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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and organic, small farm life.

Farm Wife Garden & Necessities

I have my own garden and growing space. I call it the farm wife’s garden. When a farmer and his wife both like to grow plants and have different ideas of when and how to plant and what to plant, you need your own spaces. Or at least that is true for us. The farmer has control of most of the farm and I get the yard and my own gardening space. In my garden, I get to design it the way I like (it’s my work of art, my masterpiece), plant what I want, but I also have to feed the family and be able to do all of our canning from my garden.

In my garden (the farm wife’s garden), I’ve been doing a no-till growing method and mulching a lot with wood chips and straw. Last year, the garden didn’t produce very well and the quack grass took over. Reluctantly, I decided I would need to till again this year. I spent a couple of days scooping poop out of the chicken house and hauling it to the garden. I spread a generous amount of chicken manure on it and then attempted to rototill with our small walk behind rototiller. It kept getting bound up on the grass. Before I could even make one pass the full length of the garden, the rototiller die! Apparently, the grass was too hard on it and broke a piece that drives the tines. So we reverted to the tractor and big rototiller. It wasn’t able to get through the root mass either so we hooked up the renovator to break through the grass roots and loosen it up. Then rototilled. We waited a week to let the grass roots that remained to start to grow again and then tilled again. . . . .  wait two more weeks and till again.

After this experience, I have a new appreciation of tools/equipment that are needed to make farming easier . . .  or in my case large gardening easier. If you are new to small farming or just thinking of doing it, here is what I consider necessary tools and equipment: shovel, hoe, small tractor to operate rototiller, mower/whipper, renovator and plastic layer. A shovel is a must and used for so much on a daily basis. From irrigating, to dig holes, scoop soil to dig weeds out or just chop weeds down.  A hoe (hoop hoe preferable, in my opinion)  for planting and weeding; used a lot for weeding unless you cover your whole planting area in plastic. And a tractor and small implements to work the ground with ease, quicker and with less muscle aches. And our new piece of equipment this year is a plastic layer, a purchase I thought could wait until next year  but the farmer insisted it was a need this year. I now know he was right. We have laid so much plastic so quickly and the plastic is so tight and neat on the row; much better than doing it by hand with a shovel. I am very happy with the farmers new toy.

plastic layer
This is the first row laid with the plastic layer. The beds are firmer, more uniform, easier to plant in & the wind can’t pick up the plastic. The rows on the right were laid by hand using a shovel to throw dirt on the plastic. The difference is amazing!

Something new for me this year is straw bale gardening. I have read and heard about it, but don’t know anyone who has done it. So I’m trying it with just a couple of bales because I’m afraid of failing again – like my no-till, mulch gardening method. I’m interested in watching plants grow out of the bales and cover the bale like a hanging basket. If you are interested in trying straw bale gardening too and are in search of straw, look no more. We still have Organic straw bales for sale.   Organic Wheat Straw

Enjoy your growing. And don’t be afraid to try something new! Life is one giant experiment.

June Happenings & Plans  

  • Finish Planting
  • We expect to have sugar snap peas, radishes, & zucchini ready this month.
  • Wood River Farmers’ Markets begin; Ketchum June 13th & Hailey June 29th  Farmers’ Markets
  • And daily weeding begins!

May Produce & Planting

May is the month of planting for us. The busyness of planting has already started and will only get crazier as the month goes on. Since the weather delayed our ability to plant all of our cool weather vegetables earlier in the spring, we are now in a rush to get every plant and seed of all our produce in the ground.

On the bright side, our first greens of the year are ready. Part of our kale has overwintered and we have been picking it.  We will do the first cutting of the early planted kale, spinach and lettuce at the end of the week! Last month, we had our first meal of the year that included our homegrown, wholesome kale. We sauted the kale with garlic, grilled steak kabobs with onions and bell peppers. It was delicious!! The first kale of the season is exciting to us, it is always our first greens of the season. In early spring, we are starved for greens, especially ones we harvest ourselves. And it is very exciting to think of our first cutting of lettuce and spinach too!! The first greens of the season always taste the best.

We tend to get caught up in all the work that needs to be done, so I have to remind myself and the farmer to enjoy the season and don’t stress, no matter how much there is to do. Do a little bit at a time and it will all eventually get done.  I’m a doer, a hard worker, and a pusher when it comes to getting through a to-do list, it’s not a race, although I feel I need to race through the tasks. I have to take a deep breath, lifting my face to the sun and smiling . . . . . . because the sun is shining and it is warm . . . . .  finally! So I will enjoy planting. And not think of all the weeding that will need to be done before long.

May Happenings & Plans

  • Plant, plant and more planting
  • Twin Falls Farmers Market starts Saturday May 13th, 9 am – 1 pm at Breckenridge Endowment Farm on North College Road.
  • CSA (full season) deadline is May 15th, this deadline does not include the partial season shares. You can continue to sign up for partial season shares throughout the spring and summer.         csa2017
  • Full season and Spring partial season CSA begins this month! We will email or call you with the exact date.
  • Meat bundles still available        Beef              Pork

 

 

Blow, Row Cover, Blow

Let the work begin. And that we have.

