Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
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A Very Busy Day

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.


Heirloom Vegetables - A Little Bit of Our Heritage

What draws many of my customers to heirlooms is flavor. They want a tomato that tastes like a real tomato, not a plastic one. They long for corn that tastes like it did when they were a kid. They search for a sweet, juicy muskmelon, and wonder why cantaloupes are crisp and dry. After trying varieties that look good on the pages of seed catalogs but just don't taste like much, they turn to heirlooms.

What they find may well be something of a mixed bag. The best of the heirlooms really are wonderful. They have it all. They taste wonderful and look beautiful. No doubt about it, these varieties are terrific. There are, however, varieties that take a more experienced hand to grow well. Some are local or regional varieties that may or may not be suited to conditions in your back yard. Others are susceptible to problems unknown to earlier gardeners. Today, certain plant problems are much more common than ever before, and new, resistant cultivars may be the only ones suited to areas where certain diseases and pests are entrenched. Most of this is because since 1932, the American farmer has depleted the soil of it's major nutrients. Everything introduced to the soil is chemically enhanced or man-made. This is not good. Micro-nutrients are no longer available in the final product. Only through building up the soil naturally, will we bring those micro-nutrients back into our diet. These micro-nutrients feed the living cells in our bodies and we need them! Building the soil and heirloom varieties are a great start to a healthy renewal.

Nonetheless, heirloom vegetables can be quirky. Seeds may germinate slower than their modern counterparts, or they may straggle in erratically. Some may pop up after you've given up on them. As they grow, some heirlooms have traits that are downright odd. Other old varieties will do weird things. Unfortunately, information about such traits is difficult to find. About all growers can do is wait to see what happens, relying on their best instincts and experience.

With all of that considered, I really enjoy growing heirlooms because I actually have something that my ancestors grew. This it what makes it so exciting for me. Now, after many years, I actually have my hands in the soil my grandfathers worked. I have a piece of my own heritage. This is what makes my job so much fun and so rewarding!


Heirloom Peppers and a Long Day

Today was another productive day. Although, I wish I could have attended worship this morning. Nonetheless, I was able to complete the manure detail. It is all spread and ready for the ground to be worked down this spring. I worked on the seed room and seedling rack again today. It is almost done. I spent an hour or so on my seed planning chart and this afternoon my wife and I picked up a few things at the lumber yard to complete the seedling rack. We then went to the funeral visitation for my great uncle and tomorrow is his funeral. I am very honored to play taps on my trumpet at the funeral with my son. Later on this afternoon and evening, I washed the tractor and cleaned the manure spreader so it can be lubricated and put away until the next time I need to use it. Now it is time for supper and a little relaxation before heading off to bed. It's been a long day. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been receiving some of seeds in the mail and from UPS. It won't long and everything will be here. Some of the peppers we will be offering this year are list here:

  • Beaver Dam    
  • Datil
  • Bull Nose Large
  • Fish
  • Hinkelhatz Hot
  • Jimmy Nardello's
  • New Mexico Native Chile
  • Sheepnose Pimento
  • Wenks Yellow
  • Key Largo Cubanelle
  • Yellow Crest Longhorn
  • Cayenne – Long Thin
  • Jalapeno – Mucho Nacho
  • Habanero
  • Ghost Pepper
Last year we had a lot of requests for ghost peppers. I am not sure I understand the fascination of eating something so hot, but I thought we would try them this year. The Key Largo Cubanelle was real popular last year and of course we will have an assortment of red, yellow and green bell peppers. My dad is planning on have signs made so people know the background of all our heirloom varieties. I think it is so interesting to read the history of some of these seeds. I hope our customers will enjoy it as well. So now its time to eat! Just thinking about all these yummy vegetables is making me real hungry!

Another Exciting and Productive Day

I am so excited! Today was awesome! I was able to get another couple of loads of manure spread on our vegetable ground. It is amazing to be out in the field getting ready for the upcoming planting season. I had to clean a little manure off of the road from yesterday, but otherwise no major concerns. The ground was firm and the tractor did not make any ruts in the ground, however, around nine this morning, the ground was to greasy to continue. I will have to haul a couple of loads in the morning. If everything goes well, I should be able to attend church. I hate not being able to make church on Sunday morning, but it is supposed to rain next week, so I want to get this done. 

Several of my seed orders came in today. Wow! Who ordered all this seed? I have to admit, it was me! Having near twenty acres this year, requires a lot of seed. It is so exciting to see the seed coming in and soon, in just a few months, these seeds will be plants that will produce food; food that will be enjoyed not only by me, but by those who stop in an buy these wonderful "Bountiful Blessings". We still have CSA subscriptions available for those of you who are interested. Shoot me an email or take a look at our website at:

The seed room is almost done and our seedling rack is bear three-quarters finished. I will start seeding next week. I still have lots of things to get completed for the season and time is getting shorter and shorter. Interestingly, the weather has been so mild. I wonder when we will actually be able to work the ground. Sometimes when it is this nice in January and February, we end up with lots of snow in March. I really hope this does not happen. I'd like to get in the field in a timely fashion. This would help me out a great deal. I know it is in God's hands and I trust Him! Tomorrow is a new day to see God's blessings once again. Each and every day is a miracle and I try to live each day in a way that would bring glory to Him.


An Exciting Season Just Around the Corner

Well another day without being able to spread manure. Maybe tomorrow if it remains frozen in the field. I certainly do not want to make a big mess out of the ground by driving over it and packing it all down because it is too muddy. I am going to try it this in the morning and see what happens. I stopped by Rick's tonight and let him know I would be there around seven. Everything is green light go! This whole manure thing has been plaguing me for a week. Hopefully, today we can put it in the past!

