Friday, August 19, 2011

Local Restraunts are using our Produce!!

Wow It has been a long time since I wrote on here. We have been so busy!
We decided to try 3 markets this year. The Main Street Market in Chattanooga, on Wednesdays from 4-6, Blue Cross Blue Shield invited us to sell to their Employees on Thursdays from 3:30-5:30pm, and The Chattanooga Market at the Tennessee Pavilion on Sundays from 11-4

On market days We start about 6:00am, picking and working in the Garden before it gets to hot for a couple of Hours. Then we bring everything back to the house to wash & pack for Market. We get done just in time to pack the truck and head to Market. We usually get to the Market about an hour before to start setting up.

One of the greatest things that has an impact on us is, that we have really have met a lot of neat people at Market. Like other farmers, that we have learned tips from. Also it is really neat how all the farmers really like to help each other out. Such as one farm gave our farm name to a restaurant that wanted to buy Patty Pan Squash. Right now we are featured on the St Johns Menu for our heirloom Tomatoes.

We have also learned that there are a lot of People out there that are really concerned about what they eat. They want to make sure they are not getting the pesticides on their foods. There is a foundation out there called Gaining Ground that is promoting Locally grown foods within 100 miles of Chattanooga. Maybe you have noticed the bill boards for MSFM, or the magazine called Taste Buds, we are also featured in there as one of the local farmers. They have a listings of the restaurants that use local farmers too.

Monday, June 6, 2011

To Market to Market.

Last week we went to the Main Street Farmers Market for the first time. Here is their website.

Wednesday morning up bright and early to pick in the cool of the day, and that is when you can capture the best flavor of the veggies. We picked Broccoli, Kale, Collards, Onions, Turnips, Peas, and took some of the Tornado survived plants to the Market. Later that morning we cleaned and packaged the veggies, on this Table Gary built. It really did the trick.

Of course it was the Hottest day yet this year. 100 DEGREES!!!!
We defiantly were not prepared. We didn't have a tent to keep the Sun off the produce, but were very fortunate that another farmer had an extra tent to let us borrow. We also did not take enough Water for being so hot. Then we should have taken Ice Chests to keep the Greens cool. We also forgot our Sign and cards. Lesson well learned. I am sure we will learn more as we continue on.

We are still planting too. We planted Yellow Brandy wine Tomatoes, and also replanted yellow squash & pink-eye purple eye peas. Today I planted Basil & Marigolds to help with keeping the bugs away. Talking about bugs. Remember I said we were going to try to grow all organic this year. Well we have found an organic bug spray made from Chrysanthemums, Called "Pyrethrin". It really is working well, since it is made from flowers, you can pick the same day. We don't do that though.

Hopefully this week we will get all the fall seeds in the ground like Pumpkins, winter squash, gourds etc.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A very busy week........ planting, planting, planting.

Tina and the kids came up to be with us the last week of April for Planting the Garden. This is the week we are planning on getting most of the Veggies in the Ground. And did we work hard! We also had a friend come up because she wanted to learn, to plant her own garden.
While Tina and I were putting stakes in the ground Part way through Gary Rototinng, we heard this awful noise that made me think OH NO! and then Gary tried to start it again. It wouldn't start. He thinks it threw a Rod. So off to Northern Tool to get a new engine. We planted, Yellow Squash, Clemsen Spineless Okra, Kolbs Gem Watermelon, Blue Lake Bush Beans, Patty Pan Squash, October Beans, Cucumbers, Lima Beans.

The next day we planted 2 different Varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes, Corn, and Zuccino. When we plant Tomatoes there is several steps we do. First we take the first two sets of leaves of the plant and dig the whole as deep as the height of the plant. We put in a teaspoon of Epson salt and mix it with dirt in the bottom of the hole, this keeps the tomatoes from getting blossom end rot. Then we put in the compost and throw a little dirt in and mix it in the whole. Then we put the tomato in the ground and just leave the top two sets of leaves out of the ground. The tomato plant will grow roots all along the stem that is in the ground and make it a much sturdier Plant. Gary had Rototilled one pass on a plot above the cabbage so Tina & I set up the stakes and Strings before we went to fix Supper.

