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30 Apr · Mon 2012
Working on a farm never is the same from day to day. It never ceases to amaze me how people can think that farming is easy. However, I must admit that until last year, I thought farmers had it made; that they live a life of ease and contentment. Once the crops are planted., I figured most farmers took off for Florida or Arizona. Boy, was I wrong. Everyday on the farm is a challenge! Once you think you have it all figured out, the weather will change or something will happen to make things difficult. I am not complaining, I am just saying that farm life is not a walk in the park. Here at Bountiful Blessings Farm, we are still diligently working daily, to get our crops in and ready for the upcoming market season. Today I spent most of the day transplanting. I drove to a neighboring town to look at a potato digger. I was able to get it, however, I will have to go back and pick it up with a trailer. It is very old and needs a lot of work, but I think with some elbow grease we can make it work for digging our potatoes. It was a pleasure to find it and even more a pleasure to know that we will not have to dig all those potatoes by hand like last year. I am excited! Kim just let me know that supper is ready, so I will say goodbye for now. I hope you are enjoying a great week!
Posted by Jeff @ 08:21 PM CDT
29 Apr · Sun 2012
Today has been a very busy day. We were going to head out to the church, but realized that there was too much to accomplish. Unfortunately, we were not able to attend. I really hate missing worship. Anyhow, we were going to transplant, but decided to work in the high tunnel and transplant the tomatoes directly into the ground. I needed to do some tilling and we had to lay down the weed control fabric. Once that was complete, we planted about 65 plants. We are using "Red Deuce" tomatoes in the high tunnel. I may place a few heirloom varieties in there as an experiment. Andy was out this afternoon to help us. He cut the fabric and dug the holes, while Kim planted and I watered. We will eventually have a drip tube irrigation system to water the plants, however, I have to get a few more things together before I can install the tubing.
We are getting rain this evening. This is much needed and it is coming down very nicely. We could use an inch real easy. Tomorrow I will be transplanting and seeding. I have several varieties to sow in the morning. I want to move some of the tomatoes up into four inch pots. Some of the fours I have now, are very nice. They have really taken off and will be placed into the field by May 10th. I am hoping to get them in the ground a little sooner than last year's plantings.
Supper is almost ready here, so I will sign off for tonight. May God richly bless you in this upcoming week.
Posted by Jeff @ 04:48 PM CDT
28 Apr · Sat 2012
Finally getting some rain! Today Andy and I painted boards for signs. It seems like we never have enough come market season. We moved all the tomatoes out of the hoop house and into a safe, warm, building for tonight in case it gets too cold. I am a little gun shy since the last episode! My buddy let me know today that an article was written for Farm World Newspaper about Bountiful Blessings. Here is a link to the article:
Tomorrow is worship and then some transplanting. We just got back in tonight after attending the Hinckley Historical Society dinner and auction. Bountiful Blessings donated two items for the benefit. It was a fun evening and I hope they were able to raise some funds to benefit the society. They have a nice little museum in the middle of town. Stop in a have a look. Hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend. God Bless!
Posted by Jeff @ 10:15 PM CDT
24 Apr · Tue 2012
Wind can really make a difference in whether a day is nice or whether it is pleasant. Today has been a very nice day - it was not too warm, but the wind was somewhat calm and it made it so much nicer being outside. Dad worked on the sprayer some more today. We had to return some parts and get replacements, which took almost all morning. Once we got back to the farm, I was able to transplant more tomatoes and work in the hoop house. Things are beginning to shape up as we get towards the end of April. I anticipate more cool weather; hoping for a more normal May. Even thought I wanted to get the tomatoes planted in the high tunnel, I have shifted my plans until next week and warmer weather. I think we are still early enough to have a jump on the season without risking to much.
Tomorrow I will be seeding and transplanting again. It looks like we will be getting some rain, so that will be great. Supper is almost ready and I am tired, so I am making my blog entry short. I hope you have a peaceful evening. God Bless!!
Tags: bountiful preparation produce seed planning seedling illinois soil hinckley blessings farm tomatoes
Posted by Jeff @ 07:51 PM CDT
23 Apr · Mon 2012
The wind is blowing; the sun is shinning and the soil is drying out rapidly at Bountiful Blessings Farm. The weather is really working on my nerves as this season is off to another different kind of a year! No matter what, I have faith that God will provide the needed weather at the correct time. However, it is getting a little annoying not to have rain and the colder temperatures are difficult to deal with. Today, I worked on transplanting more tomatoes and moving them in to the hoop house. Some of the larger tomatoes really look nice and I hope the weather is appropriate very soon to get them into the field. Nonetheless, we are way ahead of last year. I did not have any seed in the ground at this point last year. I have over an acre planted already! Of course there is a lot more to accomplish.