Tomorrow afternoon I am going work on the seed room and seed rack. I will start sowing seeds next week. The bulk of my seed order will be here on Tuesday. I have to pick it up at the warehouse. I will also be picking up the seed potatoes and onion sets. It is a little scary getting 200 pounds of seed potatoes and over 130 pounds of onion sets. That works out to about 20000 onions! Of course some of these will be for bunching, but many will be bulb onions for cooking, etc. In Illinois, we have to use long-day varieties. Short-day varieties do not do well here.

Here are the tomato varieties we will be planting this year. We will have a nice assortment of heirloom varieties, and some hybrids.

  • Hillbilly
  • Roma
  • German Johnson
  • Black Krim
  • Aunt Molly’s Husk Tomato (Ground cherry)
  • Aunt Ruby’s German
  • Burbank Tomato
  • Chalk’s Early Jewel
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Djena Lee’s Golden Girl
  • German Pink
  • Livingston’s Globe
  • Livingston’s Golden Queen
  • Orange Oxheart
  • Mortgage Lifter – Radiator Charlie's
  • Red Fig
  • Sheboygan
  • Valencia
  • Chocolate Stripes
  • Earl of Edgecombe
  • Cherokee Chocolate
  • Black Sea Man
  • Copia
  • Brandywine
  • Green Zebra
  • White Queen
  • Primo Red
  • Red Deuce
  • Mountain Fresh Plus
  • Florida 91
  • Sweet Hearts
  • Sugar Plum


I am getting so anxious to get started. This is what I really enjoy doing; planting and growing these wonderful vegetables. It won't be long now!

Yesterday, All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

Have you ever had a day that really did not go the way you thought it should go, but later turned out very productive? Well that is how yesterday went! It started out with finding out the manure was too sloppy to haul. If I was to put it in the spreader, it would have made as mess of the roads. I really did not want to be responsible for an accident caused by manure on the road. I came back to the farm and spent some more time on the seed orders - GOT THEM IN!! Yahoo!! Then I worked on the seed room and rack. I'm not quite done but getting closer. After I slipped and fell on the ice the other day, my back has been hurting so I decided to work on the planting schedule. I was able to get a lot of that done. As I mentioned the other day, there is a lot of work that goes into getting ready for planting season. I feel that yesterday was very productive. I even organized the seed catalogs, receipts, orders, and planning calendars! Yesterday, it's gone and today is here - time to keep on moving!

Today, I am planning to spread manure if it is not too sloppy. There is manure from an inside lot that the rain has not got into. That might work. However, I have to see what the temperature will be around nine. If it is still frozen, I should be able to get a couple of loads in. Unfortunately, It looks like it is going to warm up too fast. If I am unable to spread manure today, I will work on the seed room and rack. Thursday night I teach, so I will need to look over my lesson this afternoon. There is always something to do. So, time for me to go and tackle my day. This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!


Manure - I Am Excited!

I never thought the would come that I would be excited to haul manure, but I can honestly say that I am pumped! It is really going to be a lot of fun getting out in the field today. I will probably freeze and it won't be the most pleasant smell, but I really can't wait to build this soil up to its fullest potential. I was able to get all of my seed orders in yesterday and should have the seeds by the end of the week and the first of next week. I was not able to get the seed room finished today, but I am hoping that by Friday it will be completed so I can seed next week.

The cold frame and the hotbed are still under construction. Again, I hope to get these done very soon.It involves hauling soil and shoveling it into both frames. Then I will be able to get some of the cold tolerant crops planted for an earlier market. Nonetheless, it is very exciting seeing all of this come together. Besides all of that, tonight I get to have one of my favorite meals, Chicken and Biscuits. Here is my recipe:


Chicken and Biscuits

½ cup butter

1/3 cup flour

1½ cup chicken stock

¾cup milk

1 tsp salt

few grindings pepper

1/16 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt

½ tsp poultry seasoning

2 cups diced chicken

1 cup diced carrots (cooked)

1 cup peas (cooked)




1. Melt butter in a large frying pan.

2. Blend in flour, stirring with a fork.

3. Slowly add stock and milk, stirring.

4. Add seasonings.

5. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until slightly thick.

6. Add remaining ingredients.

7. Cook until heated thoroughly.

8. Slice biscuits in two & place both halves on plates.

9. Pour a generous amount of chicken mixture over the biscuits and serve.


Stinky Gold

Today I am heading out with one of my best friends to get a load of cow and chicken manure. This stuff is like black gold for the garden! Chicken manure is the richest animal manure in N-P-K. One has to be a little careful with chicken manure as it is "hot" and needs to be composted before applying it to the soil. Otherwise, it will burn any plants it comes in contact with. Chicken manure for vegetable garden fertilizing will produce excellent soil for  vegetables to grow in. The vegetables will grow bigger, tastier and healthier through the use of chicken manure fertilizer.

Cow manure is probably one of the best soil-builders around; it is great for garden use; and it can be used as a topdressing and for soil improvement, I like to use well-rotted cow manure in the garden. Cow manure fertilizer in all forms are a good addition to the vegetable garden. However the nutrient value does differ greatly. If one obtains manure that has been heaped up and permitted to heat up, a lot of its nitrogen may already have dissipated as ammonia. However, you can still gain organic material in the soil. Much of the valuable digestive enzymes will also have been destroyed by the high temperatures at the heap's core. Again, I prefer manure that has composted as not to burn the plants.

Today is just the first step in the soil building process. Some of the manure I am getting today is older and almost completely composted. I will pile it and allow it to compost more before I apply it to the ground. I will then work it into the soil when the ground is ready. All I have to do today is load it and haul it. I compare this to gold prospecting! The manure being rich in value to my future crop! I'm getting excited!!!

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