2012 was again a good year on the farm, sometimes I forget all the great things that happened, so it’s nice to pause and look back.
Kauai, Hawaii – The year started off with a two-week vacation in late January to Kauai. We celebrated our 30th anniversary, rented/shared a gorgeous home on the ocean with family, and went swimming, snorkeling, golfing, horseback riding, and ziplining. While there, we also toured a small dairy goat farm that produces local cheese and honey for the island - it was very farm inspirational. And, of course, we enjoyed all the wild chickens!
Goats – Springtime brought [...]
Continue reading 2012 – A Very Good Farm Year!
As we’re preparing for winter around the farm, it’s tempting to “clean-up” the perennial borders by cutting all the weedy stalks and seed heads off. But, by doing less and leaving medium to tall perennials in place, we can provide winter food for the birds and observe them more too.
Leave perennials like asters, black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, coneflowers, Joe-Pye weed, oat grass, and goldenrod standing in the fall garden after they finish blooming. Cardinals, finches, and sparrows will harvest seed while clinging to the stalks; and juncos or towhees will harvest seed from the ground.
Even after the seeds have all been harvested, the spent perennials still provide nourishment for the birds. Chickadees, [...]
Continue reading Keep Stalky Perennials to Feed Birds
I love harvesting winter squash – as we’re rushing to get all the other garden veggies harvested and processed for winter storage; all the winter squash need is gathering, curing, and storing – chopping, cooking, canning or freezing not required! We’ve got a record batch this year too – I saved seed from several varieties last year, so we’ve got lots of squash and pumpkin coming in.
Winter squash should be harvested after the fruit turns a deep color and the rinds harden (usually during September and October), but definitely before heavy frost. The fruits should be cut from the vine carefully, leaving [...]
Continue reading Winter Squash: Harvesting, Curing, and Storing
On our farm website, the first statement on the welcome page is “we’re a small, 10 acre farm in Northeast Ohio that believes locally grown, real foods are important” – but just why is locally grown food important?
It’s Fresher – locally grown foods are usually purchased by the consumer within 24 hours of harvest. Produce shipped across the country isn’t nearly that fresh.
Taste – locally grown food can be harvested at its peak; and produce picked and consumed at the height of ripeness tastes so much better!
Nutrition – nutritional values start declining in food immediately after harvest, so locally grown food is more nutritional because it’s fresh. The nutritional [...]
Continue reading Reasons to Buy Food Locally
The honey bees have been hard at work this year, so Saturday we harvested the first honey from the hives. First, the frames filled with honey were collected (making sure to leave enough for the bees):
Then an electric de-capping knife was used to cut the caps off of the filled honey cells:
The frames were then placed into a honey centrifuge:
After centrifuging, the honey collects at the bottom of the stainless steel drum and is drawn off:
The raw honey is then filtered through coarse, medium, and fine filters; and bottled:
And the final product - we harvested 82 lbs. - isn’t it amazing what those little bees can do?
For the past two years, we’ve used the “Lazy Bed Method” for growing potatoes; and been relatively satisfied with the results. The potatoes were very simple to plant and maintenance was non-existent - just lift the potatoes when the growing season is over; however, the potato quality seemed to suffer somewhat from being grown above ground – insects nibbled on a few, some rotted, yield seemed a bit low, etc. So this year, I decided to modify the method just a bit, and the potatoes turned out great! I think we’ve got a method now that produces great potatoes with very little work [...]
Continue reading Growing Potatoes: The Lazy Bed Method “IMPROVED”
In the past, I haven’t been very good at keeping garden records; however, I’m going to do a better job this year. I know it’s important to keep records to evaluate what varieties and techniques work the best; and I really want to start using varieties and processes that produce the best taste and yield, in the fastest – most efficient manner possible.
So this year, I started an Excel garden planting log, where I’m going to record all the pertinent information on what gets planted, where it’s started, how long it takes to germinate, etc. Here’s what gets recorded and why:
Crop & Variety [...]
Continue reading Garden Planting Log (w/downloadable template)
Growing a big garden is lots of work, and I’m ashamed to say that I’m always tempted to throw in the trowel mid-summer. It’s hot, it’s no fun weeding, I’ve got a million other things I’d rather be doing, etc., etc. But I generally persevere, and then BIG harvest time hits.
There’s squash, potatoes, onions, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, etc. coming out of the garden so fast it’s a challenge to cook and preserve quick enough to keep up – and I love it. Each year I get a little better at cooking and preserving recipes that we really enjoy, and that [...]
Continue reading Harvest Time