Newsletter

March 6th

Hi everyone,

I hope the produce and plants were to everyone’s satisfaction and that you all got the note on the produce I sent out earlier this evening.

Please keep in mind that these were samples. Use them to try out new produce if you haven’t had them, and also to give you an idea of the quality I expect to produce this year for you. Also, please note that I grow a lot of the greens in trays. I place the seeded trays in contact with the ground and the plants send their roots down through the drainage hole in each cell, drawing the nutrients they need from the grount. What this does is it allows me to grow greens without too many weeds, and it keeps any contaminants in the ground from splashing up on to the greens when I water. I reuse the trays when the crop’s finally spent.

With this in mind, for these greens I don’t calculate yield by the pound, but by the tray so for those crops, order by the tray, not by the bunch or pound.

I’ll be doing a seed order this week. I’m low on arugula, cilantro, Walla Walla Sweet onion, leek and some other seed. I’l probably be placing a seed order twice a month until November. This first seed will probably arrive sometime the first part of next week, and I’ll be seeding trays to arugula and cilantro sometime next week when that seed comes in.

What will be available for next Tuesday’s delivery – varieties and quanties for each share

Mizuna (1/2 tray), Red Streaks (probably will be limited to 1/2 tray for each of you), Red Giant (1/2 tray), Southern Giant Curled (1/2 tray), Red and Green mixed mustards (1/2 tray), Fennel fronds (limited and they’re small – from last year’s fennel that wintered over in a tunnel), baby green garlic (bunches like this week’s and there’s lots of it so up to 3 bunches for each of you). I also have a limited supply of fresh sage if anyone wants it.

I seeded 20 trays each to the Mizuna and Red Giant so there should be plenty for everyone in a couple of weeks, and I’ll be seeding 20 trays of the Southern Giant Curled on Thursday.

There may be some limited availability of chard as well. I’ll be checking on it tomorrow and trimming the plants back so the new growth has a chance to come on unhindered by old growth.

Also, if anyone would like baby pea greens week after next let me know sometime before Sunday as it takes a couple of weeks to grow these this time of year. In a month it should be warm enough that I’ll only need one week advanced notice to grow these for you. These are also known as pea threads and you can use them in salads or as a substitute for other greens in sandwiches and wraps. They’re very tender and have about the same flavor as snow pea pods. They’ll be available by the tray or half tray. I seed the plugs 2 to the plug in the 72 count trays so a tray will average around 140 threads. The threads are 2-4 inches tall.

Crops Update

The root crops are looking very good. The beets are all up and have their first sets of true leaves. I have a lot of beet seed and will be ordering more at the end of the month. If anyone likes beet greens, please let me know and I’ll make sure that my seed order is big enough to accomodate greens growing. I use Bull’s Blood for greens as it’s an inexpensive seed and can be used to grow the root too.

The carrots all have their true leaves and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start pulling baby carrots in about 6 weeks (maybe sooner with enough rain).

Fennel, it’s up! Growing slowly, although I noticed today that they’ve been growing a bit faster since it’s warmed up a bit.

The onion bulbs I planted 6 weeks ago are sprouting. We should have Calçots in 6-8 weeks. None of you have probably ever had a Calçot, or even heard of them (unless you watched Anthony Bordaine’s No Reservations show). They are the second year growth from of an onion. The first year the onion forms it’s bulb. The second year it sends up stalks from that bulb in order to produce seed. If you harvest those stalks before they begin to mature and go hollow, what you’ll have is a Calçot. They’re like giant green onions and are delicious raw, fried, roasted or grilled.

I’ll be seeding for Purple and China Rose daikon varieties this week. I grow them for the large cooking greens and also for the pods. Daikon and radish pods are a delectable treat. They should be ready in 2-4 months.

The mustards are doing well. I harvested about 1/3 of what I have available. The Red Streaks being the exeption. What you got is pretty much what I have. For the mustard greens I practice what’s called “cut and come again” harvesting. Meaning that you cut high enough from the base of the plant it will grow back. That should take 2-3 weeks.

