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Agrarian Harvest

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

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Spring

Time to Plant

There is a time for everything . . . A time to plant and a time to uproot . . . What do workers gain from their toil? . . .  He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. . . . There is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

There are many cycles in life.  And it is time for us start our cycle of planting, growing and toiling, which we pray will have a beautiful and blessed outcome. With the time change and a little warmer temperatures, we are more motivated to get to work and work longer into the evening. Lettuce is growing in cold frame 1. We built a third cold frame this Spring. This is where most of the seedlings are going to be started. Planting is already underway and seedlings are coming up. Potatoes are planted too. We will be planting many more seeds in the near future. DSCN9903

Cold frame 2 has been taken over by the cows. They decided it is a nice warm “shed” to take shelter in when a storm hits and where they spent their nights during the winter. We decided to let the cows have that cold frame for the time being. It is our largest cold frame and also our most problematic one. It’s so large it is hard to keep the plastic on it, the plastic rips or wind picks the whole thing up. Really, it’s issue is the height; it’s just too tall. We have decided we like and can maintain the shorter longer cold frames better. And have had a discussion of a abandoning it or taking it down. Although, the farmer is now talking about experimenting with growing sweet potatoes in cold frame 2 this year. So the cows may lose their “shed” for the summer. They spend most their days and nights out at pasture now anyway since the weather has warmed and the grass is growing.  

Another cycle taking place on the farm; chicks are hatched. They are in that cute phase of life with yellow fuzz covering their bodies and have adorable little “cheep, cheeps” coming from their tiny beaks. In the near future, they will lose their baby fuzz and start to grow feathers; growing into that awkward, ugly phase. Then into a full sized bird so we can have chickens available in June.

The seasons will keep cycling along with all the other cycles of life, but for a brief moment, we can look around and smile at all the joy that Spring brings before the real work begins.

March Longings

March is here along with thoughts and longings for Spring and greens. March feels like a breath of fresh air after spending our winter months hibernating in the house. Like a bear coming out of hibernation,  we are really craving fresh food, specifically greens. I feel I could eat a large plate piled high with greens at every meal like a cow at the feed bunk eating her greens twice a day. Yes, I referred to myself as a cow. The farmer has compared me to a cull Hereford cow for years due to complications with pregnancy, childbirth and low milk production. And whenever a needle comes out to draw blood, the farmer will compare it and the needle size to bleeding sheep. Growing up on a farm and then becoming a farm wife, I’ve grown accustom to being compared to an animal. Everything is compared to what we are familiar with, which are animals and plants.

For all of us green hungry people, the farmer has planted a couple of beds of greens: lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Although, they are barely starting to emerge from the ground, I’m very eager for those first greens of Spring. They are planted in one of our cold-frames so there is no heat, just what the sun provides. We are at the mercy of mother nature. This past month it was too cold. We are looking forward to March warming up so our cold frames will too. Our farming son, who has the itch to grow plants just like his daddy, has planted lettuce and radishes in pots in the house. He is trying to beat his dad at getting the first greens of the Spring.  

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Radish Seedlings

And the plastic has been put on our smaller cold frame so it is ready to start seeds. We start all our plants from seed right here on the farm. We will be starting seedlings this month too. Our growing season is officially underway!

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.

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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

 

Harmful or Helpful?

At planting time last year, we were amazed at all the earthworms and had to do a little research on them. We still a lot of earthworms; large, medium, and many babies. This Spring we have been seeing Armadillidida or commonly known as roly polys or pill bugs everywhere on our farm and lots of them. These “bugs” (they really aren’t bugs; keep reading and I’ll go further in-depth on that) have always been fun to find for the kids. They love seeing roly polys roll up when touched, which is a defense mechanism, then wait for them to unroll so they can touch them again and sometimes roll them around the palm of their hand.

