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Archive for the ‘Farm Life’ Category

Some highlights of our gardening adventures in July

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A mid-July harvest of Kale, Collards, Radnips, Carrots, Beans, and Romaine Lettuce.

Happy Smiling Sunflowers.

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

Farmer Andrea’s Kales are Trees.

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Farmer Andrea’s Companion Planting of Beets and Broccoli is thriving.

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The heat of Summer brings on goodies like Tomatoes (variety: Bosche Blue), Eggplant, Summer Squash (Zucchini + Patty Pan), Winter Squash (like this Acorn Squash), and Watermelon.

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Farmer Faenin is proud of how large his Onions are, these are early ones.

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A Pear Tree planted for baby Lennon 17 years ago has it’s first Red Pear; a lovely Butterfly is sipping sweet juice from rotting fruit.

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‘Seal’ Lavender throwing up the largest spears of all our varieties.

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First time growing Wild Tobacco, for ceremonial purposes.

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View of perennial beds of Sorrel, Onions (for seed), Chamomile, Plantain, Calendula, Horseradish, Chives, Strawberries, Asparagus, and Raspberries, with some Ground Cherries thrown in.

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One of only a few successful Cucumbers.

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It might be time to stop trying to grow Cucumbers outdoors. Between the insects and the mildew it’s a whole lot of work for nothing most years. We keep on trying because we love the taste of field Cukes in varieties not found in any store.

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July is Garlic harvesting, and hanging to dry time. Many thanks to Paul + Andy for getting most of these beauties out of the field.

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pretty little garlic all in a row

Farmer Andrea’s mom came to visit and they harvested some monster Kale!

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Farmer Andrea also introduced the Veggie-Table. Held outside an art studio she shares with her partner, they are bringing Fresh, Local Veggies + Art to downtown Tilbury.

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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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We picked so many Beans on Tuesday that all we could see when we closed our eyes was Beans …. and that’s a lot of Beans! We made some canned dilly beans, froze some, all to our heart’s content but still harvested close to 150 lbs of Beans this past week. And there’s more to come!

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Lennon bringing in the Bean harvest

Since Beans have already been veggie of the week (and we don’t see the point in duplication for a simple and well-known veggie) we’ve decided to feature ….

Watermelons and Cantaloupes!

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We thought they were all dead but we’re still picking a few more every week and will be until there is a frost. The most productive Watermelons have been Blacktail Mountain, Cream of Saskatchewan, and Baby Doll. The most productive Cantaloupe has been Oka (which has personal family significance and great Canadian historical significance).

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‘Oka’

Tomatoes are still looking beautiful these days ….

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Striped German, Nebraska Wedding, Bosque Blue, Oxheart, and more.

We now have Sun-dried Tomatoes available for sale, superb snacks! Those who’ve tried them can’t put them down, something like healthy chips 😉 We also now have Ghost Peppers for sale until the frost hits. We’re going to try pickling some this weekend!

Other veggies available this week include: Kale + Chard, Salad Mix, a variety of fresh herbs, Sweet Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Scallions, Garlic, and some surprises.

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Salad Mix

A note for farm members – we are open at the farm, rain or shine; starting next Monday Morris Rd will be closed as crews do work on the bridge, we’ll post details for the detour next week.

One of our CSA members has started a new business called Trust Our Gut, check them out on Facebook. They use all organic ingredients in their bone broths, including veggies from the Locally Germinated farm.

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This week they got all the Celery tops that others didn’t want, great way to share the bounty!

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We’re offering dig-your-own Maple Trees from the farm for $5 a Tree, dig as many as you can. Fall is the perfect time to plant Trees and these have been generously fertilized by our pastured chickens. Available until October.

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Until next week …

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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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Veggie of the Week: Grape Leaves

Strange choice, we know, but the farm children were adamant that they wanted to pick these for everyone, even after we told them that would mean harvesting over 500 leaves! It might be because they miss the fantastic Lebanese restaurants in Windsor that serve variations on Stuffed Grape Leaves.

Q: Why did the grape stop in the middle of the road?

A: It ran out of juice!

Nutritional Benefits include being a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Maganese. For the full  “nutrition facts” check out this full profile from Self.

You can add them to Green Smoothies, use them as wraps, or add them to a salad.

You can make any of these variations on Stuffed Grape/Vine Leaves: Vegetarian Stuffed, with instructions on preparing fresh and raw leaves (Lebanese style), Authentic Greek Dolmades, Dolmadakia by Lerios, the kitchn’s take, On a Budget (numbers laid out), allrecipes has a great selection on variations, Vegetarian Dolma, Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves.

We’ve also added “Snake Tongue”, taken from the grape vine plant, to the salad mixes. It’s a sorrel-lemon flavoured treat.

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Items on offer this week include: Salad Mix, Rainbow Leafies, Scallions, Radnips, a variety of Fresh Herbs including Fennel and Calendula (can be dried or infused in oil or water and used to make a variety of healing salves and more), Dried Herbs. New this week: fresh Garlic, Red Cabbage, whole Cabbage leaves (some of you have already seen some of these!).

Recipe Ideas for Cabbage leaves include: shredding them to make sauerkraut (lacto-fermented and raw, or cooked) and stuffed recipes for classic Cabbage Rolls.

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Week 7: Fennel, Salad Mix, Radnips, Beets, fresh Garlic, Scallions, Grape Leaves, Kale, Cabbage Leaves, dried Sage, Red Cabbage, Calendula.

This is fuuuuhresssssh Garlic, just out of the ground, not cleaned, not cured, and super potent and juicy! If it’s too fresh for you simply hang it in a warm dry place to let it cure.

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A Garlic that got injured in harvesting. Look at the number of cloves in this beauty!

So far the Garlic this year looks to be at least 3 times bigger than the biggest Garlic we usually get. Something is working right here on this farm!

 

 

After drought and extremely dry conditions we were happy to wake up to over an inch of Rain on Friday morning!

Lastly, we came upon the first Wild Turkey feather ever found on this farm. We’re still confirming but we believe we’ve found some other rare birds on the farm this week as well. So much LIFE here!

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Fun With A Feather

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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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