A note from Jo –

Looks like we’ll finally catch a break in the weather!

Although, I do have to say that the mild temps and rain last week has really helped get the tomatoes I planted a couple weeks ago become established, and the potatoes are really enjoying the weather, as is the grass!

With the turn in the weather, I’ll finally be able to get the major spring planting in (now that it’s almost summer). This coming week is going to be very busy!

In your shares this week there will be some new items to replace things that are either have gone out of season or aren’t available for other reasons. I’m also happy to report that the hens’ egg production is up and everyone will receive their full share of eggs this week. On the other hand, we’re about out of salad mix for the time being as the young pullets got into the salad garden through a hole in the fencing and helped themselves to the lettuces. Ah, well, there’s always something to humble one when working with the animals…. This week will be the last for the salad mix for a month or so until the new plants are big enough to harvest.

You may have seen signs out for U-Pick berries. It’s that time of year and with the weather warming and staying dry, the strawberries should be pretty good. I’ll be looking for organic U-Pick during the week, if I can’t find organic, I’ll be picking conventional. There should be strawberries in your share next week, and if you’d like me to pick you extra berries, let me know how many pounds to pick for you after next week’s delivery. The raspberries are also begining to do their thing. When I was over at dad’s place in Portland last thursday, there were lots of immature berries on the canes. So either next week or the following week there will be raspberries.

Joanne Rigutto

The Little Homestead Farm

 

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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

Recipies – What’s for chow?

 

So, what’s available this week?

The eggs are back! Production is back up to about where it should be, and everyone will be getting their prefered ammount of eggs. Unfortunately, there will be no more salad mix for a month or two as the young pullets have helped themselves to our victuals. However, to replace them I have Mizuna and some small heads of leaf lettuce. The garlic will be back next week as young head garlic. I’ll probably include that in your shares every other week. I figure everyone’s getting a bit over done on the garlic. There will also be young onions this week. In the recipe section this week, I’ll have recomendations on how to use the young onions and mizuna.

Mizuna – $1.00

Leaf lettuce – $1.00

Young onions – $1.00

Eggs – $3/dozen

Example – all produce + 1 dozen eggs = $6.00

 

Weekly Planting and Seedling Report

With the weather drying out at the end of the week, I was able to move all 400 or so pepepr plants out of the greenhouse, as well as the trays of seedlings that were started the previous week. Almost all of the seed from that batch of trays has germinated and seedlings are up, enjoying the warm and relatively sunny weather. I had seeded 3 trays with the strawberry popcorn for corn shoots and had about 98% germination. Either next weekend or the following weekend we’ll all be trying out corn shoots, which should be interesting and tasty to boot!

New trays were seeded in the greenhouse on Friday, mostly greens and herbs. I’ve seeded –

Letuces – escarole, red romaine, black seeded simpson, butter crunch bib lettuce, parris islan romaine, garnet oak leaf, great lakes leaf lettuce, and red sales leaf lettuce.

Spinach – Olympia

Basil – cinamon, genovese, licorice, lemon, lime and Siam queen

Other herbs – Stevia, fenugreek, cilantro, carraway, annise

Vegetables – celeriac, celery, Mexican sour gherkin, flat of Egypt beet, romanesco, purple of Italy cauliflower, mammoth red rock cabbage

Melon – vine peach

Asian and unusal greens – Japanese giant red mustard, Japanese red leaves shiso, Vietnamese rerilla shiso, edible rape, rapini (broccoli raab), Sumer Jean F1 hybrid green, misome (Komatsuna/Tatsoi cross), edible chrysanthemum greens (Komi Shuniku Salada and Garland Round Leaved), red violet tatsoi, Oka Hijiki (aka seaweed mustard).

If the weather stays the way it should for this time of year, I should be able to move one batch of trays out of the greenhouse every week, which should make for plenty of greens and other vegetables for everyone.

 

 

Weekly Livestock Report

As noted in the intro, the pullets have been getting into a bit of trouble over the past few days. There was a hole in the orange construction fencing I use to keep the birds out of various planting areas, which I call gardens (there is the garlic garden, which also has the onions, there is the corn garden, the raspberry garden, etc.). The hole in the fence has been fixed and, at least so far, no one’s bothered the crops.

