Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices
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The "To-Do" List

How many of you have a "To-Do" list? I am really not much of a list person, but in the effort to become more organized, I have created a "To-Do" list for the immediate time. These are some things I will be concentrating in the upcoming days and weeks:

  • Move more soil to transplanting area 
  • Bend hoops for low tunnels and row covers
  • Erect seedling house
  • Prepare transplanting flats
  • Back-fill around High Tunnel #2
  • Fix tire on hay rack
  • Put all produce boxes upstairs in building #3
  • Finish bean harvest
  • Package more popcorn
  • Put up small greenhouse for transplants
  • Change oil in my van
  • Take down old hoop houses
  • Cut wood for office wood burner
  • Organize tool room and storage area
  • Haul greenhouse tables
  • Prepare soil in high tunnels
  • Assemble drip tubes for High Tunnels
  • Measure plastic for low tunnels and row cover
This is just an abbreviated list. The work of a farmer never ends. When it is not fit to be out in the field or even outside, there is plenty of bookwork, planning and construction to do inside. So, you know I will be busy!!! Have a great day! Blessings!
 
 

Leeks - Cold Frame - Hot Bed

One of our main goals at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce is to produce a top quality vegetable, and make it available over a long period of time. This means finding ways to extend the normal growing season. One avenue we have used the past year is high tunnel farming. This year we actually expanded by adding a second high tunnel. We also have several smaller cold frames and heat beds. Once our seeds have germinated, they are hardened off in either the cold frame, cool house (has some supplemental heat) or the hot bed. The hot bed is basically a cold frame with heated soil. We placed heat coils beneath the soil in the bottom of the cold frame to make a hot bed. Years ago, farmers used fresh manure beneath the soil in a hot bed to heat the soil as the manure composted. We are a little more tech savvy.

 

I am getting the hot bed ready to use in the next few days, as I will be planting leeks. Leeks are a member of the onion family.  The edible part of the leek plant is a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths which is sometimes called a stem or stalk. As the leek grows in height, soil is pulled around the base of the plant, blanching the stem- making it white and tender. I will be starting the seed indoors in our seed room, and then when they are large enough, I will move them to the hotbed in the plug trays in which they were seeded. Once the field is ready and weather stabilized, I will move them to the field and transplant. Leeks are fairly hardy and can be planted several weeks prior to the last frost date, so I will move them out as soon as it is fit. The variety we are growing is Lancelot.

 

 

 

Here is a great recipe for Leeks:

 

Leeks Au Gratin

Makes 8 servings

 

2 lbs leeks

1/4 c butter, plus about 1 Tbsp

2 Tbsp flour

3/4 c milk

1 Tbsp white wine

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 c grated baby Swiss cheese

1/4 tsp Tabasco or similar hot sauce

1. Cut white and tender portion of green leek leaves lengthwise, and then into 1-inch pieces.

2. Boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; place in buttered casserole.

3. In saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/4 c butter; stir in flour. Whisk in milk and wine. Stir and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and Tabasco; pour over leeks. Sprinkle with cheese.

4. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly. Dot with remaining butter, and brown under broiler, 3-5 minutes.

 

 
 

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

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:

  http://www.farmworldonline.com/News/NewsArticle.asp?newsid=14547

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!

 
 

Windy Cold Day

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!

 
 
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