin has been saving for 8 years. Not sure what happened with the Watermelons – raised bed, too much shade, not enough water, something else? – but they were a failure.

Fortunately other techniques and crops worked out very well.

These Marigolds successfully kept away insects from the Pole Bean seed crop.

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Alyssum made a wonderful companion in many beds, to many veggies.

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This was the first year that Tomatoes and Peppers were grown in the raised beds and at first I was skeptical that they would turn out due to the high nitrogen in the beds (which encourages leafy growth and discourages fruit production). I was very pleasantly wrong!

The Sweet Peppers were a bumper crop again this year! They love the heat and don’t mind not getting rained on!

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We theorized that we wouldn’t have many Hornworms this year, as the Tomatoes were planted quite far away from any place they’ve been planted ever, but they arrived anyway. It wouldn’t be Summer without a pic of these creatures.

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The Tomato plants and fruits were the largest we’ve ever seen. Tomatoes that should have been on the smaller size were as large as any other Beefsteak. Some grew like Tree trunks!

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In Fall we see new blossoms and new blooms.

From the Wild Area….

Some unknown flowers

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Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)

This wildflower has really taken off and spread despite 2 years of drought.

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Colourful Yarrow still producing blooms. Two different colours on the same stalk.

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There are many new creatures, and food for the creatures.

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The Lemon Balm is also thriving despite 2 droughts and getting frost-bitten in April.

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Hummingbirds enjoy visiting this Nasturtium Forest.

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Fennel is planted as a host plant (food source) for Swallowtails and a late season treat for humans.

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Fennel fronds are beautiful and tasty.

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Behind the Fennel you can see a small “tunnel”, it’s a way to protect crops from insects but also from frost. We have a small patch of Red Cabbage, Napa Cabbage, and Cauliflower that we’ll be harvesting and eating in to November.

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Can’t get enough of the Praying Mantis. This female is in her Fall colour and looking for a suitable place to lay her eggs.

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From the Veggie-Table….

Our beautiful Garlic can’t be beat, be sure to stock up and get bulk amounts to last until next June!

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Farmer Andrea having fun with Peppers …. “Hello, Operator? These Peppers are off the hook!”

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Despite what heat alerts say, Fall has indeed arrived and we are getting less and less Sunlight every day …. There’s something about Fall shadows ….

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Monarda (Bee Balm) in Fall colours.

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Yarrow flowers in Fall colours.

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Soft and fuzzy Yarrow leaves.

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My last chance to get dirty and enjoy the heat before Winter sets in …

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June has come and gone too quickly. The rain has mostly missed us, besides a few gentle showers. Every day it looks like it will rain but the gardens are so very thirsty. Others who live not far from here are experiencing the opposite. We do our best to be adaptable to whatever the weather brings.

Farmer Andrea started the CSA this month, here are some highlights …

Veg-Head Andrea

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Garlic Scapes, Peas, Lettuce, very HOT days

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Photos by Andrea Nickerson

The most beautiful Kohlrabi I’ve ever seen, ‘Azur Star‘, pictures cannot do it justice.

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

Market Set-up for Week 1 of fresh, local produce

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

The Farm Toddler helping with the Garlic Scape harvest + cleaning

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

Andrea also took some beautiful panoramic pictures of the raised beds …

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Our family gardens are coming along nicely. We’ve eaten our fill of pea shoots and sugar snap peas and are leaving the plants as a seed crop. We’ve also been collecting onion seeds. We found this beautiful surprise in our ‘Rattlesnake‘ Pole Beans, little leaves that resemble the seeds and bean pods …

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A look at our Pole Bean bed, using a re-purposed swing set, with marigolds as a companion plant to deter bean beetles …

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And the view from the other end of the bed …

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Most of the beans in this bed will be a seed crop as we need to grow out the ‘Trail of Tears‘ beans we started saving in 2008, and we’re starting to save the seeds from other varieties so we have seeds that are regionally-adapted. Beans are the perfect starter seed-saving crop as they’re super easy to save.

A teeny tiny Lunchbox Pepper on a tiny little plant …

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A new favourite, an heirloom Lettuce “Grandma Hadley” from Seed Savers Exchange

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Another example of companion planting that Rashel has wanted to try for many years, but couldn’t make feasible on a larger scale, is using radishes as a trap crop to protect Cucumbers from flea beetles, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. The radishes will be left to go to seed and be another seed crop.

