Good Earth Farmers

  (New Market, Tennessee)
Good Food Grown with Care for the Earth
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Spring? That's What the Calendar Says..

Another Year?

Our last blog entry was over a year ago--how can that be? We've been busy, of course. This past year only saw us take a couple of breaks from farming. Stephen often remarks about how much we've learned over the past seven years. Now we grow food year-round, not just during the farmers market season. It's satisfying to be able to eat chard and spinach in the late fall, as well as traditional winter greens like collards and kale and the root vegetables.

Over the St. Patrick's Day weekend, Stephen got the warmer days and sunshine he'd been hoping for, after some late frost and even snow. He planted out all the seedlings from our greenhouse into the garden, and also planted new spinach and leaf lettuce beds. Now the tomato seedlings are tucked up under the lights and blanket (just as I described last year--this system may seem quirky, but it works for us!), and will soon be tall enough to transplant.

Tonight and tomorrow the forecast is for freezing temperatures, so Stephen will cover the lettuce and spinach beds with row cover. The cover is also "low-tech"--inexpensive knitted fabric bought at a discount fabric store. We just need to keep the tiny plantlets from freezing.

We and our members continue to find new things to love about kale--we have dwarf kale and curly kale and will soon have the Dinosaur (lacinato) kale. It's fun to experiment with recipes and hear what our members are cooking up in their kitchens, too. Still, we can't wait for the sugar snap peas, asparagus and the rest of spring and summer's bounty!

 
 

Where did the year go?

Instead of the green of spring herbs and flowers, we are now surrounded by the whiteness of an early winter. It snowed today and our 2010 farm season is over. Soon it will be the winter solstice and the days will begin to grow longer. Even in the midst of snow, as farmers we're looking toward our spring and summer crops.

Although we didn't succeed in keeping up this blog for the year, we did continue our weekly Good Earth Farmers newsletter. Each week we give our reflections on farm life as well as recipes which use the veggies we grow here in East Tennessee. In addition, we give tips and advice on growing veggies organically. Our readers also contribute their own gardening experiences and favorite recipes.

This past week we had photos of the mysteriously beautiful ice flowers which "bloom" in the pasture in this chilly weather. The coyote pup who spent the summer near the pond has vanished and we haven't seen any wild turkeys this fall--but bright cardinals pick through the compost heap searching for seeds. The rest of the wildlife seems to have hunkered down for the winter, although squirrels and housewrens stay close to the farmhouse.

This past week saw the last of the "barn razing"--as Stephen and volunteers took down the old tobacco barn which had finally collapsed over the summer. We're sorry to see the almost eighty year old barn go, but its wood--hickory, oak and cedar--will take on new life. One volunteer will use the wood to make his custom furniture pieces and another is an art student with plans for a large wooden sculpture. The rest of the wood will be "re-purposed" in a variety of ways in a community garden and home gardens. We're glad to be able to share this wood--and part of the farm's history--with others.

Stephen has chopped prodigious amounts of wood for the only heat at Tall Cedar Farm--a wood stove in the living room. A home-built greenhouse, attached to the side of the house, does provide warmth to the back bedroom on sunny days, even in winter. (We raise all our own seedlings in the greenhouse, beginning in December.)

Despite the wind and snow, we're warm and cozy, curled up with seed catalogs and planning for spring. And our first New Year's resolution is to post on this blog regularly in 2011, and also get our own website completed. Whereveer you are, we hope you'll enjoy the warmth of this holiday season and have a very Happy 2011!

 
 
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