A note from Jo –

And the beat goes on!

The warm weather looks like it’s finally here (cross your fingers y’all!). The salad greens are taking off, the baby chickens and turkeys are hardening off, some have been off heat permanently, and those who aren’t yet, need heat only at night, and soon not even that as they age and the night time temps warm up. Planting continues and I’ve been busilly potting up tomato, cucumber and other plants from the plug trays they were started in. Some time this week I’ll be seeding trays for more greens, flowers and herbs. On a sad note, last weekend was the last of the green garlic. It’s been a wonderful run, but it had to end sometime. I had planned on harvesting green garlic one last time this weekend, but the garlic is starting to put up it’s scapes. Scapes are to garlic, what a flower stalk is to onions. While onions produce flowers which ultimately yield seeds, garlic produces a head with miniature bulbs called bulbils. Both the scape (the ‘flower stalk’) and the bulbils are edible. Scapes are a time sensitive crop with a very short window, just a week or so. The way the scapes are progressing on this particular garlic, I think that I’ll be picking scapes for the May 15/16 shares. Stay tuned.

With the end of the green garlic comes the introduction of new produce over the next few weeks. Primarilly greens, and new crops going into the ground will ensure that we all have a variety of new things to try out and enjoy. Those of you who’ve expressed interest in vegetable plants will have the opportunity to order tomato plants and cucumber plants this week. The list is included in the “What’s Available This Week?” section of the newsletter. If there is anything you’d like to see that’s not on the master crop list that I sent out with the previous newsletter, as always, please let me know.

Again, thanks for your support!

Joanne Rigutto

The Little Homestead



In this issue –

So, What’s Available This Week?

Weekly planting and seedling report

Weekly Livestock Report

Projected Activity For Next Week

Upcoming Projects and Events



So, what’s available this week?

The salad greens are back. Bags should be a big bigger this week than they were a couple weeks ago. With the warmer weather, the salad greens should be a regular part of your share each week. I harvest the greens by sheering, which really gets the plants to growing. This along with the warmer weather should keep the production high enough on the plants to ensure plenty of greens.

As I said in the introduction of this week’s newsletter, last week was the end of the green garlic. The bulbs are dividing into cloves, and while still tender they will be toughening up soon. I’ll be reserving the remainder of the garlic for seed in the fall, however, as the plants mature, we’ll be treated to one more delicacy – Garlic Scapes. Scapes are the head that hard neck garlic puts up (think the flower head that onions put up to reproduce, only where as in onions there are seeds produced, with garlic it’s miniature bulb called bulbils). I noticed that the green garlic I pulled the other day for my own use already was begining to produce the scapes. Scapes have a very small window of availability, so you’ll probably only see them once or twice. The way the garlic variety that I’ve been using for green garlic has been maturing, I think that there will be scapes in next week’s delivery.


This week’s share will be $1.50 plus eggs at $3/dozen for how ever many you’ve elected to receive in your share. Example – $2.50 + $3 (1 dozen eggs) = $5.50.

Extras available this week at $1 each –

Tomato plants 4″ pot – San Marzano roma type, Cherrokee Purple, Red Alert, Carbon, Black Cherry, Yellow Currant, Stupice.

Cucumber 4″ pot – Home Made Pickles, Armenian, Sweet Slicing, Jelly Melon (actually a cucumber, also known as Kiwano and African Horned Mellon)

Peppers 4″ pot (available for reservation, will be potted up during the week and will be ready for delivery with your 5-29/30 share) – Hot : Numex Sunrise, Pretty Purple, Early Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax, Kung Pao Hybrid, Serrano, Anaheim (can be hot or sweet depending on when you pick them, growing contitions, etc.); Sweet : Giant Marconi.

Because these plants have recently been potted up, please let them stay in the pots for 2 weeks so that they can establish a more robust root system. They would also do well with a bit of fertilizer, a 10-10-10 or similar fertilizer would be best.


Weekly Planting and Seedling Report

I’ve purchased 10 more bundles of Walla Walla Sweet onions, which went into the ground on thursday, this should give us a total of around 800 WWS onions, some of which will be harvested as about shallot size for a special super sweet treat. I’ve also been potting up tomato plants, cucumbers, and other plants that were started in the greenhouse last month. More greens have also gone in the ground – Romanesco, Purple Flowering Broccoli, Mizuna, Tatsoi, various mustard greens, etc.

