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Posts Tagged ‘sustainable food production’

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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Fresh, local, sustainably-grown food for your health, your family, and your community.

Registration is now open!

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Get to know your farmer, get to know your food, and enjoy eating the rainbow! All vegetables are harvested within 24 hours of market + deliveries for peak freshness that is a feast for your senses.

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After 2 seasons of working at the farm Andrea is ready to take over managing the CSA and we’re very excited to see what she has in store for 2017! Andrea brings creativity and vitality and has exciting new things planned for this season.

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New this year we are offering HOME DELIVERY for anyone within a 20 minute drive from the farm near Tilbury!

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Space is limited and will be on a first come, first serve basis. Reserve your spot by paying the $200 non-refundable deposit. Your $200 deposit is deducted from your total share cost. You can pay in cash, by cheque, by email money transfer, or by using a major credit card. The balance of your share cost is due on the 1st week of the CSA season (approximately early June), payment plans are also available.

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For the 2017 season we are offering 2 share options.

Basic Share: a traditional CSA share of pre-packaged produce. Seasonal veggies are chosen weekly by the farmer but you can also let us know what veggies you hate or love. This is the most economical share option and is the only option available for home delivery. Pick up weekly at our Wednesday Farm Market or get Home Delivery for a $5 weekly fee (this is billed at the end of the season to reflect actual weeks delivered). Choose either the FULL weekly share for $500 ($25/wk for 20 weeks) or the half, bi-weekly share for $250 ($25/wk for 10 weeks, every other week during the 20 week season).

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Farmer’s Market Share: allows for complete control of the veggies you receive each week.. Shares start at $200 and you decide how much more you want to add. For example, $300 total for 2 people, $400 total for 2 veggie lovers, or $500 total for a family of 4. Members have told us that they appreciate not having to think about carrying cash when they come to our Farm Market. Unused credit does not roll over to the next season but does allow you to miss a week or two and to stock up on extra veggies when you need to.

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We encourage you to purchase a larger share and to take advantage of our in-season produce by preserving it. Make your locally-grown, organic produce last longer – you’ll be glad you did once Winter comes! This blog provides tips for easy to difficult methods of food preservation – canning, dehydrating, freezing, and fermenting.

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We are located at 20600 Morris Rd (Canal St West), Lakeshore (outside the town of Tilbury), only 30 minutes from Windsor. The weekly Farm Market, CSA pickup, and Home Deliveries will be on Wednesdays from 3:30 pm to 6 pm.

For more information on our farm, our CSA, and what veggies to expect weekly please see Membership Info, About, and Veggies!

For inquiries and to register please email – neovintageartistry@gmail.com

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Farm Manager, Andrea + Delivery Driver, Tavis

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We are entering a time of balance, when night and day are *almost* equal. The Autumnal or Fall Equinox. A time when plants and veggies are still growing but much slower, the weeds are slower, too, and the insects are few. Dates to maturity for crops is a guessing game at this time of year but rather than “the end”, it’s merely the beginning of the end but there is still plenty to come.

On the harvest list this week (items vary depending upon location) :

We’ve got more Bartlett Pears and Asian Pears!

A treat this week from Stoney Point - Pears + Apples from 60 year old trees that were planted from heirlooms brought over from Italy and never sprayed! Hand-picked by Jean Tremblay, here's what he shared on Facebook: "So you pick pears for three hours and drop some off to a Magician and he does this... Benjamin Leblanc-Beaudoin at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast - A Pinot Grigio vanilla poached Stoney Point Pear with Chantill, and a biscotti crumble." Priced at $1 a pound you can't go wrong!

A treat this week from Stoney Point – Pears + Apples from 60 year old trees that were planted from heirlooms brought over from Italy and never sprayed! Hand-picked by Jean Tremblay, here’s what he shared on Facebook: “So you pick pears for three hours and drop some off to a Magician and he does this… Benjamin Leblanc-Beaudoin at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast – A Pinot Grigio vanilla poached Stoney Point Pear with Chantill, and a biscotti crumble.” Priced at $1 a pound you can’t go wrong!

Dragon Beans + Blu Jay Snap Beans

Parsley

Summer Squash

Sweet Peppers – We’ve been freezing the purple peppers to use as pizza toppings this Winter!

