Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Seed starting tips

This post could also be called "well duh!"

A friend gave me some seed starting flats that have tiny cells in them, maybe 1/2" square or so, and there are probably close to 400 cells in the flat (I haven't counted them but there's a LOT)  I filled them with soil and started trying to drop seeds on the soil and they were bouncing everywhere.  Then a light bulb went off--I put an empty one over top of the one I was trying to seed, dropped a seed into each cell and voila!  They fell right in the center of the soil-filled cell underneath. 

I'm sure someone else has come up with this trick, or one better, but it sure made seeding the flat of broccoli raab much easier for me! 


Washing Fresh Greens

The high tunnel has been productive this winter season--well, as productive as it can be.  Plants just don't grow nearly as fast in the winter as they do in the summer.  A wonderful mix of greens just passed through the kitchen sink into the fridge for part of the evening meal.  I get lots of questions about the best way to wash fresh greens.

First off, this is only the way I do it--not a scientific approach at all.  The greens grown on the farm are all organical so the only things that need to be washed off are debris and the occasional snail.  I can deal with things I can see, it's the things I can't see that I don't want to deal with :-)

Place the greens in a big bowl of cold water:


Then swish the leaves  around with your hand to knock the debris loose.


  I pick it up a few leaves at a time and place in the salad spinner, checking them really well for cleanliness.



Once the salad spinner is about 3/4 full, put the lid on and give it a few spins to dry the leaves.   The salad is then ready to mix with whatever other items you want.  This particular mix I call the "Kitchen Sink" salad mix because it contains arugula, lettuce, broccoli raab, spinach, and baby Swiss chard leaves.  A lot of people have never tried baby Swiss Chard leaves in a salad, but they are delicious, and more nutritious when raw.

If you're not going to eat greens right away, don't wash them until you're getting ready to eat or cook them, and keep them in the fridge.

Now, for supper.........



And the Winners of the 2013 Wild Things New Veggie Varieties are.....

As each growing season is planned, along with the tried and true favorites, I always like to try some new things.   After pouring through the mountain of seed catalogs and following rabbit trails all over the Internet, the decisions have been made:  which new veggie varieties will make it to the ground this year?  (A few of) the winners are:

Jade Cross Brussels Sprouts....hold the applause...this is the first time I've tried Brussels Sprouts in YEARS.  This variety matures quicker so maybe I won't have to torment over it in the garden for so long....

Russet Potatoes--going for some bakers here in addition to the Kennebec and Red Pontiac.

In the pepper category, Ancho San Martin, Georgia Flame, Cabernet, Purple Cayennes, and Lipstick peppers join the myriad of peppers already on the books.  Peppers seem to like the soil in one particular garden here on the farm, so I try to rotate them there every couple of years.

New salad tomatoes being grown this year include every kind of salad tomato you can imagine and a couple more.  I've really gotten into the salad tomato mix--it's a real hit with the Wild Things followers and I LOVE to package them up--it's like playing with M&M's.   All the colorful and tasty salad tomatoes will be marvelous on top of the new lettuce varieties.  Names like Cherokee, Panisse, Skyphos, and Summertime will join the popular gourmet leaf lettuce mixes AND two iceburg-type lettuces will be trialed in the garden this year.

A horticultural bean (eaten shelled but not dried) called Tongue of Fire has arrived for planting and will be growing along with the usual Roma II, Blue Lake, and Jumbo beans.  A filet bean called "Masai" is scheduled to make an appearance at some point during the season as well.  

Lots of heirloom tomatoes will be planted again as in years before, and a few new ones are going to be added; Nepal, Cherokee Purple, Holy Land--hopefully they will be worth saving seed from for future gardens-- Hippie Zebra --that one sounds like a keeper to me :-)

A couple new summer squash varieties, Magda and Safari, will be added, and oh, I almost forgot the coolest one of all.....Veronica Romanesco.  It's classed with cauliflower but it looks like some kind of cool alien vegetable--



Well, that's about all of the new crops I'm going to share.....I can't tell you EVERYTHING.... if you're within the reaches of Wild Things this coming season, you'll just have to check it out for yourself.  

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