Dad is still working on the some of our equipment. At Bountiful Blessings we do not use chemicals unless it is absolutely necessary. We apply pesticides only we when have a problem and are unable to solve it with organic methods. We try diligently to use sustainable practices in our farming. Nonetheless, even when we use organic methods, we occasionally need a sprayer. Dad has been working very hard to build a sprayer from gathered parts and equipment that others have discarded. He is doing an excellent job. He took an old sprayer and completely revamped it; including removing the old tank and replacing it with a used polyethylene tank that was discarded. It looks great! I am not sure what I would do without his help. He really makes things so much easier for me. I really do not have time to work on the machinery. My time is spent planning and growing. Of course I have to spend time on marketing and management; which also take a lot of effort and time. We strive to give our customers the best possible product at a reasonable price. This takes hours of research. My wife just let me know that supper is ready. It is almost 8:30pm and we are finally able to sit down and eat. Such is the life of a produce farmer in the spring season. May God richly bless you and may you enjoy His grace and mercy in Christ Jesus! Have a wonderful evening!
Posted by Jeff @ 08:19 PM CDT
22 Apr · Sun 2012
Today has been another hectic day at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. We started early this morning planting cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in the field. This will open up space in the hoop house for tomatoes. After that was finished we planted more beets, radish, and onion. I had to work on one of the tractors today as it would not start. It turned out the terminals just needed to be cleaned and tightened. It has been a long day and everyone is very tired, so I am cooking some pork chops and relaxing. Tomorrow starts another busy week. Such is the life in planting season! May God richly bless you in this upcoming week.
Posted by Jeff @ 05:51 PM CDT
21 Apr · Sat 2012
The weather here at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce has been cold and blustery. After experiencing some eighty degree days a couple of weeks ago, it is difficult to get used to this colder weather. Yesterday, I seeded most of the balance of tomatoes and also planted some peppers. The seedlings in the seed room at this point are doing real well. The plants in the hot house are growing like weeds and the cole crops in the hoop house are also doing well.
On Thursday, Ellen Phillips, Extension Educator - Local Food Systems and Small Farms, from the University of Illinois Extension Office stopped by the farm to observe our operation. It was a pleasure meeting her and showing her a little bit of what we are doing. She was able to give me several ideas for the future. It is great to know there is helpful information available from her office. I am thankful she stopped in. Today, I am going to work the ground in the high tunnel to prepare for planting our tomatoes next week. Dad has equipment to work on today, so I am sure he will be busy with his projects. Well, its time to get moving. Hope you have a blessed day!
Posted by Jeff @ 07:25 AM CDT
20 Apr · Fri 2012
Yesterday was another very busy and productive day. Dad worked on some equipment issues while I transplanted tomatoes. We are getting closer to planting the tomatoes in the high tunnel. I am thinking Monday or Tuesday of this upcoming week. I want to wait until this weekend cold spree is over. I read this morning that tonight could get down to thirty and after losing some tomatoes with the last cold spell, I want to side on caution. Anyhow, we are a little ahead of schedule on most of the other vegetable crops. I will be seeding more tomatoes today. This will be the last seeding of tomatoes. I also have some peppers to get in today. However, the first project this morning is to water in the cabbage and cauliflower that was planted in the field yesterday. Dad and I planted two 100 foot rows yesterday afternoon. We were kind of thinking it would rain last night and we would not need to water them in. Nonetheless, it did not rain. My wife and I are going out in a few minutes to begin the process. It should not take very long, but it does require two people. Once that is accomplished, as stated, I am going to do some seeding. I am pretty sure that Dad will be working on some equipment again today. I am really pleased to have him helping with some of these equipment issues, as I do not have the time and he is so good at fixing things. Well, it is time to get out and get to work. Yes, I am running a little late this morning. I mentioned a few days ago that I have not been feeling to well. I thought I would sleep a half hour later today, but unfortunately, I still do not feel much better. Hope you have a great day!
