Week 4: Fertility

The hens offered to help us stack firewood, but I don't think it is an effective allocation of resources.

The hens offered to help us stack firewood this morning, but we don’t think it is an effective allocation of resources.

The produce packs this week will still have lots of greens, but we’ll also have baby carrots, fennel, and basil.  I’ve posted a great recipe for sweet white turnips below, contributed by the MacAskills.

In other news, we’ve set two Open Farm Day dates: Saturday June 22 and Saturday July 20 from 2pm on.  Everyone is welcome to visit the farm!  Please don’t bring pets as we have hens roaming everywhere.  We invite those who want to participate in farm activities to join in whatever is going on at the time of your visit.  Or you can just tour around.

compostdcands

This is one of our compost piles. We have compost from Valley Mushrooms, with no weeds in it (yay!!), from our friends at Parkside Farms (we pasture and overwinter some of their cattle, and they give us lovely cow manure), and from our own farm animals (sheep and chickens).  Most of the compost, as well as lobster shell meal and cover crops are incorporated into the soil where crops are planted.  Right now we are making compost tea to spray on fruiting crops like tomato, melon, and pepper plants.  We also spray on a solution made with kelp meal.  The plants respond to foliar feeding with good yield and vigour.  I am also trying teas made with three special herbs: stinging nettle, comfrey, and horsetail.  These plants have deep roots and accumulate minerals and nutrients that are important for crops.  One example is silica, which is important for plants to resist fungal disease.  Don’t worry, we don’t spray the greens – just the fruiting plants!

White sweet turnip recipe from Nicole MacAskill:

“Here is a recipe that we tried and is absolutely delicious!!

6-10 Japanese-style turnips stems trimmed to 1/4 inch, sliced or quartered

1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon vegetable oil

Freshly ground black pepper and salt

1 tsp honey

Thai sweet red chili sauce- to taste. I add 2-3tbsp

In a medium bowl, toss the turnips with 1 tablespoon oil, the salt, and some pepper.

Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.  When it is quite hot, coat the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and add the turnips.  Reduce the heat to medium and toss the turnips.  Sauté, shaking the pan frequently, until the turnips are starting to turn golden brown, especially on the cut sides, and are almost tender but still slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the honey and chili sauce with 1 tablespoon water.  Add this to the turnips and cook, tossing for another few minutes, until the turnips are tender.”

Photo tour from last week:

Baby carrot

Baby carrot

Red Russian kale

Red Russian kale

Twin girl lambs

Twin girl lambs

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle

Comfrey

Comfrey

We are preparing this field for vegetables next year.  Veggies with a view!

We are preparing this field for vegetables next year. Veggies with a view!

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