The last couple of weeks its been days full of working ground, laying plastic, planting cool weather vegetable seedlings, and then putting the row cover in place. In between the storms, that is. With the storms comes the wind. The wind can be annoying, frustrating and make our life on the farm complicated. We have had issues keeping the row cover in place with the wind whipping it around. The wind also tears it up or can just pull it off all together, which we have had happen within a couple of hours after we put it on. So we have tried the clamps only, sandbags only and have discovered we need to use a combination of clamps and sandbags along the sides and staking the ends down.  Yet, it always seems to weasel its way out of whatever we use so that it can blow in the wind. It just can’t resist to have its ends or edges fluttering and flapping like hair blowing in the wind.

Needless to say, we live and learn. Everyday is a learning experience on this farm. Meanwhile, we are trying to patiently wait for calm, sunny days. The wind can wear on a person . . . . . . . . and on row cover.

 

April Happenings & Plans

  • More ground work
  • Lay plastic
  • Planting cool weather vegetables
  • Our kale overwintered, is growing again and is ready to eat. Our first kale of the year is available in 4 oz, 8 oz or 1 lb bags.    Produce
  • CSA shares still available  Produce CSA
  • More pigs ready to for the butcher, we have pork and pigs available for purchase.   Pork

Green . . . Life Springs Forth

Green! I can see green growing again. It is so nice to see green . . .  plants growing again: grass and even weeds, lots of weeds. At this point, I’m happy to see weeds growing. Some will be tilled under when we roto-till the ground and others will just be a nuisance to deal with all summer. But after the long, snowing winter we had . . . . . . .  I’m welcoming the growth of weeds.

DSCN8656

Of course, I’m excited for the growth of vegetables too!! The greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and swiss chard) have all been planted and the low tunnels are up. Thousand of seeds have been started in the cold frame and are up and grgarlic sproutsowing. The garlic is growing too. It’s a beautiful sight to look out the window to admire the rows of green sprigs of garlic starting to grow. And, the crazy farmers we happen to be, are trying something new this year; we planted peas. Yes, we
plant and grow peas every year, but never have we planted peas this early in the Spring. We’ll see how it works. If it works out, we’ll have peas available at the beginning of farmers market season.

Along with plant life beginning, Spring also brings on the joy of babies being born. Animals all over the farm are having babies; there are kittens, calves, chicks and piglets.  Although, at our farm pig farrow at all times of the year. Since we farrow all year round, we also have pork available during all the seasons instead of just one time a year. We have several pigs that are ready to be butchered and also have weaned piglets available. If you are interested in buying a pig contact us, we have several that are ready to go. We are also working on putting together bundles of pork and beef at various price ranges.           Pork         Beef

March Happenings & Plans

  • Start more seeds
  • Till the fields
  • CSA shares are still available to purchase through the month     csa2017

Spring??? Please!!!

It’s an exciting day at Agrarian Harvest! It’s 50 degrees outside and the snow is melting!! This is a great feeling for us after having cold temperatures and lots of snow to deal with this winter. We had 6 days this winter that we were actually snowed in. The wind blew and the drifts kept building up in our lane. There was no getting out. Which is fine for me, but the farmer goes a little stir crazy. Snow days are fun, especially when we get the whole family to go out to play fox and geese, sled or build snow forts. But after a month of it (or just one day for the farmer) we are done with winter. It can go away and bring on Spring.

And the farmer is getting ready for Spring. He has been busy filling trays with potting soil, planting shallots, leeks and celery. He’s also been getting the cold frame ready for plants. We had a duck nesting in cold frame. She managed to hatch a couple of eggs, but the ducklings didn’t make it. She was a first time mama and it was just too cold.

We are excited for another year of farming and very eager to get plants growing. By the way, our rock chucks didn’t see their shadows. I know this because it was cloudy all day. As I type this, they are busy running around the rock piles, telling me that spring is on its way. So we feel that famous groundhog way over in the East is wrong.

 

February Happenings & Plans

This month is going to be a full of getting seeds planted and started. We also plan to get lettuce, spinach and arugula in the ground for early cutting for farmers markets and CSA.

We have pigs ready for butcher. They will be going to the butcher as soon as can get the trailer back to the corral to load them.  If you want a whole or half pig, now is the time put your order in. We will have more pork by the cut available in early March. Until then, you check our pork page for the cuts we currently have available.      Pork

We will once again be offering a vegetable CSA this year. And we now have four pick up locations, we added Ketchum to our pick up locations.  Here is a link to our 2017 CSA application.   csa2017

 

Another Year

It’s a new year. The time of year when people are making resolutions. I have never liked the word “resolution”, but a word I can focus on is goal. A goal is something to work toward. It gives you ambition to put all your effort into achieving it. So we have goals on this farm. Our goals for 2017 are:

  • To keep doing what we do; grow Organic, wholesome produce
  • Grow more produce to provide our community with wholesome produce
  • Continue to make a living at it
  • Take care of the soil
  • Learn to live with quack-grass

 

We would like to work toward our goals with plans. Our plans for this growing season are:

  • Produce CSA
  • Meat CSA  (something new we are working on)
  • Being at more farmers’ markets. We are planning on adding the Ketchum Farmers’ Market to our market schedule this year.
  • Planting more acres of produce

At this time, we don’t have a plan on how to live in harmony with quack-grass without it causing us headaches.  . . . . but I’m sure we will figure it out.

