Boulder Belt Eco-Farm

  (Eaton, Ohio)
We Sell the Best, Compost the Rest

Boulder belt farm Share initiative Vol 3 issue 4


Good morning, It's our 4th week of this locavore madness and I hope things start to get better. You may have noticed that your shares are quite small (and if you have not noticed this, trust me, they are smaller than in past springs). this is because of all the rain we have been getting. The rain has flooded the main market garden several times but it drains very quickly and will be workable as long as we get a couple of rain free days. the bottom garden is still vert wet and will likely remain that way for a week as it does not drain very well. This could mean we get no popcorn this fall and perhaps some other crops as May is when these things need to be planted and if we cannot get into the beds to till, fertilize and plant in a timely manner that the possibility for success goes way down. We do try to mitigate the failures by growing a vast array of crops (around 55 of them, more when you take into account the differing cultivars within each variety), using row covers and hoop houses (the hoop houses do keep the rain off the soil but when it is as wet as it has been the water infiltrates under the houses and floods them from beneath). And we do a lot of succession planting mainly to keep the harvest going as long as possible and with the highest quality but this also means that in nasty conditions we should sooner or later hit a optimal time to plant a particular crop. For example, the arugula is bummed out big time due to all the wet and it does not want to grow right now (we have planted it 2x at this point). But we will continue to replant every week or so (or whenever the weather lets us do so) and sooner or later we will plant it at a time it likes and it will grow swiftly and do great. Of course there are some crops where this does not work, garlic and parsnips come to mind. Garlic takes around 250 days to grow to harvestable size. If we were to lose the garlic this spring it would be this fall before we could replant (and we would lose 100% of our seed stock and it would cost us something like $1800 to replace it-garlic seed is very very expensive and heavy to ship) and we simply would not have any this year (this would be very bad for us as garlic is one of our bigger crops that we grow not just for you FSI members but other markets as well). But other crops like greens, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, beans, tomatoes, peas, basil, cilantro etc.. we plant several times a season and they are fast (under 2.5 months to go from seed to harvesting) and if we lose one or two sowings we know that the 3rd (or in some cases 4th or 5th) sowings should work. And this, my friends, is part and parcel of the agreement that we share in the risk together. Bad weather can mean small shares and the possibility of no shares for a week or so in the future. And no, you do not get your money back, nor will I seek out food grown elsewhere to fill the shares in case of a 100% failure (but I also do not expect that to happen). It could be far worse. I have friends doing CSA's in SW Ohio, in the midwest and on the east coast who have delayed starting their seasons because they do not have anything planted yet. This is especially true of the farms that are dependent on large equipment such as tractors to do the work for them. One cannot take something that weighs several tons into a muddy field and expect anything other than ruined soil and stuck equipment. So those folks must wait until the soil is quite dry (and many of them report that right now their fields are under water and have been for over 2 weeks and will be for another week or more). We, on the other hand, can get into our fields when it is still quite wet as we work lightly. This means, while we have not been able to work many days in mid to late April/early May, we were able to get out some days and get seedlings in the ground (way to wet to direct seed, the seeds just rot in the wet) and even get most of a bed of lettuce for spring mix weeded (this is tedious work as we have to remove tiny weed seedlings from in-between very densely planted lettuce seedlings and it can only be done by hand and it takes one person, me, several hours to do a bed and if it is too muddy than mud and weeds stick to your fingers so badly you cannot continue). But there have been too many days we have not been able to do any outside work because one should not work with really wet soil at all so even if it has not been raining the soils were still too wet to safely work in without ruining their structure (this is a BIG deal to us Organic growers). The good news is today is the first day of several dry days (perhaps 6 of 'em!) and that means we can start to get caught up on all the things that need to be done like mowing the aisles between the beds and other grassy places, more compost can be applied to beds along with sulfur and a pelleted Organic fertilizer we started using last year with great results (and the soils need the fertilizer as all the rain/flooding has depleted a lot of nutrients for the moment that need to be put back), than as the soils get dryer we can get to work planting the thousands of seedlings that have been backing up up cold frames and hoop houses and finally Eugene can break out the tiller and get the final beds ready for things like peppers, tomatoes, green beans and other summer planted crops. As you can see, we keep planting stuff pretty much all season (until early November) and that alone usually insures we will have things to put into your shares despite some bad spates of weather at some point in the season. And I know we will appreciate this rain filling up our wells and aquifers come the droughts of summer as I fully expect at some point in June or July that the tap will be turned off and we will not see any rain for several months and we at Boulder Belt will have to start irrigating the crops (as we do almost every summer). Well, that's the news this week. Shares will be ready, as usual, after 4 pm. this week they will most likely be in the front fridge as I have it turned on in order to sell asparagus from the store. So look for the glowing box to your right as you come in the store and you bag will be in there. Any shares still on the farm come Saturday morning at 6 am will be taken to the Oxford Farmers Market unless you tell us otherwise. Please feel free to walk around the farm and talk to us farmers. even better if you want to volunteer a couple of hours of time working here just ask, we love teaching people how to grow food and we have a lot of work to be done in the next couple of weeks. remember to bring back any packaging we used. We do not want other packaging like used produce bags from where ever you shop or news paper rubber bands-those things we have to recycle or otherwise deal with. We just want the stuff we sent home with you. Oh and any plastic or paper grocery bags in clean condition (we have gotten very dirty bags in the past and we have to throw those out which means we have to pay to toss out your garbage, so keep it clean)