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In the trellised Cucumber bed we’ve also planted Lettuce as a companion but there were these beautiful “weeds” – 2 Sunflowers and a blooming Cilantro – that we decided to leave in the bed because they were just too nice to pull out.

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While we’ve seen many Insect friends – especially a variety of Swallowtails – we only got this one picture is a newly hatched Praying Mantis.

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We’ve had our first Lavender blossom harvest of the season …

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A medicinal plant harvest of Yarrow, Wormwood, Bergamot, St. John’s Wort, Red Clover, Plantain, and Comfrey. Most of these will be dried for later use and some will be infused in oil for later use. All but the Comfrey have come from the new wild area Rashel started in 2016.

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We are harvesting Chamomile and Calendula every couple of days, and dehydrating them to use later in teas and salves. In honour of the Summer Solstice why not try some of these recipes using a variety of edible blossoms ~ Sweet Magic: Honey Cookies

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Farmer Andrea has been busy this Spring getting ready for the 2017 CSA + Market Season! Spreadsheets, Seed Catalogues, Sterilizing Seedling Trays, SEEDS, Planting, all part of the Farm Lyfe.

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson + rashel t

Seedlings Indoors …

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson + rashel t

Seedlings Outdoors …

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson

Over-wintered and self-seeded Spring surprises …

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Scallions, Gorgeous Lettuces that popped up in beds, outside of beds, gorgeous Lettuce everywhere! Photo credit: rashel t.

Every year we let a couple of broody Hens hatch out a clutch of eggs. We don’t purposely breed them so they become Tremblay Farm Mixies. Farm child Oddy wanted to make sure we had some new chicks this season and Farmer Mike (Pepe) helped get them all set up before his major heart surgery this Spring.

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These Mamas are very protective of their babies. Here they are showing their newly hatched offspring how to scratch and forage for grains and seeds. After eating very little while incubating their eggs these Mamas are ravenous! Photo credit rashel t.

 

Interesting things found around the farm in May …

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Wallflower, ancient Pear Tree covered in blossoms, Wild Ginger, Fungus, Lilac, Chives with Busy Bees, Kildeer eggs, Scat, Insect Eggs. Photo credit: rashel t.

While Farmer Rashel is taking a break from Market Gardening they are turning their focus towards creating and maintaining a new Wild Space in an awkward part of the farm. This will serve as an Insectary (habitat) for beneficial insects + pollinators, as well as a space for Medicinal Plants. The focus is primarily on Indigenous Perennials and self-seeding annuals with the goal of having the space be self-sufficient and diverse, as well as a place to learn from and harvest medicines.

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Plantain infusing in oil, Chamomile, Nettles. Photo credit: rashel t.

This blog will have a different focus in 2017. Instead of being a weekly round-up of farm happenings and seasonal veggies it will be a monthly update of interesting things found around the farm, musings on gardening with children, current experimentations in permaculture and sustainable ecological food growing.

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Our “little” garden this year – only 15 4×18 ft beds – and our new little helper. Toddler S is a natural forager! Photo credit: rashel t.

More fun around the farm in May …

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The big farm children take the toddler on adventures, pea shoot snacks, plants in flower / seed saving, rainbow, potatoes planted by Rashel + Toddler S in an experimental hay bale bed, carrots, flooding. Photo credit: Mike Tremblay, rashel t.

Unsurprisingly Rashel’s favourite bed is the most diverse one. Lettuce self-seeded, Parsley over-wintered, Sunflowers showed up, and Rashel didn’t want to remove anything so they planted seedlings in the available spaces. Trying out Celeriac + storage Kohlrabi for the first time. Also planted Collards, Brussel Sprouts, and Radnips.

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Photo credit: rashel t

A new experiment this year is Trench Composting. This bed was in need of remediation so it was the perfect first experiment. A trench was dug out of the middle of the bed and in it’s place we placed unfinished compost and seaweed. Various squashes have been planted in to the middle where the compost is. If this is successful we will do a variation on this in years to come. Each year one third of a bed will be dug out and composting materials thrown in as the season progresses. The following year we will plant on top of the trench, rotating which area gets the compost from year to year.

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Photo credit: rashel t

We are also experimenting with more Companion Planting, with plants in closer quarters in our 4 by 18 foot raised beds. Some friends include: Peas + Carrots with Lettuce; Cucumbers + Squash with Radishes + Beans; Alyssum all over but especially near Lettuces; Garlic + Tomatoes with Basil; Marigolds + Pole Beans.

