Eco-Logical ... Healthy Soil Means Healthy Food ... It's only Logical
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Another mild winter here at the Farm. Though the temperatures are a little colder than last year and we've had a bit more snow ... in general, it's been an "easy" winter to get through.
It's Maple Syrup season here in our area of Logan County. We have tapped our trees on Valentine's Day, February 14, for many years. It's an easy date to remember and our woods is a north-facing woods that tends to start later in the season than some other places. But this year, on February 6, we had a beautiful, sunny, 60 degree day and decided we'd just take advantage of dry trails and no wind. With our new drill we were able to tap 30 trees before recharging. We only put out 47 taps this year; we're very small scale. We cook in a 3-pan system, heating with wood, so the going is slow. We're happy to get a gallon a day. When we reach our self-allotted 10 gallons, we usually quit ... unless we're in the middle of a good run.
Well, this year, as of February 18 we already have 6 gallons of syrup made! So, we're either in for an early spring ... or it's going to be a very good year for syrup. Maybe we should have been tapping early all along. But in years past, our woods never kicked in until mid to late February, so we just chose February 14 as a good compromise.
We have a pretty good following at our Farmers' Market for the syrup. I know we could start selling it now and be sold out in no time. But, since we don't have a lot of produce to begin Market with on the first Saturday in May, the Syrup makes a good draw to get people coming back to the Market at the beginning of the season. We sell out pretty quick, but Maple Syrup-making is quite a project and we have to limit ourselves to only a few taps. We collect everything by bucket and have to carry it to the "camp" for cooking, so we only collect from trees within a short distance.
Once the sap starts flowing, we start getting pretty busy with other spring projects. Covering the hoophouses, starting seeds, anxiously watching the soil for signs we can start tilling, etc. See you soon at the Market!
Posted by Jan
@ 07:05 AM PST
We've kicked into high gear here with weeding, planting and spring harvesting for our Farmers' Market. What started out looking like a dry spring turned rainy and we've had some nice rains to give the crops a good start without serious flooding. So the weeds are coming on strong now and the sun is shining so weeding is our primary focus.
Of course, we've been planting lots of early spring crops like beets, lettuce, chard and carrots. Our hoop houses have broccoli heading up already and we've been picking some beautiful strawberries. A few tomatoes have set and peas might be ready to pick in another week.
Farmers' Market has been going great! Some rough Saturdays weather-wise, but we've had a good turnout, from both vendors and customers. It's always so good to see people we haven't seen since last year!
So the next few days mean getting the last of the flowers and plants in the ground before the next rains; weeding as much as we can; and planting all the direct-seed crops like squash, more beans, corn, etc.
Our big project this year was also getting our walk-in cooler up and running. It had many problems and would take a whole 'nother "blog" to tell the story ... but we decided to go with the CoolBot system instead of trying to re-install the whole compressor/motor/cooler unit and I couldn't be happier! If we could put this together, anybody could! It's a great system and if you're considering a cooler of some type, look into this unit!
Have a good spring and check back for summer highlights ... Don't forget our Garlic Festival this year on August 15!
Posted by Jan
@ 06:05 PM PDT
Well, it must be officially Market season. We've been so busy getting plastic on the hoophouses and planting them FULL! Market opened on May 1 with showers, but plenty of vendors and customers. It was great to see everyone again after the winter.
I'm always amazed how fast the seasons are going anymore. So ... our garlic looks better than ever so we're definitely planning our next Garlic Festival in August. Onions are looking pretty good, but cutworms are doing a number on them. Spent an hour and a half one evening crawling through the rows, plucking worms off for the chickens....
Some of the best spinach ever wintered over and had a great batch for opening Market. Lettuce is looking good. Lots of beets, radish, peas, etc. coming up. Of course, we're being cautious with frosts and haven't planted any warm-weather crops yet. Andy does have some green beans and edamames out in case we miss the frosts and have the first beans of the season. Saving our own seeds on those two items means we're not out a lot of costs.