Posted by Jeff @ 07:59 AM CDT
19 Apr · Thu 2012
Tuesday and Wednesday were very busy days at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. We continued our transplanting and seeding. My dad worked on equipment and the high tunnel. He had a few last minute things to accomplish before we begin to plant. The tomatoes in the hot house look excellent and those that were hit by the freeze last week are looking better. I should be able to save over half. Some of them were protected and not effected at all. Yesterday we planted our first sweet corn. We put in three varieties; an early, mid-season and late. We should have corn for the fourth of July if everything goes as planned.
It sprinkled a little last night, but not enough to keep us out of the field. I am going to plant kohlrabi and more peas today. I might even set out some cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. I'll just have to see how the weather holds. They are calling for rain. Tonight I teach at the church and tomorrow Kim will be home, so hopefully we can get a lot more accomplished. I hope you all have a wonderful day blessed with God's grace and goodness!
Tags: soil corn hinckley seed seedling illinois preparation produce farm bountiful blessings planning
Posted by Jeff @ 07:33 AM CDT
16 Apr · Mon 2012
Today has been kind of slow as I am not feeling the best. I have a terrible cold and chest cough. I guess getting wet and being out in the hot then cold weather got the best of me, I planted more seeds this morning and kept up with the sowing schedule. I do not want to get behind as it is very difficult to get caught up again. Everything looks great after the rain. Our onions are up about two inches and the potatoes are nicely sprouting. It won't be too long and things will be rolling real fast. I want to plant the tomatoes in the high tunnel towards the end of the week or the first part of next week. I am waiting on the weather to stabilize a bit before I gamble again. The same goes for the sweet corn, I want to see what the weather is going to do before I start putting it in the ground.
After seeding this morning, I cleaned up the garage and pulled some equipment outside. I then did a bunch of paperwork and organization. I am going in the house now to lie down for a little while. The medicine I took is working, making me drowsy. I am very thankful for the rain we received over night and yesterday. This really helped our plantings. May God grant you a wonderful afternoon and evening!
Tags: seed planting bountiful pepper spring 60520 market tomato seeds business vegetables blessings stand roadside illinois hinckley seeding
Posted by Jeff @ 02:55 PM CDT
14 Apr · Sat 2012
More onions! My wife said if she sees another onion, she is going to hit me! Onions were a good seller last year and we ran out, so this year we are planting more. Today, we planted more sets and seedlings. The look great! I am hoping for rain tonight and it looks promising. We got in from work and had pizza with our neighbors. It has been a long day. I am tired and so is Kim. Tomorrow we are going to the volunteer fire department's pancake breakfast and then it is back in th saddle again. I have tomatoes and peppers to transplant. There are a few cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli to transplant also. It seems to never end. It's off to bed for me! I'm pooped! Goodnight and God bless!
Tags: blessings onion soil hinckley farm planning bountiful seedling preparation illinois seed produce
Posted by Jeff @ 08:08 PM CDT
The last few days have been very busy at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce. We have been planting like crazy; trying to get as much in before the upcoming rain. Thursday, I planted onions, beets, peas, arugula, spinach and other cool weather crops. My dad worked on an exhaust fan for the high tunnel. He also built another shelf on the seedling rack which was desperately needed. Most everything is doing well in the field, other than it is very, very dry. We really need rain! I guess it is supposed the rain this evening.
Today, I am going to be seeding and transplanting. I also have some things to plant in the field. Andy is coming out today to help, so we should be able to get a lot done. Yesterday, my wife and I planted onions almost all day long. Early in the morning we planted the last of the asparagus. It was my sister’s birthday yesterday, so we went out to eat with her. It was nice both my siblings and mom and dad were there. I’m not sure when the last time all of us were together. After lunch, we planted more onions. Last night, Kim and I went to see the “Three Stooges” with my sister and her family. It was very funny and had a good plot. Well its time for me to get out to the field. I hope all of you have a great weekend and may God richly bless you this weekend!
Tags: hinckley blessings onion preparation bountiful seedling seed soil produce farm illinois planning
Posted by Jeff @ 07:22 AM CDT
11 Apr · Wed 2012
It has been a whirlwind of a couple of days. The weather has raised havoc with many things here are Bountiful Blessings Farm. I placed tomatoes into the hoop house thinking that there would not be any problems. Nonetheless, the cold weather nailed some of the plants. It was not a total loss, but we did experience some damage. The tips of the plants were damaged by the cold. I am going to leave them sit for a few days to see just how bad it they were effected. I should have taken more precaution, but I really believed they would be alright. I started reseeding the varieties that were involved. It is still early and I do not believe there will be a big problem. Some of the other produce farmers in the area have put sweet corn in the ground. I think I am going to wait another week until after the rain predicted for this weekend. I think it will be a lot safer in the bag than in the ground.