Wednesday Morning the storm was coming.... could we get anything in the Ground before the Rain? We grabbed a Banana for breakfast Gary started rototilling the second pass above the Cabbage patch. Tina Spread Compost & I started planting. We got in one row of Chambers Renegade Watermelon & 3.5 rows of Pink-eye purple hull peas in the ground as it was raining on us. That was it for the day. As the day continued the first storm was so bad we went to the basement for fear of a Tornado. The winds were so strong that is threw our Swing across a log and moved the Greenhouse 1 ft off the foundation. That evening we got another storm that rolled through and finally did a job on the Greenhouse. We will have to rebuild it. But I have to be thankful for only that damage. In the valley less than 1 mile from us in Trenton there was a large Tornado that passed through and destroyed some homes and there were some folks that did not make it. My heart goes out to their family's. Although I am so proud of my home town. Everybody pulled together helping each other. Even some of the business gave out water, instead of gouging people.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

seedlings growing

Yesterday It was down to 40 degrees in the morning & when I walked in the Greenhouse and all my baby tomato plants leaves were folded together like little praying hands. We had not put down the back side of the greenhouse because we didn't think it was going to get that cold. I had never seen that before, and thought it was interesting, then in the afternoon when it got warm they opened their leaves. We have about 300 tomato plants started.

We are planting all Heirloom plants, Last year we planted about 4 different varieties of Tomatoes and came out with 2 that we really liked. Granny Cantrel and Romenesco. This year since I like the taste of Yellow tomatoes we adding a Yellow Brandywine to see if that is a good one or not. Yellow tomatoes are not one of Gary's favorites. I collected some purple Tommy toe tomatoes from a farmer an we are going to plant those too.

We are really going to try to grow all Organic this year too. To do this we are going to interplant with a lot of Herbs. I got a list from the extension office of which herbs help to deter different bugs. I have started these in the green house so we can plant them the same time we plant the Garden. But when the bugs start destroying the food , I don't know if I can keep Gary from spraying. He just hates it when food goes to waste. I talked so some friends yesterday and they suggested that we use an organic spray derived from Chrysanthemums. It kills the bugs and you can harvest the next day. We will try that and see if Gary will be happy with the results.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yeah!! We have a Greenhouse!!

Yeah!!! We finally have a Greenhouse!
Gary built us a Greenhouse. Good thing too, because I need to transplant all the plants I seeded a couple of weeks ago, and we have run out of room in the house. I'm really quite proud of Gary, When he was taking down a porch this last fall for a lady, he hauled the lumber to our place instead of taking it to the dump. This last winter he ripped the 2X12 & 2X10 in to 2X4 so we could build the Greenhouse. I think that was a great recycling effort on his part. It was a lot of work but it really paid off in the long run.

I seeded tomatoes & peppers on the 8th of March & a lot of herbs and flowers on the 15th and now they are coming up.

I worked in a green house my freshman & sophomore year in High School. Funny how just the little thing of tapping the side of the seed pack comes back to you without even thinking about it after so many years. I was very fortunate to have that job. My boss was Skip Mc Candless, wonder if he ever thought that he was really a teacher? He taught me just about as much as going to High School.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Before & After pruning the 2 variety tree.

A lot has gone on at the farm since then. I will try to post everyday this week, so you can see what we have been up to. We have 4 mature Apple Trees on the Farm, we really do not know what kind they are, but they are very good. One of the trees bear 2 different Apples. Since we really have not had Apple trees before, we bought a book to see how to care for them. This is what we have learned about pruning them. The first thing is to take out all the dead wood, then to trim all the limbs that cross and rub on each other, because that causes disease to set in. Then it said to trim the limbs that grow straight up. Well here are a couple of examples of
what we have done. We have one Tree that I call the grandma tree. It looks like it is really struggling to make it. We did not get apples off of it last year because when I went to check on it in July They had already ripened and fell on the ground. I think they are an early June Apple, which makes really good pink applesauce. Gary thinks it is a Yellow delicious. We will keep a better eye on it this year. Glad these are here so we can practice on them while we wait on the new orchard to grow.
This is the tree I call the Grandma tree.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring is in the air Its time to plant!

Good Spring Morning to you! Now that we have all the fruit planted, it is just in time to start planting the Spring garden.
Last week we got in 126 Cabbage. We have always made Kraut in Jars. Last year we tried our hand at making it in a Crock. I really liked the texture and the taste, except We put a little to much salt in it. I would like to make Pickles in a crock this year to see how it does. Oops got off the subject.

We also planted Kale, Collards, Spinach, Purple Lettuce & Head Lettuce. This is the first time we planted Head lettuce, I am anxious to see how that works. We planted, Early peas & Snap peas, Kohlrabi, Turnips, Beets, Carrots & Radish & Onions, we planted 2 types of onions, one was given to us by a neighbor he called them bunching Onions, you plant just one & they multiply, they never get a large bulb, Just good green onions to eat, or what some people call scallions. The other was a sweet onion like a Vidaila. Wow until I put it on paper I didn't realize how much we can plant in the early Spring. We planted Red Potatoes, & Kennebec Potatoes, These we planted early so we have some when the beans come in. We will plant more after may first of May so they will keep better over the winter.