Looking forward to sharing more Cute Creatures, Garden Stories, and Farm Lyfe with everyone 🙂

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Newly hatched Praying Mantis in a pot of Succulents. Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson.

 

 

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Today, Friday August 5th, was yet another “heat alert” in our area. But when it’s harvesting day we have to work, no matter the weather. We take more breaks, drink more water, and take cold hose showers, but we still suffer the side effects of dehydration. On most days even a simple walk down a row of Tomatoes leaves us covered in sweat. This unending heat wave would be more bearable if we weren’t also in extreme drought conditions. But, we must harvest to meet our commitments to our dear members. And we hope that you, dear members, understand that we might not harvest as much, and that our crops are also suffering from the weather conditions.

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How we feel: as slow as a snail and desperately looking for water.

We also feel like Squidget ….

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Reposted from Andrea N’s Instagram: “Oh the life of a farm cat. This expert hunter is relaxing in the shade after a job well done. She was very proud of herself this morning by showing off her bounty before snuggling in for her afternoon siesta.”

This snake was also looking for shade and water and knew that the lettuce is the best place to find both …

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I hope the newest members of the farm survive the heat ….

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We are pleased to be offering a very special and unique calendar again this year. Photographs and descriptions by Naturalist and Blogger P. Allen Woodliffe, the 2017 calendars highlight the wonders and beauty of Rondeau Provincial Park. Calendars are always available at our on-farm market and will soon find their way to our ShopEco market tables as well. There are limited numbers of these calendars printed so get yours before we sell out! If you pick up at ShopEco you can ask us to bring one in for you! To find out more about Allen and about the calendars check out his website ~ http://pawsnaturenuggets.blogspot.ca/2016/05/rondeaunaturally-photos.html

A few of the photographic highlights ….

 

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Prothonotary Warbler, May '15, 8acrp.JPG

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Now on to the veggies available this week! Including the VEGGIE OF THE WEEK – FENNEL!

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There are many ways to enjoy Fennel including: using the fronds in salads or in pesto; grilling the bulbs on the barbeque; Apple Fennel Slaw; Soups, Pasta, Salads; 15 Fab Fennel Recipes from Canadian Living; and Martha Stewart’s take on this delectable herb. This delightful herb is a favourite of the farm children as a “passing-by snack”. Fennel is also very good for the digestive system, soothing sore tummies and colicky babies, as well as a great natural way to boost milk production in breastfeeding mothers (in honour of World Breastfeeding Week going on now!). If you’re not sure you’ll like the anise/licorice flavour just sample a small bit of the frond and see if the sweet flavour appeals to your palate. We’ll be selling this as whole bulbs with fronds as well as bunches of fronds.

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Eat The Rainbow!

Other veggies this week include: Heirloom Cherry ‘Candy’ Tomatoes + Beefsteak / Slicers (these are still slow coming on as we had several delays that were out of our control); Sweet Peppers (we’ve had weather + insect pressure that have made many of our early peppers unappealing and instead of throwing them all out we’ve discounted them from $8/lb to $1/lb); Hot Peppers (must be pre-ordered and they are VERY HOT); Kale + Chard; Salad Mix is back!; Scallions; Garlic (cured + fresh); hand-picked, heirloom, multi-coloured Snap Beans (for raw snacks but also for light cooking); Eggplant; Summer Squash (Again this year, what should be a reliable producer, has taken a hit. Striped Cucumber Beetles aka Fornicating F******, after a mild Winter, have attacked our Summer Squash seedlings, blossoms, and fruit.); Broccoli; Savoy Cabbage; fresh herbs such as Mint, Basil, and Sorrel; Kohlrabi; and fresh flowers (including Sunflowers).

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A few quick notes before we bid you all a most wonderful and delicious week …

We are planning an Heirloom Tomato Taste-Testing Day during a farm market in late August so please keep an eye on our Facebook page for event details. There will be a large variety of Heirloom Tomatoes available to taste and to rate and we’ll announce the winners at the end of the market (and online). This event may coincide with a Tomato Canning event for those of you interested in learning how to preserve the bounty and in making your own sauce to make Summer’s goodness last all Winter long. We’ll be taking orders for bulk tomatoes (hampers) in the next few weeks once the harvest is plentiful. Bulk garlic is also available by special request. If you are a member using the credit system you can order any veggie we have in large quantities and apply it to your credit, please let us know if you’re interested!