 

We are seeing a whole lot more roly polys than we have in the past. So, of course, this lead to a little research project. Part because we love learning and part because we were wondering if they were beneficial or are they going to be pest. We were quite happy to learn that they are beneficial and help with the decomposing process. They eat decaying plant and animal material. We provided the organic matter and now they have moved in to help with the breaking down of the organic matter, to increase our soil fertility. Hurrah! We read that they could feed on seedlings and plant roots, but tend to eat decaying material when it is available. We have a lot of decaying plant material available and have not had any problems with them feeding on plant roots or seedlings. There are thousands in the cold frame where we have greens growing and started all of our seedlings. They haven’t kill any seedlings.

 

It was also quite interesting to learn that they are actually not a bug, they are a land crustacean and are related to shrimp. They like dark moist places and have gill-like structures used to breath, but can’t live underwater. They don’t urinate, but instead release an ammonia gas through their exoskeleton. And they shed their exoskeleton as they grow. The back half sheds first, then the front half. The females carry their eggs and newly hatched babies in a special pouch before they start crawling out to walk on their own. Huh. . . . the things we learn through hand-on activities and work with curious minds questioning everything! This little organic piece of Earth we live on just amazes us! 

The Anticipated Season is Upon Us

It feels like all we do this time of year is plant, plant, plant . . . . .  and there is still more to plant. We are nowhere near done planting. This week has thrown other events into our schedule and has interrupted our planting rhythm. We are entering into our market season. So our weekly schedule and rhythm will be changing from a spring planting routine to our summer plant, weed, harvest, market routine. It may sound like a lot and, honestly, some days it feels like a lot. And then other days there is not enough to do, but that has not been the case this week. 

 

It has been a very busy week or at least it feels busy compared to our spring planting routine. We had our organic inspection, which started a day before it was scheduled and lasted into the next day. That was a ridiculously long and drawn out process for the small acres and production that we do. In the middle of our inspection, we had our broiler chicks and ducklings arrive a day early. And now we are getting ready for the first Twin Falls Farmers’ market on Saturday, and then there is more planting. Please nobody call and tell us the market is going to be on Friday instead of Saturday. Everything has been happening a day early this week and it feels a bit like a nightmare. As long as today is actually Friday and not Saturday, then we are pretty excited about this first farmers’ market. We planned better this year and have more produce ready for the market. We will have a lot of kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula, along with rhubarb, green garlic, green onions, radishes, herbs, eggs, salad dressings,  handmade soap, and laundry detergent.

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In the previous paragraph, I mentioned ducklings. Yes, we now have ducklings! Ducks are our experiment for this year. We are going to try to raise khaki cambell ducks, they are suppose to be good layers. We are all very happy and excited, especially me. Beside the fact that they are the cutest little poultry critters ever! They don’t scratch like chickens (yes!!!) and are excellent foragers. I think the ducks are going to go over very well with the family and become a permanent part of our farm. I will keep you updated on the ducks throughout the summer.  I’m confident this duck project will be much more successful than our garlic and sweet potato projects were last year.  

Low Tunnels

We are getting the low tunnels up and cool weather produce transplanted in the field. We decided to use low tunnels this year to extend our growing season, being able to plant earlier and then to allow our produce to grow later into the fall. Although, this spring has been warmer than usual and so far have not needed the low tunnels covered. We only have one row covered, thinking we would not need to cover them this spring since the temperature has been warm and staying about normal. Then last night it freezes. But so far all the plants have tolerated the frost and are doing fine.

The low tunnel technique seems to work well and we are very excited to be using them. This will allow us to be way more productive, which makes life a whole lot less stressful and allows us to laugh more often. We have started thousands of cool weather tolerant plants like broccoli, cabbage and kale in the cold frame several months ago and are now able to plant them outside. This frees up space in the cold frame for thousands of more seeds to be started of our later season plants like tomatoes and peppers. This has allowed us to start thousands of more seeds than in previous years. We are getting them planted in a timely manner and in stages. This makes us feel so much more efficient. We are so excited about this growing season.

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