I transplanted cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower today. This brings us right up to schedule. I will be seeding out in the field tomorrow and planting more seed. There is still a lot to do around the farm, so it will be another long day. Thursday nights I teach at the church, so I will need to finish early so I can study. I am very tired tonight so it's off to bed. Have a wonderful evening and God bless!
Posted by Jeff @ 08:54 PM CDT
09 Apr · Mon 2012
Today was a very busy day at the farm. Andy, dad and I went over to a friend's greenhouse to salvage some greenhouse benches. The wood was not in very good condition, so we took what would work for us and left the rest. It was kind of disappointing, but very time consuming. Unfortunately, it would not work out for us to take anymore. Andy and I unloaded the trailer and stacked the wood in the shed for later use. After running Andy home, I began to transplant and move flats from one greenhouse to the other. I have about twenty flats in the unheated greenhouse. This will be a good test to see how well the house hold the generated daily heat. I checked it about twenty minutes ago and it is about 12 degrees warmer inside than out. I think it will be alright. My dad is concerned that it will not be warm enough and that we will have have problems. I think we will be okay. I guess we will see. I have placed a maximum/minimum thermometer in the house so we will know exactly what the temperature drops down to. I trust it will be just fine.
Tomorrow i have more transplanting and seeding to complete. We are right on schedule and things are going well. I pray that each of you will have a peaceful evening. May God richly bless you!
Posted by Jeff @ 08:27 PM CDT
08 Apr · Sun 2012
Today has been a very blessed day as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We attended worship this morning and spent a wonderful afternoon at my sister's home with our family. All we did at the farm today was to water and look over some equipment. Tomorrow we are prepared to salvage some wooden greenhouse benches from a friend's greenhouse. Andy is coming out to help me transplant and seed. I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful Easter. God bless!
Posted by Jeff @ 06:50 PM CDT
07 Apr · Sat 2012
Today has been a very productive day at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. I started out working some more ground down with the 885 tractor and rototiller. My wife and nephew planted another variety of onions and my dad worked on the doors of the high tunnel. Everyone working together to make it happen really excites me. I did find that trying to orchestrate the operation takes patience and planning. I state that because about the middle of the morning an issue came up that needed to be dealt with immediately, throwing a curve at my plans. I needed to transplant and seed today, but this issue needed my assistance. You see, we rent a corner of our sheds for storage and a tenant brought his trailer out to store for the summer. Unfortunately, I had all kinds of stuff in the way that needed to be moved and organized. I did not realize they were coming today and they showed up this morning. so we took a little time and moved the items around and made the necessary room for their trailer. It all worked out fine.
After lunch, the onion planting and door fixing continued while I transplanted tomatoes and then worked a space for hardening them off. My niece, Taylor came out and learned how to drive one of the lawn tractors. I think she enjoyed driving the tractor around the yard about 500 times. Then she helped me move tomatoes from one greenhouse to another. Then around four it was time to clean up and head into town for another nephew's birthday party. Grant turns 13 tomorrow. He is a very talented young man and I am proud of him. My wife was a bridal shower for another nephew, Zach's fiance. We just got back to the farm almost simultaneously. It is now about nine and time for bed. A long day, but very enjoyable and a lot of work accomplished! Tomorrow is Easter and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection. He is risen! Alleluia! Have a very blessed Easter!
Posted by Jeff @ 08:46 PM CDT
06 Apr · Fri 2012
Yesterday was day unlike others I have experienced this spring. It was a day that no matter what you did, you were chilled to the bone. The wind was cutting and harsh; and the air was crisp. After working outside all day; when I finally came in for the day, it took me over an hour to get warm. I took a hot shower and ate the meal Kim had prepared, but I still could not get warm. After supper, I sat down and reviewed the day and eventually warmed up.