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We are praising the Sun and it’s heat, and the Rain and it’s moisture, for providing us with an abundant harvest on Week 10 of the season!

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Lettuce in Flower, the face of the Sun

VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS GARLIC!!!

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We are finally able to offer our sought-after GARLIC in large quantities and to the public!!!

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Garlic hanging to dry and cure

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From last week’s market table

Garlic is a must for every meal in our house, it isn’t a meal without Garlic! The variety we grow is called Music and it thrives in our rich soil.

New this week is our much loved mix of fresh snap Beans, folks who’ve tried our mixes ask for them year after year. They include Dragon, Tongue of Fire, Rattlesnake, Blu Jay, Amethyst, as well as a variety of red, yellow, and green beans.

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Also new this week (in limited quantities, for now) – Candy Tomatoes!

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On our market tables this week we’ll also have: Red Cabbage and Cabbage Leaves, Chinese (Napa) Cabbage, Spaghetti Squash + Sweet Dumpling Squash, Mini-Cumcumbers, Mushrooms, Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Scallions, Grape Leaves, Rainbow Leafies, Kohlrabi (limited), Fennel, Basil and other fresh herbs, Broccoli, and small amounts of Beets.

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Week 10 is looking fabulous!

From around the farm this week …

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Polyphemus Moth

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Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

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Baby Ants, newly hatching from their nest under a Tree.

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The farm children were quite surprised with the Cucumbers they’ve been growing in their own personal garden! These were shared and enjoyed with all our neighbourhood children.

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A little bit of housekeeping – Before the season began we intended to have a “swap box” so that folks could swap a veggie they don’t like for one they will enjoy. If you have a pre-packaged bag and you get something you won’t use please feel free free to swap it out for an item of equal value from the market table. If you’re on the “market shares” program please feel free to swap out a fixed veggies from the list for something of equal value from the market table. We want everyone to be happy with the veggies they receive each week *smile*

VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS ….. ALLIUMS!

From Wikipedia, “Allium is a genus of monocotyledonous flowering plants that includes the cultivated onion, garlic, scallion, shallot and leek as well as chives and hundreds of other wild species.”

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Perennial Onions also known as Egyptian Onions and Walking Onions

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The Farm Children are comparing their Onion picks.

While not all Alliums are included in this week’s shares we will have plenty of Scallions (purple + white), whole Chives (they’re almost identical to Scallions), and Perennial Onions (the whole plant is edible – bulb, stem, and bulbils on the tops). The Allium family is among the most healthy of all plants, more info on the benefits from The Wonderful World of Alliums.

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Scallions, whole Chives, bunch of Chinese Cabbage , Rainbow Leafies, Grape Leaves, Peas, Radnips, Rainbow Radishes, Wild Rainbow Salad Mix, Allium Bulbils.

New this week: we’ll have whole grape leaves that can be used to make traditional dishes like Dolma and other stuffed grape leave tasties. They can also be used as a part of a green smoothie mix. The peas are pretty much petered out for the season but we’ve got new plantings of Radnips and Radishes that are wowing us! There won’t be mushrooms available for the next 2 weeks.

On Facebook we posted and interesting link to a map that shows where most of our food originates from. If you love food, plants, history, and geography this is a great resource! You can find it at NPR.org.

We also came across this great resource from Epicurious – A Visual Guide to Cooking Greens (we’ve added this to the Veggies! page).

Don’t forget that we’ve got Jackie from Another Way at the farm this Saturday June 2nd doing complimentary Angel Card Readings!

We’ll leave you with pictures from around the farm this week …. enjoy!

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This broody hen hatched out several baby chicks!

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Coming soon!

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Red Cabbage beds

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An Heirloom Cherry Tomato called 42 Days, these wonders will be ready in a few short weeks!

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Collected the dried up seed pods from a large variety of Kale plants that successfully overwintered. Now we’ve got our own regionally-adapted Kale seeds!

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Strange and mysterious “eggs” found on an Onion plant. Anyone know what this is? Friend or Foe?

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A Farm Child took these pictures of Mushrooms growing in a Lettuce bed and is curious about what kind they are …. any ideas?

 

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Happy Summer Solstice ~ a most beautiful time of the year!

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A wonderful day was spent last Saturday at our first foraging walk of the year. Many thanks to Wheatley Woods for coming out with fruiting plants for sale, we’re grateful for them and for all the new and familiar faces who came to the walk!