Working on our walk-in cooler this year and should have it up and running in a few more weeks. Trying the new CoolBot system. Very impressed with everything I've heard and read and believe it will be the best option for us.
Better get back to the gardens.... Hope your plantings are going well and stop by the Logan County Farmers' Market if you're in Bellefontaine on Saturday mornings!
Posted by Jan
@ 04:46 PM PDT
What a windy April this is! We have all our hoophouses up and covered with plastic. We have tried the new hoop-bender offered by Johnny's Seeds and have 3 sections about 32' up and covered. Then the 50+ wind gusts came.... Removed the plastic, but the plants we had JUST planted took quite a beating. Lost a panel on one of our other greenhouses and worked to save the whole thing from blowing into the next county. After the winds died, we just took the whole thing down and will start over next year...
But nothing major was lost and we made it through the day. Spent Easter weekend planting onions. Have lettuce, bok choi, spinach, peas and other spring goodies planted out in preparation of Market opening May 1. Saw our first asparagus spears popping through the ground. Even though we've had record-breaking warm temperatures already I'm sure we're in for some cold weather before things settle down.
Seems harder this year getting things together. Either I really am getting older or just didn't do enough over winter to stay in shape!
Posted by Jan
@ 10:25 AM PDT
February here has been brutal. What started out as a relatively mild winter turned nasty this past month. I'm sure we have 18-20" of snow piled up everywhere. We usually tap our maple trees on February 14 ... but this year it seemed pointless (and hopeless) to get out there to do it!
But finally a day came with sunny weather and Andy drove the tractor down the main paths into the woods so we didn't have to carry buckets as far. We still had to trudge back through the trees to tap the spiles and hang the buckets. And, lo and behold, they were dripping already! So the next day we collected about 50 gallons of water and began our first cooking of maple syrup. It was a short first run, but it is a beginning. We'll see what the next week brings in. Although it looks cold and dreary ahead ... the trees seem to be listening to something else that we can't hear.
That's one of the beauties of late winter and early spring. Following is a poem I wrote which seems to sum it up for me:
Late Winter Morning
I thought we were the sentient ones,
Emotional, and with free-will
But on this late winter morning …
The distant plink from a broken maple limb
The chattering chickadee and titmouse
Darting through the tangle of bare branches…
The carolina wren shatters the air
The scream of the bluejay.
The crackle of the crow
But it is more than the sounds
That hold my attention
That hold my breath.
There is a sense
That surrounds my space
The swelling of buds,
The shiver of a blade of grass
The earth sighing
As the ice loosens its grip
The air itself
Blowing in spurts
For the drumming of the Pileated
I thought I was the one with plans and purpose
Scattering feed to the chickens
Pinning clothes to the line
Digging winter carrots and parsnips for lunch
But I feel like a boulder
Dropped to the ground
Heavy and awkward
As life around me
Swirls and leaps
Dashes and creeps
Through the day,
Through the seasons,
And eons when I’ve gone
Posted by Jan
@ 06:38 AM PST
People always ask us what we do in the winter. I thought I'd put a picture up of some of the things we do. We're not much for traveling anymore. We truly just enjoy our home and farm. Closing it all up and heading south for the winter doesn't even sound like a good time to me. I love watching all of the seasons here at the farm. Andy does get pretty restless when he can't be in the gardens planting or harvesting something. So, once the gardens are all "put to bed" he usually heads for the woods to start cutting wood for our stove. We heat completely with wood, so, as you can see in the photo, we keep a good supply ahead for the winters to come. I usually trek out there with him and help load and haul it up, but I have to admit the past few years it seems we have so much wood stacked, I can't bring myself to keep piling up more.
So, winter gives me some time to finally stay in the house and do some house-cleaning that never gets done during the busy summer months. I always have my own "projects" to do but my main enjoyment after all the work of summer is to take a break from it all. We usually sit by the fire, watch too much tv, and eat too much food!
