We are nearing winters end. The sun is returning to our peace of earth, warming our lives and our gardens once again. As the days gain light we are gearing up for another wonderful season. We have spent the long winter nights studying permaculture, and gardening books, planning/ mapping the coming season and the best route to growing a diverse abundance of delicious vegetables. We took careful inventory of the seeds that we saved from last years harvest. We have poured over the many well crafted organic non-G.M.O. seed catalogs. We picked out the best varieties for our climate, paying close attention to notes from our gardens over the years, our growing zone and put in orders for the seeds of our choice. We have built more shelves for starting plants, and set up our green house. We have planted thousands of seeds in flats and more are soon to come. The snow is melting and I have seen green buds on trees, Irises are just starting to poke up out of the still chilly soil and reach up into the ever increasing sun light, herbs and strawberry plants still green under the retreating snow and ice. Birds that took their winter journey elsewhere are starting to return to Minnesota and grace us once again with their song. signs of life after the winter tundra. The seasons are a joy and a blessing that I'm thank full for~ rest and recuperation of winter gets me ready for the planting season. Our climate is an interesting one, last week we hadrain, a mini blizzard, a 50+ degree sunny day the chill of 31~ resting at frozen , and now 70 degrees on march 8th, sun warming us~ thawing the soil enough to spread back the straw and leaves we have in place as mulch to plant spinach, beets and radishes~ allowing for us to plant many elderberry cuttings. It is a kind of magic that the smell of moist soil that the first spring rain brings.
We have had such an amazing summer at boot strap urban farm, here are a few photos of our produce, and gardens this year. A special shout out to all thoes who have provided the use of their yards for our vegtables and herbs: we could not do this with out you, it is wonderful to have such elaborate biodiversity rich vegtable jungles across the city. Also a big thanks to our thoes who have taken the time to volunteer in the gardens this year, it was so helpful and also lots of fun to play work and learn togother. Peace
Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and perennial agricultural systems that mimics the relationships found in natural ecologies. It was first developed practically by Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer on his own farm in the early 1960s and then theoretically developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications. — wikipedia.org
Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Here are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.
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We have been starting more seeds every week since February, here is a partiatal list of what we have started so far: starting with allium family plants (onions) such as long red Florance, torpedo, alisa cragg, and yellow of parma & leeks. a few of our favorite herbs, sage, rosemary, valerian, basil, tulsi, parsley, echinacea artichokes & lemon grass. Then moving to the brassica family plants, broccoli,cabbage(both red and green), kale, collards, romanesco & both white and purple cauliflower. next we planted nightshades (tomatoes & pepper family) galore! eggplants, peppers Habanero, Jalapeno, red bell, cherry bomb, pablano. and heirloom tomatoes including Cherokee purple, aunt Gertie's, nayogous, hill billy potato leaf and more. Now we are on to starting spinach and lettuce,
all of our seeds are organic, heirloom, non GMO and many we have saved ourselves. so this year we ordered seeds from; seed savers exchange, bakers creek heirloom seeds, and southern exposure seed exchange. We are excited to put our seed potato order in during the next week and have been carefully choosing some of our favorite most delicious and productive varieties.
The planting is fun and has been made even funner and easier this year due to our apprentice Laura who came to us through part of the permaculture research institute"s apprenticeship program. It is wonderfully rewarding to help plants grow and flourish, it has been a pleasure to share the know how and knowledge of CSA farming with Laura during this early spring planting time.
on Saturday the 27 we went and set up at the Seward flea market we had Bitters Syrup, Immune syrup, Warming salve, cleanse tincture, a calm tincture blend and a healing yarrow salve for sale, it was sunny and beautiful, there were a few other vendors selling their fine wares and crafts as well. It was a great way to spend the day. It is free to set up at the Seward flea market, for 2014 it has been the last Saturday of every month. October 25th will be the last for the year. if you want to pick up some of our amazing hand crafted herbal medicine stop by and check us out~ from 9- 5. also if you know and artists that would like to make a little extra $ tell them to come and join the market.
This weeks box inculdes Beets, Carrots, Red Russian & Red-bor Kale, Broccoli, Leeks, Summer squash, Butternut squash, Corn, Sage, Mint, Peppers, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Onions & Tomatoes
This week Jon is in New York at the Peoples Climate March, he rode out there with some 300 Minnesotans on 6 buses! More than 40000 people joined the march including 12 hundred marching bands! ~more info about the march can be found on democracynow.org and online @peoplesclimate.org/
In one of our gardens we have planted the three sisters ~ corn beans and squash, with the addition of cherry tomatoes. It is growing wonderfully and it is amazing to see this poly-culture in full swing, with squash growing on the ground around the corn and Cherokee trail of tears black pole beans and cherry tomatoes growing up the corn stalks, it makes such use of a small space. When harvesting from the center of this garden patch, I almost forgot I was in the city as I was surrounded by such productive lush green plants. Another amazing poly-culture we have been planting for the past 3 years is broccoli, bush beans, thyme & onions. All of the plants in this combination seem to be a lot more productive when they are planted together. I truly enjoy exploring what poly-cultures and plant communities do well together. Thanks to our CSA members and the people who have donated their yards for making these beautiful garden harvest, experimentation & exploration moments possible.
