Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest
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Boulder Belt Farm Share Inititiative vol 2 issue 8 (week 8)


 

 

It's been a strange memorial day weekend as we were without phone service from Saturday evening until yesterday after noon because someone took out the pole across the street  that we were connected to. I found out Centurylink is closed on 3 day weekends and if you have a problem you deal with it yourself. No we don't have cell phones here at Boulder Belt. Nor does Eaton have pay phones any longer, thanks to kids using them to call 911 as a prank. I thought being incommunicado would be great and I find not so much.

Than the tiller quit working, likely because it is 17 years old and the carburetor needs an overhaul (though it may be something else. The good news there is we have gotten pretty much all the tilling done and can do whatever else needs to be done with hand tools or the other tiller (which has always had some issues with running but we got it very very cheap at an auction). At some point in the next week or so I suspect we will put the thing into the van and take it up to Arcanum where they have a guy who works on Italian tillers such as ours. Unless, of course, Eugene can figure out what is wrong and fix it on his own.

On top of that a lot of the market garden was herbicided by unknowns over the weekend and we have lost a planting of green beans, peas are effected (but were far enough along that they will be producing by next week, but this will likely shorten their production time) as were raspberries (leaf damage but the berries that are developing look great). Fortunately the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant had not yet been transplanted and were either under shade cloth or glass so were not effected. The damage goes almost to our house and the guy next door sprayed on a low wind day with winds out of the SW so I do not think he is the source. It may be an inversion or it may be we got hit with a flyover by mistake. The good news is most everything that was killed (that would be the beans) has already been replanted and so while we lost a few hundred feet of crops, all that will happen in the long run is the harvest time will be pushed back 10 days (unless this happens again-than I will have to suspect something malicious is going on, as herbicide season should be just about over around here until late July). And this is one of the reason we use a lot of row cover-it keeps the chemicals off the crops. Unfortunately not all the crops will tolerate the covers and beans are one of those crops, which is why they got exposed.

Now, you may be asking about just how organic are these crops I am eating-as organic as possible growing in conventional farming country. Honestly pretty much everything around here (including us and certainly the water we drink unless well filtered) is exposed to farm chemicals. So we organic growers mitigate the damage by growing great soil (soil is the soul of organics, not the avoidance of chemical pesticides, though in order to get great soil you cannot use chemical pesticides and that is why they are avoided like the plague) and keeping things covered up as much as possible.

Oh and Betty has developed a liking for the watering roses on the ends of the watering cans. This morning she ate one and another is missing. Now that she is feeling better she is Hell on wheels.

So not the greatest of weeks here. But it is not all doom and gloom, most things are doing well, we have a volunteer coming out 2 times a week to help us keep things keeping on, we are no where near having failures and we are getting into a bunch of new crops. But as you can see farming is not all fun and sunshine, it's a risky business full of a lot hard work and dealing with a lot of things we have no control over.

So, speaking of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, we are just about done with transplanting over 800 seedlings into the market garden. I have been impressed with our speed-we can do around 100 seedlings in an hour working together. I think by later this morning all will be in the ground as Eugene is finishing up the last 3 flats (approx 150 plants) of tomatoes. We have also been busy planting water melons, various winter squash (we are doing something like 8 different kinds), melons (cantaloup, galia, charentais and a few others), cucumbers, zucchinis, beans and a few other things that are not coming to mind right now) I would say we are close to being done with the summer planting season. We are not done with planting, though as we will be starting the fall/winter planting season around early July and that will continue until early November. The fun never stops here at Boulder Belt

Reminder, if you have not yet dropped off 4+ largish tote bags for your shares do so or we will continue to pack them in plastic bags. Also we will take back all bags, rubber bands, boxes and anything else our stuff is packed in. We do not want such things from other places, we just want our stuff back. The exception to this is plastic shopping bags-you have a pile of Kroger/Wal-Mart/Jungle Jim's/Meijer bags? We will take them as long as they are clean (we have gotten bags with used litter and rotten food and when that happens we have to throw out the entire lot as we cannot put other people's food into them and have to assume the entire lot is contaminated)

The shares, as always, will be ready after 4pm and in the fridge in the front. I suspect like the past 4+ weeks there will be two bags per share unless you have provided us with a really big bag, than just one. Look for bags with your name on them, they will all be marked.

Recipe

Roasted Garlic Scapes


1 bag (or more) of scapes
Olive oil
Salt

Get a pan that has a cover or you can cover with aluminum foil. Put the whole scapes into the pan, drizzle the oil over top and salt to taste. Cover and put into a 350F preheated oven and roast for about 20 to 30 minutes. When they are tender and smell like roasted garlic they are done. You can also do this on the grill only pack them into aluminum foil with the oil and salt and put on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes.


What's in the Share

Asparagus-1 pound of mainly green. This is likely the last week for asparagus as the stalks are beginning to get tough even before they start to open.
Broccoli-new this week! Finally the broccoli is ready to harvest, or at least the first planting (we have at least two more younger stands). Fresh well grow broccoli is a delight.
Kale-a big bunch of Rainbow kale this week
Garlic scapes
Green beans-We started these in a hoop house so they are about 4 weeks earlier than normal. That's the good news. The bad news is there are not many and this stand has been infected by rust and may not be harvestable after this week-we will see. But there will be more and more beans over the summer so if this stand bites the dust, it's okay. you will notice that some beans look rusty and/or are misshapened-that's the rust at work. These beans are the heirloom, Black Valentine
Red beets-another early crop from a hoop house, like the beans we usually don't start harvesting these until late June/early July. Unlike the beans these have nothing wrong with them. these still have their greens which are sweet and yummy and this is where all the nutrients are as well-the greens have around 1000x times more vitamins and minerals than the beet root. Cook them as you would spinach or eat them raw.
Zucchini-you will get 2 or 3 small zephyr zucchini. we love to grow unique zukes instead of the flavorless dark green (referred to as black in the business) so we do several heirlooms and this wonderful hybrid. these are small enough to eat raw but grilling them is also a good choice. I suspect by next week you will get more in your share as the plants are loaded with tiny zukes.
Spinach-another week of spinach. Like the asparagus, I suspect this will be the last of the spinach until late fall/early winter. This is a plant that hates heat and dry conditions and thus hates Ohio summers
Cilantro
Savory
Thyme
Basil