But it's already time to start making our seed list from all the new catalogs rolling in. And before we know it, it will be time to tap the trees and spring will be on our doorstep. It really is true that the older you get, the faster time seems to go. The seasons come and go so fast anymore I can hardly keep up.
So, slow down a little in the winter. Take the time to sit back and get to know each other again. Summer will return and we'll all be so busy with outdoor activities. For me, winter is a time to rest, just like the trees and the plants and the soil. Enjoy the seasons!
Posted by Jan
@ 01:54 PM PST
This time of year the crops are putting forth their final growth at the same time the gardens are trying to wind down. Tomatoes are falling from the vines, peppers are turning red and yellow. But the pole beans are putting out new shoots and trying to flower again. Andy follows me around the garden, pulling and tilling under as I pull the last fruits from the vines! He loves to work that ground and put in the cover crops rather than harvest this time of year. We've had a great season and I'm freezing beans, canning tomatoes, roasting peppers ... and freezing any leftover crops from Market. The Farmers' Market has been great this year. We have had over 40 vendors sign up to sell their products! And the customers just keep coming.
We have fall cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower that we put in too late for the Market, so we'll have to figure out how to sell it later in the season. Garlic did great again this year and the Garlic Festival was a real hit. We had more food available and the music from Bob Lucas and Friends was excellent, as usual. Our onion crop didn't do as well, but we still have been selling lots of Candy Onions at Market and have a good crop of winter storage onions available.
It's been fun to talk to all the customers at Market about their own gardens this year. It's heartening to see more people growing their own food and being more concerned with where their food comes from. We've already written down a few new varieties to sell, even though we swear we're going to cut back as we're getting older!
Posted by Jan
@ 10:50 AM PDT
We have started the yearly garlic harvest and everything looks pretty good! So, mark your calendars now for our 2nd annual Garlic Harvest Celebration!
We are planning Sunday, August 16, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will once again have all 5 varieties of our garlic for sale. We have also invited Doublecreek Farms (another area grower) to come and offer their other varieties. They also will have frozen home-raised pork products (brats, chops, sausage) for sale. Once again we will have pesto, breads, focaccia and other garlic-enhanced products.
Bob Lucas will also appear with family and friends for musical entertainment. You can bring your own instrument and hope to have a jam session later in the day. Local honey and locally-made cheese products will be for sale, as well as wonderful hand-crafted soaps and lotions from Sonshower Products ... another local producer!
And, of course .... Gene Logsdon will be here to sign his newest book, a greatly up-dated edition of "Small-Scale Grain Raising"
We're very excited about this year's event. We'll have a few extra things to offer, but we really dont' want to get so big that it overshadows the "fun" of just visiting with everyone. So, bring a chair or blanket, hope for a dry day, and bring a cooler to take home your products!
If you come to the Logan County Farmers' Market you can pick up a flyer. Otherwise, keep checking this site and also visit www.oeffa.org on their events calendar for more information.
Posted by Jan
@ 06:37 AM PDT
We are getting the gardens under spring control with weeding and caging tomatoes, etc. Hopefully the next rains will come this week and we'll start all over with weeding again. But everything is looking pretty good right now. We seem to have a pet deer that has invaded the property. We usually don't have a significant problem with deer because we use some electric fence, wood ash, and scarecrows with the Nite Guard hanging on them. But this deer appears to be a day feeder and very tame. We think she may have escaped from a deer "farm" up the road. She certainly took care of this week's romaine lettuce!
But we have a few left for Market this week. What we also have is the beautiful Cheddar Cauliflower. I was never able to grow white cauliflower well because of the blanching; they simply rotted in the center. With the cheddar variety you don't have to blanch and they are the most beautiful orange ... just like cheddar cheese. It may be psychological, but it seems to be sweeter and more "butter-y" to me. It has to have more nutritional value than the plain white.
Green Beans, Broccoli, Kohlrabi and Snap Peas will also be available.
Our squash plants, beets, peppers and tomatoes all have good healthy color. The flowers are starting to grow so before too long I should have bouquets again. I wish I had that new cooler up and running!