A lot of things were accomplished yesterday at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce. I started out the day as normal, scouting the cold frames and greenhouse for any issues. I watered the plants that needed to be watered. Then Kim and I headed to the field to plant the balance of the potatoes. Dad had the furrows already made, so all we needed to do was to place the seed potatoes in the ground and cover them up. Unfortunately, we did not have enough furrows for all the potatoes. So we came in from the field and went to Waterman to pick up the International Super A we bought the day before. It is a beautiful tractor and I know it will save us a lot of time and back labor. We hauled it home and unloaded it; then it was time to get back to planting. I worked down some more ground with the 885 while dad dug furrows in another plot for our asparagus. Once the ground was worked down, dad brought the 234 tractor over to the other side of the farm so I could make furrows for the balance of potatoes. I made about eight or nine furrows and we planted the potatoes. Dad used the new Super A to cover the planted furrows with soil. It worked slick!
Once we were finished with the potatoes, we started planting asparagus – much in the same fashion we did the potatoes. I placed fertilizer in the trenches and then Kim put a small amount of dirt over the fertilizer so it would not directly contact the root crowns. We then placed the root crowns in the trench and dad used the cultivator to cover the roots. Again, this worked very well. Today, we will be planting the remainder of the asparagus. I have transplanting and seeding to accomplish this morning. Andy will be helping dad plant more California Soft-neck garlic. Later today, I will be planting beets and a few other things in the field. There is a lot to get done, so I better get moving. Have a great day and God bless you on this Good Friday.
Posted by Jeff @ 06:53 AM CDT
05 Apr · Thu 2012
Once again, yesterday was a very busy day. I met with an agricultural adviser in the morning to determine some up coming plans. The meeting went well. My mom and dad cut and prepared more seed potatoes for planting today. They also went through the canna roots and cleaned them and sorted them. I transplanted several flats of cabbage and cauliflower. I am a little nervous about putting them outside as the weather is getting colder. Today it is only supposed to get up to 54 degrees with 15-20 mph winds! A little chilly! Moreover, tonight we have a freeze warning. It is going to get into the upper twenties! What a change. I think I am going to move the cabbage inside for the night. I do not want to take a chance on losing them. Cabbage will stand a frost, but these are pretty tender.
Yesterday afternoon my dad and I went to look at a cultivator tractor. It was a 1948 International Harvester Super A. It is a beautiful tractor and we both beleive it will work for the farm. Dad told me that he started driving tractors at a young age and his dad had a B. This tractor is similar. Nonetheless, this tractor will be great for many tasks here at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce; especially weed control without spray herbicides!
Later in the day my sister called and told me that I was in the paper. One of our local papers did an article on the farm. I was very humbled. Here is a link to the article:
Well, its off to another busy and cold day planting potatoes in the field. I pray that your day goes well.
Posted by Jeff @ 06:43 AM CDT
04 Apr · Wed 2012
After some more research, I determined that I needed to find the right fertilizer for the asparagus. After driving all over the country, I found out that no one carried what I was looking for. So, we switched gears and planted potatoes yesterday. I worked some ground down while dad cut potatoes. Then I struck out the first row with the 234 and middle-buster. It really worked slick. We got twelve rows in yesterday. We then drove to Hampshire to look at an International 140 tractor. It was a disappointment. The tractor was junk. Now it is back to square one. So if you know of a 140 for sale, shoot me an email. Now its off to the greenhouse for more seeding and transplanting. And I'm sure we will be back in the field plant the balance of our potatoes! Have a super day and may God richly bless you in Christ Jesus!
Posted by Jeff @ 06:58 AM CDT
03 Apr · Tue 2012
Good morning! Yesterday was a very busy day. I seeded and transplanted in the morning and in the afternoon I was out in the field with dad planting onions. we are pretty much caught up on planting onions at this point. We have more to plant next week, but we are trying to put them on a staggered planting schedule so we have onions coming on at different times over the season. Today is going to be another busy day. We are going to start plant more asparagus. We have a small patch now, but we want to increase it a little each year. This year we are adding five hundred crowns. The crowns look heavy even though they are one year crowns. They really look like two year crowns.
Asparagus can be planted throughout Illinois from early April to late May, after the soil has warmed up to about 50 degrees F. There is no advantage to planting the crowns in cold, wet soils. They will not grow until the soil warms and there is danger of the plants being more susceptible to Fusarium rot if crowns are exposed to cold, wet soils over a prolonged period. It used to be that planting asparagus deep was considered the best. However, research has shown that it is best to plant no deeper than 5-6 inches, as any deeper will effect the yield. It is time now to get moving! Out to the field! Have a great day and God bless!
Posted by Jeff @ 06:35 AM CDT