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Archive for the month “June, 2014”

Hoop House Production



We picked our first few tomatoes this week out of our hoop house. A Hoop House is like a greenhouse in structure but lacks an outside heating source. It relies on the heat from the sun.  A hoop house can extend our season about a month on each side and it makes it possible to grow a handful of things almost year round including heavy greens, kales and spinach. In a sustainable farming system in the Midwest we need to increase our winter production- Hoop Houses are one of the solutions.


Trellised tomatoes in our hoop House

Early Girls are the first to ripen.

Early Girls are the first to ripen.

Our 30 X 70'Hoop House

Our 30 X 70’Hoop House







It’s Strawberry Picking Season


The strawberry season has been good this year. Despite the rain the berries have had lots of flavor. If you haven’t picked yet you better hurry. The season will be coming to a close soon. No worries, raspberries are on the way.

Keep it Fresh- Store it Best

Tips for keeping your CSA produce fresh:

A great chart for the refrigerator

The ABCs of Fresh

“The main way to lengthen shelf life is by using cold temperatures to slow food’s respiration, or ‘breathing’ process,” explains Marita Cantwell, PhD, a postharvest specialist at the University of California, Davis. In general, the warmer the temperature, the faster the rate of respiration, which is why refrigeration is critical for most produce. But while you want to slow it down, you don’t want to stop the breathing altogether. “The worst thing to do is seal fruits and vegetables in an airtight bag,” says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University. “You’ll suffocate them and speed up decay.”

Some fruits emit ethylene, an odorless, colorless gas that speeds ripening and can lead to the premature decay of nearby ethylene-sensitive vegetables. Put spinach or kale in the same bin as peaches or apples, and the greens will turn yellow and limp in just a couple of days. So the first trick is to separate produce that emits ethylene from produce that’s sensitive to it.


• Apples
• Apricots
• Cantaloupe
• Figs
• Honeydew


• Avocados
• Bananas, unripe
• Nectarines
• Peaches
• Pears
• Plums
• Tomatoes


• Bananas, ripe
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Cauliflower
• Cucumbers
• Eggplant
• Lettuce and other leafy greens
• Parsley
• Peas
• Peppers
• Squash
• Sweet potatoes
• Watermelon

Hilling Potatoes

If you love potatoes like we do, you’ll want to grow a few plants.

At first they’ll be small.


Once they start getting bigger you can hill up dirt around them.


Make those hills big so your plants can grow lots of potatoes underneath. The hills allow the plants to send out more shoots that will become more potatoes. The more you hill, the more potatoes you’ll get.


Then mulch around the plants.  Mulch will keep out the weeds and hold in the water. Mulching retains 10X the water.


Voila! Now keep an eye out for those pesty Colorado potato beetles. Remove them and feed them to your chickens.


In 10 weeks you’ll have new potatoes!

Gardening ideas


We’ve been loving all this spring rain and what it’s done for everything we’ve planted.  If you haven’t yet planted anything in your garden now is the time, summer crops are going in this week.  A few suggestions:

  • Start an herb garden in pots near the kitchen.  Grow basil, rosemary, oregano, mint, and sage for quick and versatile flavors.
  • Pick your favorite vegetable and try growing it this year or add a new plant to your repertoire.  Consider watermelon, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and potatoes.
  • Plant a pizza garden with the ingredients you can enjoy on summer pizzas: tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions, and oregano.
  • Plant a BBQ garden with the fixings for great grilled veggies.  Consider sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and eggplant.


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