I have Willamette, Cascade, and Mt. Hood hops planted. These hops will be available as an extra for anyone who would be interested in working with fresh hops, and drying hops for beer making, etc. Hops are very perrishable and there may not be much in the way of a crop this year as the plants need a year to establish. Hops are an experimental crop for me out here. I’ve planted them because I want to make my own beer, and so I figured, why not plant my own hops? The hops were purchased from Willamette Valley Hops in St. Paul, Oregon.

The regular yellow onions and red onions are looking very good and I may start harvesting some for green onions in the next week or so.

The snow pea crop isn’t doing as well as I like and I may be harvesting the leaves from the plants for greens in the next week. Pea greens are a wonderful addition to salads and can be steamed as well. They are large, very delicate and have that fresh pea flavor. I’ll be planting a new crop of peas during the week.

Speaking of peas, I’ve received 4 pounds of chick peas (garbanzo beans) that will be going in the ground this week and next. I also am starting to plant runner cannelli beans, scarlet runner beans, the long beans, green beans, and the sweet corn, flint corn, flower corn and popcorn. It’s a good thing that the days are very long now, otherwise I’d be wearing a miner’s lamp just to see what I’m doing…..


Weekly Livestock Report

The baby goats and the lamb are growing like weeds. I have names for the kids I’ll be keeping to add to the breeding herd. Diva’s doeling has been named Aria, Dusty’s doeling is named Pixi Dust, and her buckling’s name is Spike. I was going to name keeper offspring in keeping with the theme of the dam’s name, hence Aria and Pixi Dust, however Spike just fit him, so 2 out of 3 works for me. Whiskers, the big boer doe is still getting bigger and bigger. Considering the size of her udder, she should kid sometime this week or next. Given that my breeding herd has attained maximum size and mix with the addition of the existing kids and new milking does, Whisker’s kid(s) will be raised for slaughter/sale. Depending on whether she has one or two, there may be a goat kid available for sale. If she has only one, which is an odds on possibility given that this is her first kidding, I’ll be keeping the kid for my own freezer. However, if she does happen to have twins, the extra one will be for sale. Details to come when she actually births. Young goat meat is delicate in flavor, somewhere between beef and pork. It is also fairly lean, which just a small amount of fat.

Milking is becoming easier and easier for both me and Bambi, as she gets used to it and my hands get more practiced. When it goes smoothly, I actually like milking. Of course, I’m probably saying that because I’m only milking one goat and she’s got pretty good sized teats. Clover, who I’ll be starting to milk in June, being a first year doe, has much smaller teats, so, with my injured left hand (I came close to cutting one finger off 10 years ago and it’s never been the same since), things should get interesting… Dusty, who is a second year doe, and the same mix/percentage that Bambi is, has larger teats and I’ll start milking her in July or August, depending on how big a work load I want. I may only milk Clover until Pixi and Spike are old enough to wean, then dry Clover off and swap her out for Dusty. Depends on how much milk I have stored up and how easy, or difficult it is to milk Clover.

The first batch of chicks will be moved into tractors next week, which will free up a bay in the brooder shed. I should be able to move the turkeys out there when that happens.

The guinnea hen eggs are still incubating but should be hatching here in the next week or so. I’ll also be setting up the big cabinet incubator this week or next. I’m looking foreward to hatching some emu eggs this winter. It’s been too long since we’ve done that out here. Baby emus are beautiful birds, dark brown/chestnut with black and white stripes on the body and black and white markings on the head/neck. I’m also looking foreward to offering yearling emus for sale in 2011/2012 fall/winter. Yearlings are a bit smaller than an adult emu, which means less expensive and when slaughtered they take up less freezer space. Emu meat is almost completely lean, and akin to a good quality venison. It’s not gamey at all, but, being so lean, does need to be cooked with care to keep it from becoming dry and tough. Emu oil, rendered from the fat, is excellent as a moisturiser and we use it for aches and pains as a topical treatment.


Projected Activity For Next Week

Planting, planting, planting! Tis the season, with the weather and the ground warming. In addition to everything listed above, I have ground cherries, summer squash, winter squash, and the experimental crops to plant, which include interesting things like rice and sesame.


Upcoming Projects and Events

The regular work party over at dad’s as usuall. Pete actually was able to get some beans planted last Sunday, in spite of the rototiller having a split tire. Fortunately there was the little Mantis tiller. I have tires ordered which should be installed on the big tiller on Wednesday, a bit late for the garden there, but at least I’ll be able to get the ground tilled in the new planting area at the home farm in Mulino.

A reminder – remember everyone, the new hours for Sunday – Noon to 3:00pm. That worked out just right last Sunday. It gives me that extra hour in the morning to get the milking done.

See y’all Saturday and Sunday!