I have also been gathering herbs such as Yarrow, Calendula, Echinacea, Mullen, Elderberries, & Burdock, in preparation for our fall herbal medicine baskets. The baskets include tinctures, salves, syrups, and more. If you or any one that you know would be interested please spread the word Info , photos & more, can be found on the community supported herbalism page
we have had a wonderfully productive season so far this year our CSA shares have become increasingly bigger and heaver as the season goes on by the week the august 23 box included~ Tomatoes, Carrots, Squash, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Broccoli, Beans, Kale, Beets, Bell Peppers, Thyme, Onions & Basil.
this weeks box has Tomatoes Carrots Squash Cucumbers Potatoes Broccoli Beans Kale Rosemary Dill Cilantro
After unseasonably cold nights and multiple confrontations with an inconsiderate squirrel, the tomatoes are finally here. In our first year as a CSA, early Czech Bush Tomatoes were ripe by June. Last year they were ripe by July. This year we had to wait until August because due to global climate disruption, Minnesota has been gifted the air from an arctic jet stream since January. Some plants have responded quite well to the cooler summer but tomatoes have been quite slow to ripen and have almost come in danger of falling of the vines a couple of nights as that is what happens when the temperatures fall below 50. They have bravely held out through the cold nights and now they are quite delicious.
As I mentioned earlier some tomatoes have also gone through squirrel damage. We left those out of your boxes though. We have a variety of techniques to deal with the animals eating our vegetables. In May we asked Orin to run and scream like a monster towards a very fat rabbit coming down the sidewalk. The rabbit had been visiting us for a couple months, mainly rummaging through our compost, but some of our kale starts had began to be eaten. After Orin scared the rabbit away, they did not come back. A couple weeks ago, Eve had a conversation with the squirrel in our yard about how they could have anything in the compost but they should stop biting holes in all of the ripe tomatoes because we had to sell them in order to pay for living here and growing this food. The squirrel listened intently and looked at her the whole time she was talking but disregarded the conversation entirely a couple days later. Due to the squirrel’s unwillingness to accept this proposal, I decided to go to mother earth gardens and buy a squirrel repellent made out of dried blood and essential oils. I sprinkled them around the base of our tomato plants, the squirrel stayed away, and that is how you have tomatoes today.
Thanks for helping us turn the city into a garden,
this weeks box includes
Detroit dark red Beets, Baby Dragon Carrots, Gypsy Broccoli, Swiss Chard,red russian Kale, Lettuce, Arugula, Provider Green Beans & Garden sage
This year we started working with a new company called green bee juicery they are wonderful. Green Bee has been buying kale, collards, dandelion greens and lettuce from us and juicing them for sale the same day at the city foods studio. It has been fun to partner with such a great small business. We are also selling fresh vegetables to the river view wine bar for the second year. Thanks for helping build the local foods infrastructure.
Our Gardens are alive with life, this morning when harvesting I saw a tree frog, butterflies, many types of bees and a few friendly beetles. It is feels amazing to bring such biodiversity to spaces that were just monoculture of lawn this time last year.
Here is a recipe I found for green beans & herbs~ try it out and let us know what you think:
- 1/2 pound green beans
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed with 1" green tops still attached, halved lengthwise ( or onions)
- 3 large garlic cloves, each cut lengthwise into 4 slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or butter)
- 2 tablespoons sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine scallions (or onions) in a skillet with herbs and olive oil simmer until nicely browned, boil beans in enough water to cover until tender, then add to oil mixture remove from heat and serve ~ enjoy
Today we harvested for our community supported agriculture shares♡ the first box of the 2014 season includes: radishes, kale, beets, lettuce, arugula, spinach, rhubarb, cilantro & sage yum! We also harvested 6 pounds of Red Russian Kale 4 oz of Oregano and 4 oz of Marjoram for the wonderful chefs at the Riverview Wine Bar.
Vandana Shiva tells it like it is. What seeds will you save this year? we saved calendula, lettuce, basil, peppers, tomatoes, goldenrod, yarrow, dill, echinacea, and many more from last years growing season!
I realized that the thaw is finally happening! Today in the garden I noticed that the chamomile we planted last year is as green and vibrant as ever, despite being frozen in a ice bed, and having just been covered with more than two feet of snow. What an amazing tough and resilient little plant. I whole heatedly embrace the essence of that resilience, that calm strength that chamomile has- it brings to mind something a friend told me the other day "we have to live for now not for the future" if we say oh some day I will live sustainability or some day in the future I will read that book or grow that plant or plant that fruit tree, we will never get there we need to be living instead like the chamomile, it didn't wait for all the ice to thaw to become green and vibrant, instead it is calmly, steady and strongly choosing to be the way it wants to be in life now, not some day but now. I will carry this with me in the coming weeks and continue to get it done as it comes, knowing that as we reached 2,000 + views on our little blog/ website, started a twitter account, sold 5 Community Supported Herbalism shares, ordered lots of amazing potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange, and set up to be a part of M.C.T.C's sustainability fair. I realized that this is it and I am able to say that I am living life in so many ways, how I want to now, sewing seeds and plans for tomorrow but being as mindful about living life fully and vibrantly today. In closing I would like to say get off the internet and go out side and play.
"The right of corporations to force-feed citizens of the world with culturally inappropriate and hazardous foods has been made absolute [in the globalizing economy]. The right to food, the right to safety, the right to culture are all being treated as trade barriers that need to be dismantled…we have to reclaim our right to nutrition and food safety. We have to reclaim our right to protect the earth and her diverse species. We have to stop this corporate theft from the poor and from nature. Food democracy…is the new agenda for ecological sustainability and social justice.”—Vandana Shiva in “Stolen Harvest”