We are taking orders for our range chickens now. Our chickens range under the oak trees grazing and eating greens from the gardens. When ready these chickens will be processed by a state-inspected poultry processor and then fresh frozen before delivery. Our neighbor John and Carol Jacobs members of the Albert Lea Farmers Market raise free range Black Star, Red Star, Araucana, and New Hampshire Reds. Their chickens free range the farm and pastures daily returning to their coop nightly. The free range grazing adds to their diet and overall health and benefits you with more vitamins, less cholesterol and saturated fat. The Araucana lays colored eggs that range from turquoise to deep olive to shades of brown. John and Carol are also offering honey from their farm. If any CSA members are interested in ordering eggs, honey, or chickens please contact me bye email or phone and they will be delivered along with CSA shares.
It has been a very busy time on the farm lately. We have transplanted the first planting of tomatoes and peppers are going in this week. I have set up a drip irrigation system for the tomatoes and peppers while other crops are hoping for rain in the forecast. Weeding is a never ending task that goes on in between the many other projects taking place. The baby chicks are growing fast and will be moved to a fenced in area near the gardens in the next couple weeks. Walking through the garden I see the first plantings of broccoli and cabbage have started forming heads, the head lettuce is just waiting on rain to fully mature, and the potato plants depending upon variety are more than foot tall and will soon be hilled.
This weeks Early Season shares will include Red Russian Kale, Rhubarb, 3 types of radish(Rover, D'Avignon, White Icicle) some asian greens Purple Mizuna, Tatsoi, and Hon Tsai Tai.
It has been a very busy month of April. The month began with planting potatoes, transplanting onions, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower from the greenhouse into the garden. The frost came and frosted the onions white. However they all have showed very good signs of new growth and will likely be sweeter because of the frost. The cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are growing well enjoying the cool temperatures and frequent rain. The majority of our direct seeded crops radishes, spinach, turnip, beets, asian greens, leaf lettuces, and peas are growing well. I saw a few potato leafs poking through the soil yesterday. Today our baby chicks arrived. This is my first year raising chickens. I will be taking orders for free range chickens if anyone is interested. I ordered a 100 males from Murray McMurray Hatchery guaranteed at least 5 different varieties from this list: Black Australorps; Lt. Brahmas; Dark Cornish; Black and White Giants; Buff and White Orpingtons; New Hampshire, Rhode Island Reds, Barred, White, Partridge, Buff Rocks; Sussex, Turkens; White, Silver Laced, & Columbian Wyandottes, Red Star and Black Star. I have turned a small storage shed into a brooder house where they will stay for about 6 weeks and then move them into a fenced area not far from the garden where i have constructed a 20ft x 20ft coop with tin on top and chicken wire on the sides. Our tomatoes are hoping for sunshine in the forecast and warmer temperatures. In May we will be starting melons, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and squash in the greenhouse.
It has been a very busy few weeks. We started direct seeding crops such as spinach, lettuce, radishes, asian greens, and peas. We planted red nordland, pontiac, yukon gold, all blue, french fingerling, and austrian crescent potatoes. We still have a lot of transplanting onions to do over the next few days. Our tomatoes have came up in the greenhouse while we have moved the other crops outside onto the trailer during days and into the garage at night to stay warm. Soon crops like cucumbers, cantaloupe, and watermelon will be seeded in the greenhouse.
Red Cross, Winter Density, & Flashy Trout Back lettuce
Our plants are loving this warm weather. We have onions, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce, and swiss chard growing so far. As they mature we will move them outside for about 2 weeks to harden them off before transplanting them into the ground. We will have flats germinating in the basement ready to move into the greenhouse as room is available. We will be very busy the next two months starting warm crops such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, and melons
We have seeded broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, swiss chard, & onions so far. We have started these in 128 cell flats in the basement under fluorescent lights. In mid-March they will be moved into the greenhouse outside and into the gardens in late-April. Starting our seeds inside provides many benefits. Crops like onions require over 100 days and would not have the time to mature in our area if not started indoors. When growing organically on of the biggest benefits of transplanting young seedlings is getting a head start on weeds and insects. We can be sure that our transplants are raised organically. When buying seeds instead of transplants, we also have many more choices. We can look for more interesting features or better flavor in vegetable varieties. There are many more heirloom varieties available as seed than as plants.
Anyone interested in becoming a member for 2012 needs to click the link on right side of page to download, print, and mail in membership form. Please circle any shares you are interested in and circle delivery preference.
Winter may be here but we are thinking a lot about spring already. This year we will only have 50 CSA shares available and have recieved a very large response already. If interested I suggest signing up soon as shares are on a first come basis. This year along with many new crops and varieties everything will be delivered WASHED.