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Rainbow Kale and Rainbow Chard. Easy to freeze for the Winter! Just put whole leaves – stems and all – in a freezer bag and enjoy Kale and Chard all Winter long in smoothies, soups, stews, stir fries and more! A great way to use up your credits.

Okra (red + green)

Hot Peppers

Scallions

Broccoli Florets!

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Wild Rainbow Salad Mix with Sunchoke Blossoms

Calendula Seeds – we’ve been including these in our salad mixes and we are offering the seeds for you to be able to grow your own! Wonderful dried to make healing salves and teas for sensitive skin, especially as a diaper rash cream – make your own medicine!

Calendula Blossoms

Calendula Blossoms

Pie Pumpkins and Squash

Eggplant

Fennel

Cherry Tomatoes

Sundried Tomatoes – dried to crunchy perfection these are a treat just as they are. Made using the sweetest of tomatoes, they can also be soaked in water and re-hydrated if needed for a certain recipe.

Turnips – a farm friend made the *most* delicious Turnip curry for us and we are waiting on the photo and recipe to share because it was the most delicious way we’ve ever eaten Turnips!

We have small amounts of frozen Sea Buckthorn if anyone is interested, please let us know in advance.

From around the farm this week…..

Oddy: "No, I don't want to go inside! I want to prune this Tree!"

Oddy: “No, I don’t want to go inside! I want to prune this Tree!”

Bird's Nest Fungus; Leopard Frog; Red-Underwing Moth; Unidentified Spider with prey

Bird’s Nest Fungus; Leopard Frog; Red-Underwing Moth (Oddy thinks this is the laziest name ever); Unidentified Spider with prey

From Facebook….

From a member: "Your kale made it in my homemade chicken noodle! It was yummy!"

From a member: “Your kale made it in my homemade chicken noodle! It was yummy!”

Happy Equinox Everyone! May you all find your Peaceful Place…..

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On the pick list this week (items will vary depending upon your location) :

Broccoli, Chinese Eggplant (with Chevron-shaped markings), 'Cocozelle' Summer Squash

Broccoli, Chinese Eggplant (with Chevron-shaped markings), ‘Cocozelle‘ Summer Squash

Sweet Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes, Salad Turnips, Fennel, Cabbage.

Sweet Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes, Salad Turnips, Fennel, Cabbage.

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Farm friend Amanda Paulin made these cute stuffed Squash for a romantic dinner.

From Chef Ben at the Iron Kettle in Comber, who uses simple ingredients and makes them beautiful. Most of the ingredients come from our farm. On the left - Salad Mix, Salad Turnip, Asian Pear, Heirloom Tomato, Carrot, with a Balsamic Vinegar + Olive oil dressing. On the right - Salad mix with edible Calendula Blossoms, Carrot, Radish and a dash of Balsamic vinegar.

From Chef Ben at the Iron Kettle in Comber, who uses simple ingredients and makes them beautiful. Most of the ingredients come from our farm. On the left – Salad Mix, Salad Turnip, Asian Pear, Heirloom Tomato, Carrot, with a Balsamic Vinegar + Olive oil dressing. On the right – Salad mix with edible Calendula Blossoms, Carrot, Radish and a dash of Balsamic vinegar.

A treat this week from Stoney Point - Pears + Apples from 60 year old trees that were planted from heirlooms brought over from Italy and never sprayed! Hand-picked by Jean Tremblay, here's what he shared on Facebook:

A treat this week from Stoney Point – Pears + Apples from 60 year old trees that were planted from heirlooms brought over from Italy and never sprayed! Hand-picked by Jean Tremblay, here’s what he shared on Facebook: “So you pick pears for three hours and drop some off to a Magician and he does this… Benjamin Leblanc-Beaudoin at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast – A Pinot Grigio vanilla poached Stoney Point Pear with Chantill, and a biscotti crumble.” Priced at $1 a pound you can’t go wrong!

Also available this week but without the fanfare of pictures: Parsley, Rainbow Kale,  Purple Top Turnips (regular ones, not the salad ones), Beets, Beans, Scallions, Garlic, Basil + Herbs…..and who knows what surprises!

Praying Mantis in a Kale and Brussel Sprouts patch; Monarch that had to be chased down to be photographed! Seems that many Monarchs have hatched out in the last week as we've been seeing quite a few of them.