 
 

Boulder Belt farm Share Vol 1 issue 6

Mid May on the farm means a lot of weed control. Since we do not use chemicals that means a lot of mowing (which also keeps small rodents from eating the crops, and this did happen over the weekend-something took out 1/2 bed of cabbage. Don't worry we have several beds of cabbage and Eugene has now gotten the grass short AND has caught a couple of voles in the area. So he thinks the rest of the baby cabbage plants will survive) hoeing when the soils are dry enough (which they were as of yesterday) and hand pulling. Oh and tilling. Something Eugene has not been able to do in about 10 days because they ground has been too wet. You really do not want to till wet/damp ground as it destroys the structure and you get clods that are hard to break down. But now the soil has dried out enough for the the tilling to resume and hopefully by tomorrow he will have most of the untilled beds tilled and the weeds that are in them killed. Most of these beds are for Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

If you want to know what tomatoes we will have come the end of August check out my blog http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2009/05/boulder-belt-2009-tomato-roster.html. It's a big list of fabulous heirloom maters (mostly). Those tomatoes are still tiny and a couple of weeks away from being able to go out side. I have contact with a lot of other growers via email list serves and a few forums and we start our tomatoes about 4 to 6 weeks after most everyone else in the US (except the folks in the Dakotas) but by doing this we get to miss the cloud of RoundUp that is hovering in our air as I write this (RoundUp literally melts tomatoes). This is because the no-till farmers use the herbicide to "burn down" the weeds in their fields a day or two before planting. Than there will be another huge application the beginning of June and another late July for weed control. This is one of the reason we use a lot of row cover-it keeps the chemicals off of our produce. Unfortunately it does not keep the herbicides out of our water table so in a month I highly recommend that you drink only filtered water so you (and especially your small children) are not drinking the stuff.

Another reason we start and plant our tomatoes and peppers later than most people is because there too often is a cold period in mid to late May that will injure such tender plants and cause them to produce later and less than they should (we are going through this right now and it would not surprise me if we get another round of cold air before Memorial day). So between the chemicals and the cold weather we are glad our tomato seedlings are tiny and safe in a warm room. The pepper and eggplant seedlings are big (I start these at least 3 weeks before the tomatoes because they take longer to get to a good size, though this year they both grew faster than expected) but also in the same warm room so safe.

Besides the nightshades (the family that peppers, potatoes, maters and eggplant all belong) we have planted in the market garden beets, green beans (or maybe wax beans), potatoes, carrots, celeriac, red turnips, rutabagas, radishes, early cucumbers, early cantaloupes, more lettuce, more spring mix, early basil, early zucchini (which is flowering so we should have zukes in shares in 2 to 3  weeks), chard and a few other things. I believe we have about 2/3 of the 250+ beds filled at this point and should be about filled by June 1st.

Oh yeah a couple of things. Oxford members St Rt 732 is closed this week by Houston Woods so you will have to find another way to get here if you use 732 to get to Eaton. The signs say it will be reopened May 16th. Don't for get the potluck dinner coming up May 24th  bring food to share and something to eat it on/in/from (we do not want to use paper/plastic plates and cups and don't have enough china to supply everyone). Member Nancy Glidden has graciously offered to do a short workshop on how to use culinary herbs which I think will be useful to most everyone. This will take place right after the farm tour and before dinner (or maybe during dinner as this will be a casual event and we can nosh and learn)

Recipe

Chive Dip

1 pint sour cream
1/4 cup chives chopped fine
1 TSP thyme chopped fine
salt to taste

Mixed everything into the sour cream, let sit at least 2 hours so the flavors can blend (over night is best). set out with good tater chips

Strawberries-You get 2 pints this week (oh Joy!!). These will come and go all summer and fall as we grow Day Neutral strawberries and not the June bearing type
Asparagus-a half pound of spears. I wish we could give more but the plants are not producing as heavily as we expected. Next year will be better as we will be able to harvest some of the new area (planted spring of '08) and in 2 years we will have twice as much to harvest.
Lettuce-another bag of mixed heads-the mix this week will be a red leaf lettuce some old guy, Tom Chance, from Eaton gave us last year and marvel of 4 seasons, a french heirloom (this is a bibb type)
Chive-These are beginning to flower. The flowers are edible but tend to be on the hot side. Still they make a salad beautiful
Spring Mix-This might be mostly baby lettuce. The spring mix beds we should be harvesting have huge lettuce and the rest of the greens, despite being sowed a week before the lettuce are not growing  much at all so have been too small to cut for the past 12 days. the cool weather should be good for this stuff and hopefully I will go out this morning to find beautiful arugula, mizuna, et. al.
Leeks-This should be the last week for leeks
Cilantro
Scallions
Thyme-Very small leaves, really good in things like potato and leek soup
Tarragon-This smells like anise, leaves green and slender

 
 
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