 

We are excited for all that 2017 holds for us.  We would also like to thank all of our supporters for choosing to support local in 2016. We are looking forward to growing for you in the new year.

 

Vacation, Farmer-cation or Field Trip?

We took a vacation to the Oregon Coast. Or maybe it wasn’t really a vacation. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, a vacation is freedom from any activity or a period of rest and freedom from work and study. The kids have informed us it was not a vacation because they had to walk the beach everyday which is work. Our farm boy wanted a simple machine to make the work easier, he got tired of walking in the sand.  Our oldest informed him that it would take more than one simple machine so it would actually be a compound machine. And they had to study. We were reading and learning about all the new marine life we saw, glass blowing, and Oregon’s history. “Do schoolwork? We are suppose to be on vacation,” they said. Then we had to go to a farmers’ market to see all the produce they had available and to support fellow farmers. The kids really complained at this point because we are at farmers’ markets two days of every week of the growing season at home. So it may not of been a vacation if you want to get technical, maybe it was a farmer-cation for the farmer and myself and a field trip for the kids.

Whatever it was, we had a great time exploring the Oregon Coast, seeing sea lions, learning about glass floats, exploring tide-pools and whale watching. We were even lucky enough to meet a wonderful couple who supports Organic farming that told us how to spot whales. We enjoyed our little visit with them. It was one of the highlights of our trip.  Overall, all the sights and sounds were amazing.

Now we have to adjust to being home and getting back into a routine again. A major adjustment for me is getting used to hearing the dog bark at night. I got used to hearing the ocean waves all night and now I have to listen to our Great Pyrenees dog bark all night long. A trait of the Great Pyrenes breed that I have never enjoyed. His bark is great for warding off predators, but makes it  hard to get a good nights sleep. . . .  I wonder if I could get a dog who’s bark sounds like the ocean. . . . . Then there is also the change of scenery. It is awfully nice waking up and seeing the ocean. The view was always breathtaking on the coast.

The farmer and I enjoyed our trip so much that we are wondering if it would be possible for us to spend our winters on the coast. Or what about farming by the coast? We always like to think outside the box and of all the possibilities. And the kids have decided that if this was a field trip, then we need to go on field trips more often!

 

First Frost

We had our first frost last week, signalling the end of the growing season. We had plans of covering all our tomatoes with a cloth cover to protect them and keep them growing later into the fall. But the plants had slowed way down on producing, the wind was blowing (which would of made it extremely had to keep them covered if we could of got the cover on), and we were extremely tired. So we didn’t cover anything, which means no more tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers or zucchini. However, we did pick everything on the plants before they froze. We do have lots of peppers available if you want to freeze any or to freeze stuffed peppers for a quick healthy meal this winter. We also have 6 cases of tomatoes left mostly romas and san marzanos.

In the weeks to come we will still have kale, swiss chard, celery, carrots, small onions, sugar pie pumpkins, winter squash, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage, eggs, handmade soap, laundry detergent, chicken, pork and beef.

The first frost and fall also means the end of farmers’ market season. The Hailey Farmers’ Market ended with the last market on October 13th. The last Twin Falls Farmers’ Market is on October 29, which will consist of a harvest festival too with lots of fun activities for kids. Although, the markets are ended doesn’t mean we will disappear until Spring. We will still be making regular deliveries to the Wood River Valley and Twin Falls. You can email or call us to put in an order and we will schedule a delivery time with you. You can also have your email added to our mailing list and we will keep you up to date on what is available and when we will be planning delivery dates in your area.

 

 

Falling Back . . . Slowing Down

Are we ready for the fallback time change? No! We like the days of longer light. I honestly cannot believe that summer is over already. It feels like we just celebrated the 4th of July and now it’s September! We are ready for the slow down of the harvest season and that is what fall brings for us, a slow down. The produce is feeling the effect of the shorter hours of daylight and cooler temperatures. The few zucchini plants that are still living and the melons have slowed their production down significantly. The only plants producing abundantly still are the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and kale.

The one thing we hope will increase in production in the fall are the duck eggs. The ducks have started laying and we have  started our daily duck egg search. We have found eggs in the driveway and backyard. Since our ducks are free range and get to roam the farm and yard that gives us large search area so far. So, this fall, we plan to learn about ducks laying habits.

There are things we look forward to in fall that comes with the changing of seasons besides the slow down of work. We look forward to the changing colors of fall, the smell and taste of pumpkin and settling into a school routine again. There is something about the changing of seasons that allows us to look around, breath deep and take everything around us in. Along with seeing the beauty of it all we start to think, talk and plan for next year. What will we plant, how much and what will next year bring for us? The possibilities are endless.

 

 

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