Green Eagle Farm

  (Onondaga, Michigan)
ecolgically-grown produce and flowers
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spring gardens

It is almost June here in South Michigan on our 20 acre family farm.  Planting season is upon us and our backs are already somewhat sore from all the hard work, but our spirits are high and the thought of juicy fresh tomatoes keep us going.  We've had a couple of nights that threatened frost and thankfully all our early plantings of cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers survived the cold nights.  Onions are safely in the ground.  We took the advice of another farmer and cut the tops and some of the roots off the onion plants before placing them in the ground.  It made the manual job of planting them all the easier.

Day after day it seems like we've been getting ground tilled and ready for planting and finishing off another garden bed or plot.  Mapping a garden out beforehand has been helpful in fitting all of my crops into an area.  I haven't always stuck to the plan, but it helps to have an idea of what I have to plant and where I want it to go.  Keeping in mind what I've planted where in the past helps to rotate my crops and give them the requirements they need.  I never want to put anything in the nightshade family in the same spot year after year.

Memorial Day weekend has typically been the biggest planting weekend of the year. It looks as if the cold nights are over and we are keeping our fingers crossed.  We've transplanted lettuce, leeks, potatoes, onions, kale, chard, cabbage, broccoli, flowers, herbs, and celery into the ground.  Our hope is to plant all our tomato and peppers this week.  Happy planting everyone.  And good luck with your gardens.


Food Preservation

 It is mid- February on the farm in Onondaga, Michigan.  We are still feasting on potatoes, garlic, shallots, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, canned foods, and lots of dried herbs.  We recently finished placing our seed orders from some of our favorite seed companies:  Fedco Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Johnny's Select Seeds. and Seed Savers.  It feels like we are all(my husband and two daughters and I) anxiously awaiting the reawakening that spring brings.  I can conjure up the feel and smell of fresh soil as I dreamily await the thaw.

I can safely say that I feel pretty comfortable with last year's food preserving accomplishments.  I made several batches of preserves and saurkraut, along with canned salsa and tomato sauce.  I froze sweet peppers for the first time.  How easy that was--just cut pepper into chunks and threw it into a freezer bag.  I dried all of my favorite herbs which include oregano, sage, and thyme.  We dried several large batches of garlic which we later ground into garlic powder and we dried loads of hot peppers.  I made a wonderfully tasty batch of chili powder with three different types of peppers.  I like to use my basil by processing it into pesto and freezing it in freezer bags.  I break a section of it off and put it into my tomato sauce throughout the winter.

 Steve's brother built a porch onto our home last year and we are currently using the space to store most of our produce.  We have several lugs stacked on top of one another filled with our precious stores.  We find that maintaining a cool temperature of around 65 degrees helps preserve the potatoes, garlic, and squash fairly well.  Our favorite winter squash and most reliable storing variety is the butternut squash.  We use it in both sweet and savory dishes.  I like to peel it, cut into chunks, boil it and toss with sauteed onions and herbs(thyme, rosemary).  Okay, i forgot to mention rosemary....we have it growing fresh throughout the year in one of our hoophouses.  I still like to dry some of it and store in a glass jar to have on hand in my kitchen.

My youngest daughter Brigid just picked a fresh lemon today off the our lemon tree we have growing in the greenhouse.  Its smell permeated the house.  While I'm discussing the greenhouse I'll let the reader know what other plants we grow in there throughout the year.  We grow figs, bay laurel, I've mentioned rosemary and lemon already, lemon verbena, calamondin, and alpine strawberries.  Steve picked a white alpine strawberry last week and gave it to me.  What a "sweet" gesture!

 This is my first blog and my first entry.  I hope you enjoy reading it.  I plan to continue writing and adding information about our gardens, how and what we grow, and kitchen tips and recipes.  Blessed be.


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