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Farm Market on Saturday June 18th

We love when children come along to the farm …

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Fun for everyone!

Thank you to Susan Platsko for sharing the pictures she took at the foraging walk …

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Wild grapes; Tandem bike with Mugwort; Market Table; Red Mulberry; Pawpaw Tree; Gooseberry; unripe Juniper Berries; Feasting on Serviceberies.

VEGGIE OF THE WEEK …….

PEAS !!!

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Hanging out, like an earring.

 

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Two sweetie-pies in a pod, snuggling.

And these beauties … because if it comes in purple, we will grow it 😉

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Royal Snow from Johnny’s Seeds

There is something about peas that makes for a lot of inappropriate jokes. We call this #lifewithyoungboys and we’ll leave that up to your imagination …. but we did manage to find a few we can share …

Q: What do vegetables wish for, more than anything else in the whole world?
A: Peas (peace) on earth!
Q: Why do vegetables want that so much?
A: Because it will give them peas (piece) of mind!
Q: What do you get when two peas fight?
A: Black-eyed peas

We mostly grow Sugar Snap Peas but also some Snow Peas and the Purple Peas. Peas are available for a short time only so now is the time to get your fill of these super sweet, crunchy, family-favourite snacks!

We’ll be running out of Garlic Scapes soon and wanted to share a member recipe from Facebook for a lovely Scape Pesto, from Stephanie Fisico: Plant Based Wellness Coach ~

“T’is the season for garlic scapes (!!!) and tonight’s Monday Night Recipe Feature is a super quick and super easy garlic scape pesto that pairs well with pasta, crostini, crackers, or anywhere else you would like to use it (sandwich/wrap spread, perhaps?)

I had fun just tossing ingredients into the food processor and taste-testing along the way until I had achieved my desired flavours and consistency. As such, I do not have a perfectly precise recipe for you but here is an approximation – have fun adjusting it to meet your own preferences!

(p.s. my delicious garlic scapes were grown with love by Locally Germinated: a farmer’s cooperative !)

Fresh Garlic Scape Pesto

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of cashews
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
7-8 garlic scapes, chopped into pieces
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Handful of baby spinach
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a food processor until you achieve a crumbled texture. Scoop out 1-2 tbsp and set aside to use as garnish.

Add remaining ingredients and process until relatively smooth.

Serve over pasta (pictured) with leftover cashew Parmesan as garnish or use as a dip or spread.”

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Garlic Scapes, Peas, Rainbow Leafies, Cilantro, Scallions, Radnips, Fresh Flower Bouquet, Rainbow Radishes, Salad Mix. Picture by Andrea Nickerson.

Other veggies available this week include: Rainbow Leafies (Kale + Chard), Fresh Herbs (the last of the Cilantro), Scallions, Rainbow Radishes, Radnips (the last for a couple of weeks), Salad Mix, Portabello Mushrooms + Button Mushrooms. We are now offering small amounts of Green Smoothie Mix and will highlight some of the wild edibles in these mixes and how to use them in a future post. If you’re struggling with how to store and eat leafy greens this is a good post from Nutrition Studies.

This coming Saturday we’re holding a foraging walk at the farm from 1 – 2:30 and there are deeeeeelicious red mulberries at their peak of sweetness! A green smoothie will be available at the end of the walk. We’re also pleased to welcome Tilbury native Wendy Rose for a “Ask A Nutritionist” booth at the farm from 11 – 1 on Saturday. This is a free event, find out more about the event and about Wendy Rose on the Facebook event page.12715668_1704469386438055_2495647984793201048_n.jpg

Another event we have coming up on July 2nd is Angel Card Readings with Jackie of Another Way. “Angel cards are a fun and positive way to connect with your Angels, Source and Guides. Angel cards offer gentle loving guidance. They are a wonderful way to bridge the gap between what is going on in your life and angelic guidance and assistance. Jackie will bring several decks so you can choose a deck that feels best to you or she will choose a deck intuitively. Ask a question or ask for guidance. She will draw you a card or two to bring you angelic guidance.” Find out more on the Facebook event page.

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Around the farm this week we’ve been busy planting more veggies, replacing some dead seedlings, fighting with cucumber beetles (who are voracious fornicators and squash eaters), and watering, watering, watering. It looks like cabbage will be ready soon and we’re excited for that! We’ll leave you with a friend who was watching us work this week.

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How do frogs send messages? Morse Toad.

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