I remember the first time I planted Potatoes, It was with my Grandpa Faber. He had cut all the Potatoes and we went out to the Garden be hind the Cottage on their Farm, where He had a vegetable Garden. The rest of their farm they grew for the farmers Market or for the Cows. Anyhow, He took the stick end of the Hoe and pushed it down in the ground and told me to drop a potato in the hole then he kicked the dirt back over it. We plant the potatoes just about the same way today.

Oh, I need to get some cilantro planted, It really likes the Cool weather just like the spinach. It seems to bolt when the weather gets hot. One year I planted it among my Rock garden & It lasted longer, till the Tomatoes came in. I think that is because the Rocks kept the Roots cool. I'll try that again this year too. We will probably get the Cauliflower, Broccoli, & Brussel Sprouts planted this week.

Happy Planting!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apple Orchard

Working this farm brings back a lot of Childhood memories, I think that though out this blog is the best place to recount them. just like planting the Orchard. I can remember picking Apples in Grandpas Orchard, I can't remember what he shook the tree with, but after he shook it, and the Apples fell to the ground, I remember picking up bushel after bushel of Apples Helping load them on the Truck. Then he let us go to the Apple Press in town with him. It was always a big thing when we got to go with Grandpa. The Apple press was in a big building, and they would unload all the Apples in a big bin, I remember walking through the building and there was a long flume like thing with a conveyor belt, I really don't remember why they were on the conveyor belt, maybe that was were they washed the apples. What I do remember is the wonderful taste of the cider that came out at the other end.

We finally got all the trees planted, a total of 140 Apple Trees & 20 Peach Trees. We planted 20 each of the following Apple trees, Macintosh, Early Harvest, Arkansas Black, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Wynesap & Jonagold. We eat a lot of Apple sauce, and my favorite Apples to use are a mixture of Golden Delicious & Wynesap. That way you get the sweet of the Golden Delicious & the Tart of the Whnesap & you don't have to use sugar in your Apple sauce. I have a friend that peels & cuts her Apples mixes them with sugar & Cinnamon and then freezes them so she can just put that in her crust for Apple pies throughout the year. She makes really good Apple pies too! Now with all these trees maybe I'll try that.

Another Memory with Apples is of one after I was Married and had kids. The church that we were going to called Little Brown, decided on a Investment Project, of making Apple butter. It was quite fun. I really don't remember how many Apple is took. but It seemed as if the whole church came to our house & all the women were sitting on the front porch peeling Apples, while the Men were making a fire and building a stand to put this huge black pot on in our front yard, to make the Apple butter. ( I know I have a picture somewhere, I'll post it when I find it.) After we made the Apple sauce, the men poured it into this big pot outside and added the spices. they cooked it down and everyone had to take a taste to make sure it had the right amount of spices. We canned it and sold it for investment. I really don't remember how much money we made, or if we made any money, But the memory will live on. It seems we are too busy these days to spend enjoyable times with friends that much, and starting this farm seems to have brought me full circle to the slower pace, that is truly much more fulfilling.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seed Catalogs & Planning

I like this time of year just about as much as planting & picking, This is the time of year when We get to go through all the seed catalogs and decide or dream about what we want to plant this year. There are all the old favorites, Tomatoes, watermelon, sweet corn etc. and last year we did taste tests of new veggies we planted and saved the seeds from them. Then there is all the new varieties you want to try, and the garden is only so big. This year We want to incorporate a lot of Herbs in and around the garden. We have been reading which herbs deter bugs around which veggies. Also since we are starting the orchard, I have read that Tansy, an herb & a pretty flower that grows about 1 ft tall helps to keep Deer away. We have deer that have been coming here for years, and I really don't want Gary to shoot them. So we are going to try the Tansy route. I have also read that Tansy is like mint. It can really take over. But if it is in the field with the orchard, is that bad? I don't Know. If any one is reading this, what do you think?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Planting Started On the Farm

I really will try to keep this up to date this year. This week we started planting.
53 Grapes
30 Raspberries
10 McIntosh Apple Trees.
One day it was so cold that my toes about froze. Yesterday I was so tired, I just wanted to lay down right in the field. I sure does let me know that I have been to lazy, and need to do more manual labor.