Jun 142010
 

A humid greetings to all!

New potatoes are being harvested now! If you’ve had a hankerin’ for a mess of new potatoes now is the time to get beautiful locally grown potatoes. No chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides used in the raising of these spuds!

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Place your order so we can have it ready for you at regular CSA pick up times, Saturday 9-11 am. and Tuesday evenings 5-7 pm. If you’re unable to come within the specified times let me know and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule. New potatoes are $1.25 per lb.

Our new potatoes will be available for a limited time only. While our last planting of potatoes are holding fairly well the first rows we planted are nearing maturity. We have been harvesting and I anticipate harvesting many more, beautiful, delicious potatoes! Regardless if you want to preserve some by canning and freezing or want to have some wonderful new potatoes for fresh eating we have them available for you now! Having a few frozen shredded potatoes on hand are great for ready-made hash browns. Creamed new potatoes are a delicacy (the little tiny “marble” potatoes are the best ones to cream in my and G-Jean’s opinion!) and fried potatoes are great as well.

One big Yam load of potatoes!

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Dixie gave birth to a handsome bull calf recently!

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I want to extend a BERRY BIG THANK YOU to each CSA member and customer who came out for some of the beautiful, delicious crop of strawberries this season! It was a huge blessing to have such an abundant harvest! Our strawberry season extended at least one and probably two extra weeks beyond what I’d expected. One reason for our extended season was we didn’t get a severe late killing frost this spring. Our edge berries which hadn’t been mulched this winter warmed quicker than the mulched berries and thus bloomed and produced nearly a week earlier. We also had a new variety of strawberry producing this year called Allstar. They were a beautiful HUGE, juicy, sweet berry during the mid season and then their main crop came on about the time our other berries dwindled and they kept producing for nearly a week later!

Several individuals took advantage of our end of season strawberry U-pick opportunity. I really enjoyed seeing the strawberries being used rather than rotting out in the patch since we didn’t have time to harvest them. The Emmot family were one of many who took advantage of the U-pick berries. I think their kids had fun harvesting (and eating) several berries!

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Other CSA members also brought their kids along so they could have a chance to harvest a few strawberries. In my opinion that’s great as children need to learn where their food comes from and all of us need to have a growing awareness of where factory farm food comes from and how it’s produced. In order to help build consumer awareness we’ve started to develop a small lending library of DVD’s. They are in and out all the time, so if there’s one you’d like to watch check with us. DVD’s available for you to borrow are: Fresh, Food, INC, Future of Food, Locavore, Food Beware (mostly in French with English subtitles) and Food Matters.

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A home school group from Bartlesville came up for a farm tour this past Thursday. There were about thirty individuals who came and I believe everyone had a good time. All the kids went through a section of our strawberry plants for the last time gleaning what strawberries they could find (many berries disappeared before they could find a take home container) and then helped plow out/pick up one full row of potatoes with us!

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It was a great help and blessing to me and they seemed to enjoy helping me dig up our “buried treasure!” I estimate they harvested over 300 pounds of potatoes! I’m not sure how the other rows will produce in comparison, but there are about 7-1/2 more rows to go!

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A few of the kids wanted to try their hand at digging the potatoes with our horse drawn (we were using the tractor this time) lister plow. They had varying success, but most did very well and I think everyone had fun! Everyone that wanted some was able to take a small sack of potatoes home.

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With our temperatures soaring up into the 90’s and nearly a hundred several days throughout the past few weeks it has been rather hot working out in the garden. Days that have some cloud cover and a breeze are greatly appreciated! Some of the garden crops were starting to get desperately dry by the seventh of June and I was getting desperate to install the irrigation system so I could give some of the wilting plants a drink! However, the Lord sent a beautiful rain soon after daylight that measured in at 1-1/2”. That was a huge blessing and great relief!

It didn’t take any time for our rain from the seventh to soak in and the soil hardly had time to be muddy. Again on the ninth the Lord sent rain this time measuring 2-4/10”! I was thankful to have the potatoes planted on ridges as they were mature enough that all the rain might have rotted them if they’d been planted in the furrow. It was dry enough that by the following morning we could dig a row of potatoes when the Bartlesville home school group came.

Now, today, June 14th, it was raining all night and we totaled a rainfall of 4-1/0” overnight and it’s still raining! That will be enough to keep us from digging potatoes for a few days, but we’ll need to dig them as soon as possible so they don’t rot in the ground!