Lettuces, I’ve got lots of trays started, but nothing big enough to transplant yet. I’ll be seeding more trays on Thursday to lettuce. I noticed today that there had been something (probably mice) digging in some of the trays so they may be a wash. Note – I grow both loose leaf and head lettuce, as well as endive. Take a look at your master crops  list (either spread sheet or the list that’s in the new member survey) and let me know what your preferences are.

Mache, I have 2 or 3 trays of this (144 or 216)  that I will be transplanting this week. Look for it in your shares in 2-3 weeks.

Cress, I have two varieties of cress – Upland cress, which has paddle shaped leaves and grows in a low rosette, and Curled Cress/Garden Cress which grows in an upright manner. Both are delicious with a nice peppery bite to them. There’s also alot of Little Bitter Cress growing wild right now, so that will be available soon.

In a couple months we should have amaranth. This is a wild edible variety that I always look forward to as a spring green. It’s very tender and you can eat it raw in a salad or you can steam it like you would spinach.

And speaking of spinach, I’ve got trays seeded to that as well. This is Bloomsdale Long Standing and is a very nice variety.

Each time I have a new type of produce or variety, I’ll announce it in the newsletter and unless you say you don’t want it (or have not said that you do want it on the spreadsheet you returned when you joined) there will be a sample to try before the crop is in full production.

Next Tuesday I also have a treat for those of you who like hot sauce. A friend of mine, Andrew Garret, who is a chef in Portland, has gone into the hot sauce business. He has two, North West Elixers #1 Hott Sauce (red) and Northwest Elixers #2 (green). He gave me some to hand out as samples. If you like red hot sauce let me know and I’ll include a bottle in your share next week. It’s limited to one per share term.

I really like this sauce. It’s got some fire to it, but it won’t take your head off (at least it doesn’t mine and I’m not too tollerant of heat in my food). It also has a really nice flavor and he makes it right in Portland.

Wheat Grass – if anyone wants wheat grass, let me know how much and how often you’d like it. I’ll grow it in 4″ pots, the same as you’d buy at the store. I have white wheat to grow it from.

Plants

I hope that your plants were satisfactory. The pea and kale plants should be plenty hardy, I left some out last night and it got down into the upper 20s out here last night and they look fine. There’s more where those came and as I get more seedlings started I’ll post them in the newsletter.

You may now place orders for all the plants in the catalogue. The cool weather plants I can start right away for you if I don’t already have seedlings available. The warm weather plants I’ll be seeding for beginning the first week of April. One member has already placed an order for tomato and warm weather herb plants and it’s nice because I can just go ahead and add that order to the work sheet for the greenhouse.

If you want 12 or more of multiple types, I can combine your order in one plug tray. Remember, I use 50 count and 72 count plug trays. The 72 count are 6 across and the 50 count are 5 across, so if you order in multiples of 6 or 5 (i.e 12 of this or 10 of that, etc.) and have a total order of at least 35 plants/plugs I’ll combine your order in one tray. This is handy for bedding plants like allysum, coleus, marigolds, dianthus, etc. It doesn’t work well for larger plants like the sunflowers, nasturtiums, etc.

Also you can order trays of quick crops like lettuce and the mustards.

Chickens

They’re getting big now. Flying around, well, flitting is more like it. If it weren’t for the screen I have over the brooder they’d be all over the place.

I’m going to be setting up a 3 week ordering schedule with the hatchery this week. I’ve decided to bring in 75 new birds in every 3 weeks. That should keep us in a pretty good supply of chicken.

I’ll also be checking with the hatchery on the availability of turkey poults, ducklings and goslings if anyone’s interested in turkey, duck or goose. I’ll be raising some for myself this year as well.

That’s it for the moment. As always, if there’s anything that isn’t on the list but that you’d like me to grow for you, please do let me know.

Have a great rest of the week,

Joanne

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