Praying Mantis in a Kale and Brussel Sprouts patch; Monarch that had to be chased down to be photographed! Seems that many Monarchs have hatched out in the last week as we’ve been seeing quite a few of them.

Spider-eating Wasp; Orb Weaver Spider

Spider-eating Wasp; Orb Weaver Spider

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This is part 2 of a series of educational posts on why we choose to grow our produce using ecological methods.

The pros and cons of Raised Beds.

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Pros:

– Better drainage, especially in the Spring when the snow melts and there is significant rainfall.

– Beds warm up quicker in Spring – 8 to 13 degrees F higher than ground temperatures – which means crops can go in sooner and be ready for harvesting sooner.

– Less waste, saves money in the long-term. Irrigation is more efficient,  compost + amendments are only put where crops will be, less seeds are needed, and less space is required for the same yield. As Jean-Martin Fortier says, “Grow better, not bigger.” For example, the typical 100-foot row takes up at least 300 sq ft of space (because of paths to accommodate tractors) and will yield 100 pounds of carrots. In contrast, a raised bed of 32 sq ft will also yield 100 pounds of carrots. Using row gardening the farmer has to fertilize, mulch, add compost to, weed, and water 300 sq ft to get that 100 pounds. – Brett L. Markham “Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre”

– Doesn’t damage or interfere with the biological creatures – microbes, worms – needed to decompose and provide nitrogen to crops. I expand on this in the previous article on The Importance of Soil.

– Permanent beds have many benefits as explained in The Importance of Soil. In addition, framing the beds in means not having to re-make them with equipment every 3-4 years.

– Reduces or eliminates the need for tractors, roto-tillers, other large equipment, and the fossil fuels needed to run them. This is inline with our desire to grow food in a truly sustainable way, relying on humans and hand tools rather than machines.

– Being able to improve soil that isn’t already “perfect”. With farmland at a premium new farmers have to get creative with their ability to access land. One way to handle less than perfect soil is to create raised beds to have the soil texture and nutrition necessary. The family farm in Tilbury is highly nutritious but a difficult to work with heavy clay. While some crops thrive in this soil many more struggle. Raised beds allow us to improve the soil while keeping our farm in the family. We can make each bed differently to accommodate the different needs of various crops.

– Less weeds. This is a big one. By not tilling or using soil that has dormant weed seeds we greatly reduce the number of weeds in our raised beds. It’s important to get high quality professional compost, amendments, and mulch, so that you don’t import weeds.

– Adding posts for trellising, making cold frames to extend the season, and using row cover or insect netting are much easier because the beds provide the stability and materials needed for these items.

– Discourages certain pests – slugs, carrot fly – because they stay near the ground; adding mesh will keep out moles, voles, and gophers.

– Greater accessibility for the elderly and those with mobility or chronic illness; they can also be raised even higher to allow people in wheelchairs to garden.

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Cons:

– The time involved to get boxes done involves a lot of initial preparation.

– The set-up costs are larger initially.

– It can be difficult to find untreated wood or other reclaimed products that don’t leach undesirable chemicals. We were able to get a large amount of untreated wood at a discounted end-of-the-season sale.

– If large amounts of mulch aren’t used there is a tendency to dry out quickly especially in semi-arid or desert areas or areas prone to drought.

– Not moveable so it’s important to pick the right location and to consider all the variables (shade/sun, etc) before putting in raised beds.

– Not good for potatoes or crops that need a lot of room to grow like melons and squash.

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What we will be doing at our Lakeshore location:

– Putting companion planting into permanent practice; being able to have beneficial plants as hosts and habitat that will stay year-round.

– Letting crops that easily-self seed have their own beds means less work, less money spent.

– Because of the large time investment to create these boxes we will be favouring certain crops for the raised beds. Squash and melons will be grown under a mulch of straw and allowed to ramble. Tomatoes and Peppers will continue to be grown under black plastic mulch. We will be creating several Hugelkultur beds as well.

Our partner farm, Faerie Willow Farm, will also be using raised beds on their beautiful soil.

We’d like to experiment using materials other than wood for our beds. We are looking for cinder blocks, cement blocks, bricks, rocks, tree trunks + large limbs, and even large Lego blocks! Let us know if you have or see any of these materials available!

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Part 3 will focus on the importance of companion planting and of creating habitat for beneficial creatures with perennial plants.

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