While the rains have been a large blessing it also makes the yard grass (and weeds) grow well too. Jena has become our mowing queen. Ancho isn’t usually seated on her royal carriage while it’s in operation…

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While it was raining the ninth G-Jean, Curtis and I went to the hoop houses and cleaned all the weeds and most of the crop residues out so they’d be ready for fall planting a little later on. If you were trying to describe what we were doing in the hoop houses the most accurate description might be felling a forested jungle of weeds!

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Before strawberry season there was about a week to week and a half we couldn’t get in the garden to weed because it was too wet and then strawberry season came along and all we could get done was CSA and harvesting strawberries! Now we are trying to defoliate all the greenery that has grown up around the garden crops (a long way of saying we’re weeding) but it’s a slow job since the weeds have over a month’s head start on us! Here we’re cleaning out summer squash plants. These are the most beautiful summer squash vines we’ve had, so Lord willing we’ll have some summer squash for sale soon!

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There was a relentless invasion of aphids during our later harvests from the big hoop house, but the Lord blessed us with an abundant hatch of Ladybugs, Lacewings and tiny parasitic wasps all of which cleaned up the aphid problem to nearly nonexistent by the time we were cleaning out the crop residues. While they did come out from hibernation a little late I was very thankful to have the beneficial insect reserves take up the slack!

Dad and I have started our first ever loose hay stack… It’s quite a learning experience! We built it just before our wonderful, soaking rains with two trailer loads of hay. We’re extremely thankful to have the loose hay loader which picks up the loose hay in the windrow and “forks” it up on the trailer where one of us is arranging the hay as it comes down. We’re still debating whether that part of the operation is easier than square bales or not. We do know that you have one less trip to take over the field as you cut out the baling and go straight to loading.

Here is a nearly completed load of hay ready to go back up to the hay stack.

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Our loose hay unloading system needs to be improved before we finish our haying season. Unloading loose hay by hand with only two people doesn’t work real well and is not time efficient for the amount of hay we need to put up. There have been many ideas tossed around for unloading the hay one being us making a set of forks to mount on the Kubota’s loader bucket. Another idea is making a set of grapples for the Kubota and a third idea is making some kind of derrick system to move the hay with.

By misestimating the size base we’d need to accommodate the hay we had cut and dried, the top of our first stack wasn’t as steep as we wanted to shed water efficiently. Between that and us not having experience topping out the stack we may have lost a good portion of our first hay stack since it was built just before our two soaking rains. We’ll have to dig in and find out.

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While some of our CSA days have been long I’m not sure if G-Jean and I could have made it through one particular day without all the wonderful help which came! Rachel came to help for her regular working share, but then Marlita and Gracie came as volunteers too! Gracie also brought along two of her children, Anelise and Brodie both of which were great helps to us throughout the day! We still didn’t finish the CSA until later in the afternoon, but there wouldn’t have been any way G-Jean and I could’ve gotten it all done by ourselves…thank you all for the wonderful help!

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G-Jean, Anelise and Brodie coming with a Yam load of produce to put in the CSA shares! There’s beets with greens, garlic scapes and new potatoes all crammed on one load!

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This Kansas growing season has been a blessing with a good balance of rain, sunshine and temperatures although it’ll make you wonder sometimes and there doesn’t seem to be any two moments that are the same weather! The Lord has been blessing the garden though and we’re thankful. As our growing season’s change so do the CSA share contents as you’ll see in the picture. It’s hard to believe that picture was taken just about one week ago as there are several items in that share which will be different in this week’s shares!

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Enjoy the summer’s abundant blessings!

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell Crew

(620) 330-1966

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Bloom report!

There has been a wide and diverse mix of beautiful flowers blooming in the past few weeks. Both wild flowers and cultivated varieties have been decorating our floral landscape around the garden! Since there is not room or time to show pictures of all the flowers here are a few pictures and others that have been blooming, but we don’t have pictures of are:

Wild flowers: Yellow and white sweet clover, wild chicory, blackeyed susan (also sold in some flower catalogs) queen anne’s lace, red clover, white dutch clover, sticktites (pretty flowers and not so pretty sticktite fruit!) wild yarrow, tiger lilies (also sold in some catalogs) rosin weed, common mullein and moth mullein. I’m sure there’ve been others that I’m forgetting right now

Cultivated flowers: A few varieties of celosia, marigolds, zinnias, larkspur, clematis, salvias, roses, and cultivated varieties of yarrow to name a few.

Elderberries

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Asiatic lily

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Day Lily

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Hollyhock

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Cosmos

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