Saturday, August 30, 2008

We're Plowed!

Just a short entry to update everyone following the farm's progress. I know you all are anxious and waiting for our first harvest - well, as I can feel your excitement, remember this is a fall garden, meaning it gets planted in the fall - think October....

The field did get its second round with the tractor and it looks awesome out there. (Batteries died in the camera, so I cant' post a pic right now -you will have to take my word for it.) Jack, an ol' farmer from these parts in days gone by, ran into me at the feed store the other day and told me he'd come over with Larry to watch him plow. "You've got some good soil over there!" He told me. All righty then! Now I'm really chomping at the bit to get that last tilling done so we can really get stuff planted in the ground.

I've got some 250+/- plants started in seed trays. Another batch will get planted this week and our workshare helpers will come next weekend, postponed from today, to plant more and put up the fence around the field.

There have still been some inquiries about shares and we may still have a few join. Technically, I guess we can add folks up to harvest for the season. We have plenty of land ready to go and I have more than enough seeds and plants to grow. So if you have a friend looking to join, just have them get in touch with me.

I'm getting caught up around the house and shop this weekend and praying for a bit of rain, just for good measure, before the final tilling. We want those weeds to be exhausted! Then, compost and other soil amendments will get turned into the soil, fence goes up, rows get hoed, irrigation gets set out, seeds and plants go in and things get growing!

Next Saturday is Market Day, so we'll be open to the public from 9-4, (market is till noon). Come on out and see us! Be sure to bring the kiddos so they can feed the chickens and see the new baby chicks, too. Here is a pic of a few....




Marie

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

After the rain....

We wait for the rain, praying with anticipation that it will come. Then, it won't stop! But, I firmly believe the seasons happen just they way they are supposed to. There still are certain things we as humans, can't control - thankfully! The "trick" is, we have to learn to sit still, listen, watch, really observe and even feel nature at work so we can work with it. Sounds a bit mysterious, but I think the more you are out in nature, the more you see it differently. So for some reason, I'm really not frustrated at the week or so I felt like I "lost" to the rains for getting the gardens ready for planting. I think we're right on time.

Now it is true, sometimes you can "feel" a time where there is an opportunity to get a head start. Brad and Jenny, my farmer friends near Bryan, had that slot this summer and are just about to enjoy some really late summer or very early fall, however you want to look at it - squash. And, when you have beds that are established you can generally catch those windows - if the prior season's plants are all done, the beds are clean and you've been able to re-work and prepare them for the next crop - before that short window closes.

It is amazing to watch the trees seem to cry out to the heavens for a break during the summer dry spells - you can really almost hear them! Then, even more awesome, is to watch the skies open up and give them what they ask for - what their Maker knows they need! Why the floods then? Sometimes, it is because we have used up too much of the precious ground that should be drinking in the precious rains. It has nowhere else to go. Coming from a family of construction industry workers, my thoughts about development are not always kindly received. I'm sure there is a balance somewhere - I really hope for future generations we figure it out - soon.

(OK - it is Sunday morning and I'm feeling a bit spiritual I guess - but then, you come out here and see all that just "is" and I don't know too many who won't feel it, too. It is hard to escape, even if you wanted to.)

We're going to get to really plow the plot up today - it should be awesome now that the ground is good and soft - a far cry from a few weeks ago when it was like a dust storm! Our friend from Canton, Glen McIlvain, is bringing in his tractor for us again. After he plows, he'll hit it with the disk once more to smooth out any big clumps. If it is smooth enough then, the amendments can get added and our work share members will be putting up the fence next weekend. We're also going to be starting more seeds throughout the week and hopefully everyone will have a chance to hoe a row next weekend! Y'all can come out and see us if you want, you are certainly more than welcome, to help or just observe. We'd love to have you!

The Dallas Morning News' NeighborsGo on line paper is going to follow our progress by stopping out from time to time and filming things. This blog will have links to the on line video series by our friend and editor, Jenice Johnson, called "Life on the Farm" when it starts, and my Life on the Farm blog, seperate from my normal "Eden's Gardner" gardening blog, is on NeighborsGo for those who are not CSA members but that might be interested in seeing a new farm popping up right in their town but don't know about this blogspot. Feel free to visit both. I'm not a professional writer, these are just my attempts at tracking the process. Who knows, maybe it will inspire someone else to start farming a small plot of land! That is the goal of TOFGA - to grow more farms, locally, organically and bring more healthy and naturally good food to the tables of the folks who live nearby; eat local. We're on our way to do our part! All of us together can make a small splash and watch the ripples......

Enjoy your Sunday - try to stop and watch some nature today - you'll be blessed for it if you can.
The beautiful rainbow shot above was taken by CSA member David Sheppard after one of the first of the thirst quenching rains came through - look closely, you'll see the double promise!

Marie

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Monday, August 18, 2008

While we wait

Just wanted to let y'all know some of what we're going to be planting for you this fall. I've completed and submitted the seed order for what will be a bit of a later fall harvest than we'd hoped for, but you just can't control the rain! It has taken this long to get some so we can actually work the soil. The second and final round with the tractor should take place this week - if we can get enough of a break in the rain to get out it out there. You know the saying, when it rains, it pours.

The good news is, here in north central Texas, our growing season can last well into what most of the rest of the country considers winter. Things will slow down for sure, the daylight hours growing fewer will impact growth, but the temps will hold steady or generally be controlled with some frost cloths or hoop houses to protect from most of those early season cold snaps.

