Posts Tagged ‘raised beds’

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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


One of only a few successful Cucumbers.


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.


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



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.


Photo by Andrea Nickerson

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


Photo by Andrea Nickerson

The Farm Toddler helping with the Garlic Scape harvest + cleaning


Photo by Andrea Nickerson

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




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 …


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


And the view from the other end of the bed …


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 …


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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 🙂


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



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Not a very appealing title for a blog post but I’m a big fan of honesty so at least I’m being accurate this week *smiles* With non-stop rain for over a month we haven’t been able to get crops in that would have been ready by now and the crops that are already planted haven’t had enough heat or enough time to be ready to harvest yet.

Note: I know that when a blog post goes to your inbox it looks like an email but when you hit “reply” to send me a message it creates a blog post reply, not an email to me. I tend to delete these as most of you don’t intend to create a blog reply. Just an FYI 🙂


From top L: Squash fruiting; Kale bed; perennial raised beds; Horseradish, Salsify, Scorzonera.

We’ve been busy putting in posts and stringing up Tomatoes using the Florida Weave method to trellis them. The plants are full of big green fruits already!


From top L: our trusty little tractor; one of half a dozen regular on-farm Snakes who eat mice and voles for us; Master Farmer Mike supervising and directing the farm children in creating removable bed covers; our trusty hunting Cat who thrives on the variety of raw meat available at the farm.

From top L: our trusty little tractor; one of half a dozen regular on-farm Snakes who eat mice and voles for us; Master Farmer Mike supervising and directing the farm children in creating removable bed covers; our trusty hunting Cat who thrives on the variety of raw meat available at the farm.

We still have standby’s like Salad Mix and Rainbow Kale while we wait for more veggies to be ready. We’re pulling up some Garlic this week as a special treat – super fresh and juicy! We’re curious to see which Garlic has fared better – the ones planted in black plastic, the ones planted in a raised bed with hay mulch, or the ones in a raised bed without mulch. At least they didn’t rot with all the rain we’ve had!

This week’s pick list includes: Salad, Kale, Chard, Garlic, Pea Shoots, and a selection of herbs (chocolate mint, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, and more!)

A note on uncured Garlic – we enjoy this very fresh Garlic but it’s strong and juicy and not for everyone so we suggest trying a bit of it fresh and if you don’t enjoy it then just put it in a paper bag in a cool and dry location for a few weeks so it can cure.

In bloom around the farm from Top L (edible blossoms): Lillies; Calendula; Arugula; (pollinator plants) Daisies, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea); Black-Eyed Susan;

In bloom around the farm from Top L (edible blossoms): Lillies; Calendula; Arugula; (pollinator plants) Daisies, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea); Black-Eyed Susan; Hollyhock

A special shout out and THANK YOU to members who’ve volunteered to help harvest – what a wonderful time we have chatting and working – and to new work share folks who have stepped out to help out!

11221431_795465460574143_3983240283797984326_oWhat you missed on our Facebook page this week….

From CSA member Monique:

From CSA member Monique: “My chicken wrap was delish…. Tomato, lettuce, feta, ceasar dressing, green onion and lemon juice in my green wrap!” Collard leaves make amazing wraps!

For local folks – we always try to have salad mix and rainbow kale for sale in our self-serve fridge located on the farm.

We are also now selling Orgunique Fertilizers for your home garden as well as Compost Accelerator. We have these available at the farm and at ShopEco on Tuesday afternoons. Find out more about Orgunique at http://naturelanefarms.com/products-services/orgunique/

Got a new smaller tent to use at ShopEco so I don't have to bake in the Sun!

Got a new smaller tent to use at ShopEco so I don’t have to bake in the Sun! Tuesdays from 4-7pm, get your fresh organic veg on!

See you all next week and may we have lots of heat and sunshine to get these crops growing and this land drying!


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It was nice meeting all of you last week and seeing new faces as well as returning members – thank you all for being on this local farming journey with us!


At Take Back The Farm in South Windsor

We haven’t had a break in the rain and so we haven’t been able to plant many new crops but so far the ones that were in the ground before the floods are doing just fine. We’ve been tending them while wading in water halfway up our knees and we tell ourselves we’re at the spa as the water is quite warm and that helps us get our work done. Our farming would be a total loss if not for our raised beds and we’ve been busy cleaning them up after getting out crops like bok choy and getting ready to put in broccoli and cauliflower and other fun goodies, we’ve had to use diatomaceous earth as the slugs as quite prolific this year. Our garlic crop would be a loss if not for the raised beds so we’re grateful for all the hard work we put in last year to create them.