Gotta go ... I think it might be raining!
Posted by Jan
@ 02:33 PM PDT
What a day for harvesting for the Farmers' Market tomorrow! We have a beautiful crop of lettuce coming on and I fear some will bolt before we can get it to Market. But right now it is perfection! That lettuce you see me holding is ONE HEAD of Sunset lettuce. The Buttercrunch we have has beautifully formed heads and average 1.3 pounds each. We also harvested a bumper crop of sugar snap peas and spent hours (it seems) packaging them up for Market. We also harvested beets, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, cabbage, our first green beans, and a few other odds and ends.
Anxious to see how it goes at Market tomorrow. Hoping for a big crowd. The sad thing is that strawberries have been advertised for the past two weeks, but none have been at Market and I don't expect any tomorrow again....
Only one producer in the area has a good crop and it is turning slowly with the cool nights. But he is selling all he can pick at his home Market and just can't bring any to the Farmers' Market. I certainly understand.
That's farming, though, isn't it. Have a good day!
Posted by Jan
@ 04:52 PM PDT
Spring is moving right along here on the farm. It seemed like a chilly start and plants weren't doing too much, but as you can see from the new photo, the lettuce has jumped into high gear.
With the crops that we started in our unheated greenhouse, we were able to go to the Farmers' Market last week with not only our lettuce and spinach, but kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, and broccoli. This week we should have a few green beans to take and possibly some of that beautiful cheddar cauliflower and some beets.
We've been really busy with weeding since the last rains and things are looking a little better. But it is still pretty dry for this time of year. We have our field tomatoes mulched and caged and they actually have some tiny tomatoes set. The onions look good, but are way too small, but the garlic is awsome! Andy is busy planting green beans and edamame beans every week for a continuous harvest. All the flowers are planted, squash is up. Even our sweet corn came up pretty good for a change.
With farming it's either too cold, too hot, too wet, or too dry. Today it's too dry and we're hoping that the next rains hits us with a good inch.
Have a good week!
Posted by Jan
@ 05:35 PM PDT
The Logan County Farmers Market opened with 16 vendors this year! It was a beautiful day and very exciting to see so many familiar faces again. We had a huge crowd and I think everyone enjoyed themselves!
We took lettuce, bok choi, asparagus, rhubarb, green onions, maple syrup and a few herbs. We never can get enough ready early enough to keep all our customers satisfied! But "next year" we're going to try something else to be able to provide more early spring product.
We could use new vendors who are committed to early spring crops like the lettuce, spinach, radishes, any other greens, onions, etc. If you're interested or know of a budding gardener in the area, give us a call.
We have all or our onions planted ...around 4400 plants. They aren't looking as good as in year's past. One never knows what mother nature will deal a farmer. But our produce in the hoophouses are growing rapidly and we even have some early green beans up in the garden. We'll see if we get another frost yet this spring that will kill them off....
We planted new purple asparagus this year and all of the plants are up; we didn't lose any. I think we did lose a few of last year's roots, but will fill in those spots when we did out our old beds.
That's it this week on the farm! -- Jandy's
Posted by Jan
@ 09:50 AM PDT
It's spring here on the farm at Jandy's! We have our hoophouses full with snap peas, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, radishes. Andy even has green beans popping through the ground. Our new asparagus beds are shooting up early asparagus but it's too muddy to get to them! Another year and the old beds will be torn out. We planted a new variety of purple asparagus this year and are anxious to see how it does.
Our Rhubarb has never been bigger. I don't know what happened to it. It's the 3rd year, so maybe it finally hit puberty. Our 3 chickens are laying 2-3 eggs a day which is plenty for the two of us. Three chickens for two people is a breeze ... you should try it!
Our Farmers Market is two weeks away (May 2) and we are anxious to see if the lettuce will be ready. On cold, windy days like this, we're not sure. But we'll be there with whatever we have!
Posted by Jan
@ 07:41 AM PDT
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