Simple Salad Dressing

2 to 3 TBL vinegar (I mix balsamic and rice vinegar together but apple cider or other kinds will do)

1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 TBL honey

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves of fresh garlic smashed as finely as possible)

1 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp each of dried basil and oregano. Or substitute your favorite herbs, tarragon is also wonderful in this.

Experiment with the various herbs you are and will be getting through the season. Oh yeah, if using fresh herbs use 2x more than with dried In a dressing carafe or pint jar put in the honey salt and vinegar and shake vigorously until the honey salt and vinegar are all mixed. Add the oil and herbs and shake again and than let sit at least 1 hour so the flavors can marry, than use on a salad. This will last out of refrigeration at least 10 days

What's in the Share this Week

Asparagus- you will get at least 1/2 pound of purple (the best asparagus ever) and 1/2 pound of green

Spring Mix- this is the crop that got us into market farming. This should have been coming in for weeks but the rain slowed down growth. But we have it now

Radish- another bunch of D'Avignon radishes

Garlic chives- these things LOVE the wet weather

Lettuce- like last week green and red oak leafed lettuces. but the heads should be bigger than last week so the bags bigger

Green Garlic- This is garlic that has not yet developed a corm. You eat the greens like green onions (really onion greens). We have found several clumps of this around the garden this spring and it must come out so you get a new thing to try

Scallions-you get a bunch of at least 7 scallions this week.

Leeks-2 king Seig leeks

Parsley-a bag stuffed with fresh Italian parsley

Tarragon-a bag not so stuffed with tarragon

Rosemary-a several sprigs of fresh rosemary

We may also include rhubarb and kale in the shares. When I looked a couple of days ago we did not have much of either but I might be able to eek out enough of each for 8 shares or what I will likely do is make up 4 bundles of rhubarb and 4 bags of kale and randomly assign them to your shares unless you contact me before 1 pm this afternoon and give me a preference. So if you either really hate rhubarb or really want some it would be good to let me know. And, of course, there is a decent possibility that we will have enough rhubarb for all. But I do not think we will have enough kale for everyone this week as we are switching from the over wintered kale that has started to make flower stalks and has quit making leaves to the spring planted kale that is not growing as fast as it should this time of year so the plants are still small (or were when I foliar fed them a kelp/fish mix we use and perhaps that got some good growth started-of course right after I fed them it started raining again and likely washed all the good away

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