Famous Radishes and Catching Up

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The snow has melted and we are flying into spring with lots of seeds to plant and changes underway. If you did not see it already, our farm was featured in a Jewish farmer story in the Washington Post food section.  This was very exciting for lots of reasons. First, Susan Borocas the writer wound up interviewing two of my farming mentors for the story including the farmer from the very first farm I interned on when I was in college.  Second, they used several of my photos and a recipe.  And finally, they even tested my recipe and dressed …

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Welcome to Our Winter Flophouse

The rushed Jewish holidays and fall chill make this November feel much more like December.  For anyone who has missed the excitement, the first night of Chanukah is the same as thanksgiving this year. It will not happen again for about seventy thousand years, so there has been lots of hype and strange recipes floating around. Hard frosts have made instant memories out of so many plants, cosmos and basil, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. We are still pulling off the last tomatoes (from another hoophouse), but they are mealy and sad now. But look, hope grows in our new hoophouse …

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Introducing the Perfect Flower

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So it turns out we have been growing flowers for ten years now and that is a while.  We have raised lilies, glads, snapdragons, asters and all manner of zinnias and sunflowers. We have learned about selling to florists, wholesalers and farmer’s market customers.  We have brought flowers to weddings and parties and some of our flowers have even found their way to the White House. We have dried them, made wreaths and filled our dining room table countless times with abundant bunches.  But I feel like the super simple blue cornflower on the long delicate stem is the best …

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A Sunflower Seed and How I Got it Wrong

I recently took my children to a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. After the party, the children were offered a choice of party favors. I was surprised when my 5-year-old son, the farm boy (like, we actually live on a farm), chose a little plastic pot with a seed in it (guaranteed to grow, just add water). I started coaching him to choose something else, saying, “Leave the seeds for other children. You have millions of seeds at home, so maybe a new eraser for school?” But he dug in and brought the pot home. As a mother, I should really learn to keep my mouth shut, because I …

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Our Trial: Sunn Hemp as a Cover Crop

Finally, a real farm post! We planted sun hemp on our farm as a late summer/early fall cover crop.  Like everything else in life and farming, Sunn Hemp has some pros and cons but was overall quite impressive and we will probably plant it again.  We planted it as part of a federal study to help people solve problems on farms.  We were looking for a midsummer cover crop that would fix nitrogen, prevent erosion and not be a draw for deer. We received a small grant and free seeds to participate in the study. On the sunny side, sunn …

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Potato Planting

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It is always an event when my husband teams up with a neighboring farmer to break out this restored antique potato planter that actually works amazingly well.  They are pulling it with a small tractor. The machine digs a trench, drops the potatoes in and covers them up all in one pass.  They are planting fingerlings and purple potatoes today. It is great fun to watch this machine in action, and the children found it especially fascinating. Since we used to plant potatoes by hand and know what a slow process that can be, it is a bit miraculous to watch …

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First Green

If you look closely at this picture you can see thin, green lines of sugar snap peas coming up in the beds.  Even though the germination looks pretty good, we are a long way from harvest.  These tiny shoots are very attractive to deer and groundhogs and now that they have emerged from the soil, we need to scramble to protect them. It’s hard to imagine that if all goes well, in just a couple of months these plants will be tall enough to require six feet of trellis which we will piece together from old tomato stakes and flower netting.  …

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