The new broilers and the turkey poults have been integrated in with the older broilers and layer pullets. Everyone seems to be getting along. The turkeys like to go off on their own and come to me when I call “Here turkey, turkey, turkey!”. The pullets have also found out that they can push the turkey poults around, which can be a bit commical at times. I don’t think the chickens know that the turkeys will be considerably larger than they are when everyone’s all grown up. Or perhaps they do and just want to get the jump on the turkeys before they get too much bigger, kind of along the lines of working with large livestock, convince them that you’re bigger than they are while you still are….

The milking continues apace. I’m getting over 1 gallon/day to put up for February, and I’ve even got enough to do a little cheese making. That’s pretty cool. I use both vinegar and lemon juice to coagulate the milk, depending on whether I want a cheese I can form and slice or one that’s creamy and makes for a good spread. I’ll probably include a little cheese making tutorial in one of the upcoming newsletters. You can make cheese from store bought pasturized milk with these recipes and the whey that’s left over is great for bread making as well.

The milking goats have been integrated into the goat herd as have been Whiskers and her two. I’ve named Whiskers’ doeling “Hope”, originally because I ‘hoped’ she would get enough milk as Whiskers was acting pretty indifferent to both kids when I originally turned her back out with the herd. She’s doing better now though and little Hope actually responds to her name, so I guess I chose well.

 

Projected Activity For Next Week

Planting, planting, planting. Starting more trays in the greenhouse. I’ll also be rototilling out here during the week, now that the ’tiller’s working AND the ground’s dried out. I’ll be playing catch up trying to get the crops in that should have gone in a month ago, but I think there’s still plenty of time for them to mature. I still have a load of tomato plants to get in the ground as well as all of the peppers.

I’ll be starting more eggplant seed, the cool weather, even when they were in the greenhouse, did’t sit too well with them and I think that even starting new seed will probably give me a better chance of getting a decent amount of production from them.

I’ll also be planting the peanuts, chuffa (ground almond), and rice. These will all be going in large containers, all right, they’re actually going in plastic blue kiddie pools….. For the peanuts and chuffa it’s because I have precious little seed, and the plants can be invasive, especially the chuffa. I also don’t want to feed the gophers. For the rice, it’s because it’s paddy rice and needs to be grown in water.

I’m going to try to get the sesame seed in the ground as well.

 

Upcoming Projects and Events

Tomorrow pick up over at dad’s place will be between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.
We’ll also be rototilling, weeding, mowing and planting tomatoes, yay!

 

Recipies – What’s for chow?

I grow a wide variety of things out here, and that can make for some interesting and tasty meals. It can also make for some confusion as I deliver things to everyone in their shares that they have never seen or are unfamiliar with as far as use, cooking, etc.

One of these is Mizuna, an asian mustard with a mild tart flavor that is, to me, reminiscent of sorrel. I’ve cooked with mizuna, but my favorite use is as a green in a mixed salad. The mizuna I have available this week is nice and young, tender and tasty. Just wash it and cut it up to go with your other salad greens. You can also use it in stirfries, or include it in other greens that you plan to steam. This mizuna is young and tender enough that you should be able to use the stems as well, however if you don’t want to use the stems, just cut them off below the leaf, you don’t need to strip the leaves off as you might with kale.

This week’s young onions are yellow onions. You can use them as you have the green onion, however they are likely to be a bit more strongly flavored that the green onions you’ve been getting, even though those and these are the same onions, these are just further along in their development. You could also slice the bulb and use in sandwiches or salads, and reserve the tops for other dishes.

One of the other interesting crops we have out here is Lambs Quarters. It’s not something that I plant on purpose, they come up on their own. If I can keep the bugs off of them you should start seeing them in your deliveries in the next week or two. I’ve been sampling them over the past several days and they are nice and tender. Lambs quarters can be eaten raw, or steamed as you would spinach. They also freeze well and I know people who put them up just as they would other steamed greens to enjoy through the dark of the year. Be sure to watch for them.

Amaranth is another wild green which I harvest here. Amaranth is better steamed, although the tender new leaves can be enjoyed as a raw green. I know people who plant amaranth, but we have so much of the stuff out here that comes up on its own, I don’t bother with other varieties.

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