IMG_0177Unfortunately most of the folks who signed up to do the work share option have not been able to come through and help us and we are in big need of some volunteers to help us with harvesting on Mondays from 8am-12pm. If you’re interested but want to volunteer at a different time or day please contact us as we might be able to use your help. Last week we had a lovely time with volunteers harvesting and sorting spinach, bok choy, kale, and garlic scapes (thank you to Marie for showing us a trick to get a more abundant harvest) – it’s great conversation and laughs 🙂

IMG_0231New this week you will see some fresh herbs….

L - R Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Arugula

L – R Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Arugula

We’re taking off a small amount of peas and by next week we’ll be swimming in them!

IMG_7601We’ll have some rainbow radishes as well but they aren’t faring so well with all the rain.

IMG_7594We’ll have more rainbow salad mix and rainbow kale as well as a savoury salad mix with “spicy” mustard greens and scallions. When we opened up some of our beds to harvest we found MONSTER kale and MONSTER collards in there!

IMG_0199We’re bringing in more mini-cucumbers, tomatoes, and mushrooms to help round out the baskets while we wait for the flush of peas.

Now if it would just stop raining so we can finish planting…..see you all soon!

Week 1 offerings at Take Back The Farm in South Windsor

Week 1 offerings at Take Back The Farm in South Windsor

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The Belle River Farmers Market opens this Sunday June 7th from 10am – 2pm at Optimist Park (705 Notre Dame St.) in Belle River. It’s still early in the season but here are some fresh veggie goodies we’ll have on offer at the market:

2 different varieties of delicious Spinach 'Butterflay' and 'Corvair'.

Two varieties of delicious Spinach, ‘Butterflay’ and ‘Corvair’.

Week 1 Market Produce

From Left to Right: Salad + Scallions, Bok Choi, ‘Olympic Red’ Kale, ‘Red Russian’ Kale, ‘Vates Curly’ Kale, Certified Organic Seedlings.

We’ll also have Sunshine Pickles, Sunparlour Honey, Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Eggplant, and ASPARAGUS.

Fresh goodies to come in the next couple of weeks….

Garlic is coming along beautifully; Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, and Shelling Peas; a new crop this year - Fennel; more Spinach!; Onions.

Garlic is coming along beautifully; Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, and Shelling Peas; a new crop this year – Fennel; more Spinach!; Onions happy under their leaf mulch.

We’re expanding our production space this year by not just doubling but tripling the amount of area we’re using to produce vegetables. We’re using more of our “back 30” for heat-loving veggies that are grown under black plastic and we’re using an old pasture that has been used by our free-range chickens for many years (using the fence to grow Pole Beans, for example). We’ve added more companion crops and beneficial crops like Horseradish and Tansy while re-using old tires for the farm children to grow their own personal crop of Potatoes.

ExpansionAfter receiving 4 inches of much-needed Rain all at once we are reminded of why we use permanent raised beds even for crops grown under black plastic (these beds differ from our boxed raised beds). If our crops were grown “on the flat” these precious seedlings would have been lost and drowned but the seedlings are raised several inches up off the ground while the excess water pools in the “valleys”. Underneath the plastic is also a “valley” where water can pool and where the roots of the seedlings have to work to get the water but in the process it strengthens the seedlings and keeps them from drowning.


Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant seedlings.

We are still accepting new members for the 2015 season at all of our locations so don’t forget about our referral program and have your chance to win FREE produce for the season! We will be sending out emails to current members in the next couple of weeks when we are ready to start the season for FRESH VEGGIES!, and to discuss the various share size options and final payments. We will also be announcing soon the details of our weekly on-farm farmers market so stay tuned here and at our Facebook page!

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We’ve been busy planting thousands of seedlings and now we wait for the rain to water them!

fam planting borderOur farm is always a family affair and our waterwheel planter allows even the youngest family member to help out with planting. From the top, left to right: Getting the black plastic laid down; Being silly; 2 folks can plant at once and our 15 year old follows behind to make sure every seedling is properly planted; Black plastic makes a great mulch and keeps seedlings warm even in a frost; Our wonderful intern for this year; Planting; Our 10 year old is planting Tomatoes; Our 8 year old is planting Peppers.

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