Friday, September 2, 2011

New Baby Chicks - What We Do For Fun

Today, Michael went out to check on the farm's newest. I wondered what he was doing when he ran back into the house and then back with the camera. These little girls are hysterical. They're only 4-5 days old and already the competition is on. Keep your eye on that little black piece of plastic they found in their coop. 

P.S. The speed is slightly faster than norm due to broken video...and no sound...but still lots of fun.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Planting for the New Season

People often wonder why we can't get spinach or kale in the summer (if you're eating local and it's grown in your area) or why melons and tomatoes (some growers actually have figured out how to do that) generally don't last through the winter months.  I used to wonder those things myself until we started gardening.

I'm crazy about kale and LOVE the Tuscan Kale Salad we make at the farm. I grew lovely kale and found it quite distressing as I would watch it start to bolt. My answer to that problem was to simply call one of my favorite nurseries and go by more kale starts. 

"Kale isn't in season anymore and it doesn't grow now - it's too hot"....was the answer to my request for more starts.  To be honest, it was my first 'awakening' as to this 'growing in season' thing.

Spring into summer crops are all those fruits and vegetables that are full of water - things like tomatoes, watermelon, eggplant, okra, cucumbers, zucchini and melons. They grow in hot seasons and when we eat them in the hot season it helps to hydrate us.

On the flip side -we're getting ready for the next season - the cooler one (I can't wait) and what we'll grow are all those lovely greens and root vegetables like the kales, chards, beets, turnips, radishes and carrots.  They grow well then and we eat them then because they have incredible benefits to aide in fighting colds and flues that tend to float around during those cold season months.  So, eating food in its season has some pretty smart health benefits.

So, what are we getting ready to plant and what starts (not root vegetables) we will have available for you to purchase? Here's a partial list and each one has several gourmet and heirloom varieties:

Mustard Greens
Bok Choy

and all kinds of herbs: French Sorrel, French Chervil, Parsley, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, and a ton more.

A word on tomatoes - there are some growers who have this great ability to grow tomatoes here in winter months and we totally applaud them.  That being said - we're trying to do that as well and we'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Farm Happenings

Today's a busy day at The Simple Farm. Suzanne has already worked up a morning sweat  in The Garden Center at the farm. She's building a few more start racks, planting gallon size containers of Sweet Annie Artemisa (heirloom seeds of course).

I'm not sure if you know this - but this particular kind of artemsia has successfully been used to cure malaria, certain leukemia and certain breast cancers.  One of our farm goals is to grow every kind of medicinal herb possible to become a natural supplier of our local naturopathic doctors who understand the value of such herbs. For a few years, Michael's had it in his heart that we grow herbs - culinary and medicinal and a few weeks ago, Suzanne was approached by a Scottsdale Naturopathic doctor to begin to grow herbs that she wants to use for her practice.

Other beautiful activity in The Garden Center will be more starts of heirloom tomatoes and a whole batch of other heirloom seeds for our winter gourmet Le Menu at the farm.

Darling hubs is pumping up tractor tires to bring that little orange gift over to the big barn - lovely birds got into baby chicken feed and have had a party with the seeds. That will get cleaned out and then we'll both work on the Red Coop and the Blue Coop - cleaning them out to get ready for todays deliver of fifty new baby chicks - a gift from Michael Shoenfeld. A sweet gift, indeed. He intends to be here when the mail arrives with 'his' new farm babies. Thanks again Michael.

In the meantime, I've been busy prepping another raised bed for seeding. My bed preparation includes moving all the irrigation hoses, pulling any stinking weeds, pulling out all unwanted plants and then raking all the debris.  Later today, I'll start incorporating my soil amendments of humic acid, potash and another goody I was just introduced to (more on that later).

We're hoping to attack some areas on the field - to get ready to seeding out there. But, we'll see how long we hold up with the heat.

Also, on my agenda for this afternoon is to start a second batch of The Simple Farm Goat Milk Soap. This one is for the babies in my life - three baby boys - Boone, Keane and Major. Each mom has an assignment to come up with a special name for the soap for their boys. So far we have "Boones Baby Butter" and I can't wait to see what the other two moms come up with.  Of course, all these baby goat soaps will be available (when they're done curing in about 6+ weeks) for your purchase at The Simple Farm Mercantile and perhaps at other places in the valley as well.