Farm News

Posted 4/3/2009 11:37am by Trent Thompson.

Click on the video below for some laughs. I promise no red-painted rocks in your boxes!

Posted 3/30/2009 8:12pm by Trent Thompson.

 A view of the skeleton of Greenhouse 3. My goal is to finish this baby in the next couple weeks. Once the little pepper and tomato starts get moved into 4" pots, I will surely need the extra space. 

Kohlrabi have quickly sprung up. They don't mind the cold a bit. These and the Green Onions will likely be my first crops out. Both crops can also be direct-seeded, for all you gardeners out there.

And, here are the green onions and little baby tomatoes. These early tomatoes (expected planting date of 5/15) will be potted up into 4" pots after another 2 weeks. I seeded them about 2 weeks ago. Normally, tomatoes take 7-8 weeks to get to a nice, transplantable size from seed. I use heated mats for about one week to get the tomato seeds started. They love heat (75-85 F soil temps).

 

Posted 3/29/2009 7:13pm by Trent Thompson.

The 10 AM segment last Friday on the Diane Rehm show focused on food. Here is a link to the page where you can listen to the show using Real Player or Windows Media Player.

From WAMU...

Healthful Food

First Lady Michelle Obama's vegetable garden at the White House and a new study on the health risks of eating beef and pork daily have inspired many to rethink what they're eating and whether it's healthy. A look at new efforts to put healthier food on our plates.

Guests:

Bob Young, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation

Tony Geraci, director of food and nutrition, Baltimore City Public Schools

Ann Yonkers, founder and co-director, FRESHFARM Markets

Nicolette Hahn Niman, lawyer, cattle rancher, and author of "Righteous Pork Chop"

Posted 3/22/2009 8:48am by Trent Thompson.
Scott Eklund/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, via Associated Press

GREEN THUMBS Workers at an organic farm in Carnation, Wash., tend to baby romaine lettuce.

From the Sunday NY Times...

Published: March 21, 2009

In the six-and-one-half years since the federal government began certifying food as “organic,” Americans have taken to the idea with considerable enthusiasm. Sales have at least doubled, and three-quarters of the nation’s grocery stores now carry at least some organic food. A Harris poll in October 2007 found that about 30 percent of Americans buy organic food at least on occasion, and most think it is safer, better for the environment and healthier.

“People believe it must be better for you if it’s organic,” says Phil Howard, an assistant professor of community, food and agriculture at Michigan State University.

So I discovered on a recent book tour around the United States and Canada.

No matter how carefully I avoided using the word “organic” when I spoke to groups of food enthusiasts about how to eat better, someone in the audience would inevitably ask, “What if I can’t afford to buy organic food?” It seems to have become the magic cure-all, synonymous with eating well, healthfully, sanely, even ethically.

cont. for full article here

Posted 3/22/2009 8:39am by Trent Thompson.
Suzan Walsh/Associated Press

Alice Waters, the celebrity chef and an early advocate of local ingredients, at a farmers’ market in January. She and other food activists see the White House as an ally in Washington.

From the Sunday NY Times...

Published: March 21, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif.

AS tens of thousands of people recently strolled among booths of the nation’s largest organic and natural foods show here, munching on fair-trade chocolate and sipping organic wine, a few dozen pioneers of the industry sneaked off to an out-of-the-way conference room.

Although unit sales of organic food have leveled off and even declined lately, versus a year earlier, the mood among those crowded into the conference room was upbeat as they awaited a private screening of a documentary called “Food Inc.” — a withering critique of agribusiness and industrially produced food.

They also gathered to relish their changing political fortunes, courtesy of the Obama administration.

“This has never been just about business,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt. “We are here to change the world. We dreamt for decades of having this moment.”

After being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House, which has vowed to encourage a more nutritious and sustainable food supply.

The most vocal booster so far has been the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has emphasized the need for fresh, unprocessed, locally grown food and, last week, started work on a White House vegetable garden. More surprising, perhaps, are the pronouncements out of the Department of Agriculture, an agency with long and close ties to agribusiness.

cont. for full article here

Posted 3/19/2009 9:13pm by Trent Thompson.

 

Oh yeah, bring on the garlic! It's just starting to sprout up. Planted first week of October last year. Five 200 foot rows at 6" spacing, so roughly 2,000 cloves will produce 2,000 full garlic bulbs this season. The farm keeps the best bulbs, of course. They will be planted this Fall for next season. 

 

 

Posted 3/19/2009 9:10pm by Trent Thompson.

 

Composted cow manure, a vegetable grower's best friend. Manure from cows is the farm's primary source of fertility.

 

 

Posted 3/19/2009 9:05pm by Trent Thompson.

 

The hairy vetch and winter rye cover crop on the West field is coming along nicely this spring. It has just started to exhibit some nice growth over the past week or so. Both will be mowed and incorporated with tilling before crop planting. Both cover crops will improve soil structure by adding organic matter, and the vetch will increase soil Nitrogen levels since it is an N-fixer (converting atmospheric N to N that can be utilized by plants in the soil).

 

Posted 3/19/2009 8:58pm by Trent Thompson.

 

 Cleaning up the field has been a priority over the past week with the nice weather. The remains of dozens of large squash I failed to harvest in time last season littered the squash area from last season. Woody debris from flowers, greens, tomatoes, and cucurbits is all being removed from the field and thrown into the compost pile where it will break down and return to the field in 2010 or 2011. By cleaning up these plant remains, an improved seedbed will be created after tilling, thus, increasing seed germination and yields.

 

Posted 3/19/2009 8:48pm by Trent Thompson.

 

Greenhouse No. 2 has been strengthened to avoid the near catastrophe last year when it practically blew away last March when 50 mph gusts passed through the area. Pillars have been placed on the inside every 8 feet to give it more strength and stability. Rope also is holding down the plastic at three places. To improve ventilation, hip-boards have been placed on the sides. These will allow the plastic to be rolled up on hot days. Normally, ideal plant growing temps are between 70 and 90 degrees. It doesn't take much to get these greenhouses cooking! On a 45 degree and sunny day it can easily get up to 100 degrees if the doors and sides are shut. These hip-boards will be a big help.