Here is a sample of what we're looking at planting;
Green Finger Cucumbers, a variety of lettuces & greens; several varieties of squash - Delicata, Red Kuri, Sweet Reba Acorn to name a few; beets; Mammoth Melting Peas; Leeks; cutting onions; chard; radishes; pok choy; garlic (for next spring); and a variety of herbs for cutting fresh to add to your cooking each week! Ok - now I'm hungry....

Keep checking back for more updates and pics - as I have time, I'll post.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!
Marie

Friday, August 15, 2008

What's that falling out of the sky?


oh it is R A I N!!!! And a nice, steady one at that. We really need this - and we're supposed to get rain for the next 3 or so days! This means the plowing will probably take place mid week next week.

It is Friday the 15th and there are still about 10 spaces open for the fall season's CSA shares. We're going to go ahead and move forward even if we don't get 26. I've kept my "day" job, so I can still pay my bills for now. And the grocery bill will go down a lot!

I have several folks who've requested working shares, which of course, will help with the work load, especially while I need to keep my regular job. (Sorry, there are not any more working shares available at this time.)

If you have signed up, look for a short note from me this weekend and we'll talk about pick up days/times, the carpool idea and a few other things that have been brought up.

That is all for now - enjoy the rain!

Marie
Eat your food - naturally!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Get your umbrella!

I guess you guys have been praying for rain - cuz it is on its way! This is going to help the ground preparation process so much. We were able to disk the soil but the ground was so hard the plow would've potentially damaged the tractor had he brought the one he had. So, we are borrowing another style of plow from another friend of the tractor owner - and we'll really plow up the ground like we need to.

I suppose if the ground wasn't so hard, a few trips with a disk would be ok - but we really need to deep plow this first time to get up as much of the prairie grasses as we can - root and all. Thankfully, this isn't really a Bermuda pasture - whew! - just a little bit seems to have survived what was apparently an attempt to seed it many years ago. But, by plowing it up - we'll expose roots and they'll cook in the sun and we'll remove the vegetation and add it to the compost heap. We'll make good use of whatever we pull out.

We have about 12 folks so far committed - which is great! I really didn't know if anyone would respond to this CSA, being it is our first year. But I am very honored to have your support and it is my pleasure to do this for you - for us all!

Eating healthy is so very important. Much more so than most people really realize. We as a society have gotten so far away from nutrition, eating from scratch - eating around a dinner table, I truly believe that is why we have so many people suffering from so many things today.

I urge you to check out the book, Makers Diet. Not for the purchasing of any of his products, but for the theory of how we have so far strayed away from what our bodies were designed to eat.

Well - more another day. Feel free to add your comments. And again, thank you for letting me do this for us all!

Marie
Eat your food - naturally!
video

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Breaking Ground

August 9th - D Day - or should it be P Day (for plowing day)? At any rate, I went out to the pasture this morning, it was relatively quiet for an urban farm - the quiet sounds of roosters and a bullfrog or two mixed in with the sound of highway traffic. Almost perfect.

Here is what the pasture looks like at this moment, early sun coming up over the trees. Breaking ground is exciting. I am waiting on the tractor and plow to arrive to get started. While I waited, I went to see my feed store friends, Jacky and Matt, about some fencing. Jacky is going organic! Well, at least on one of his acres of garden anyway. It is a start. He wanted to know what to do to "go organic". Turns out, last year he already was. He keeps rabbits and used manure over the entire garden last winter and let it mellow the soil - had the best tomatoes of all his friends! It's catchy - once you see how well it works. He'll be hooked in no time.

Well, here is the video and some sounds of the morning - listen closely, you can hear the bullfrog's song. I plan to tape some of the ground breaking so you can see the transformation from pasture to gardens.



Marie
Eat Your Food - Naturally!






video

Friday, August 8, 2008

Twas the night before ground breaking...

AUGUST 8th - Tomorrow is the big day - the big tractor and plow are coming in to break up the ground! Fortunately, you only have to plow deeply like this the first time you break ground in a sustainable farming operation. But we really will save a lot of labor and time using a tractor versus a small or even large, tiller. In subsequent years, we'll use very little in the way of mechanical equipment. By doing this, we will help keep the topsoil in place and the life of the soil that lives close to the surface.

I'm very excited to get going and if you'd like to come watch, you're more than welcome. We'll probably not get started too early, our friend is coming in from East Texas to do the work.

Our friend Jenice at NeighborsGo.com will also be chronicaling the event as well as the progress of this urban farm. Watch for video updates to come at http://www.neighborsgo.com/edensgardener.

We still have plenty of shares open. I want to welcome the first 5 members though and I look forward to meeting all of you in person!

Marie
Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Humble Beginnings

It is August 7th - almost the 8th - and finally the 100's seem to have ceased. At least, the air feels less heavy, the evenings are cooling a bit and the end of the heatwave is in sight.

Still no rain, which would've been good considering we're scheduled to break ground for the new fall garden Saturday morning. It may be a bit dusty, but we need to get started. Already a bit behind where we wanted to be.

Good thing we're going to practice sustainable, no-till gardening techniques. A good tractor is hard to find in the city! My good friend from Canton has to come into town with his big John Deere and a plow but it will be worth it - he'll get to take home fresh produce once it comes in - working shares, gotta love it!

Well, here is where I'll try to keep things updated as I can, a bit of a journal if you will. For now, I'm still planning what and how many to plant. If you have some special requests for the CSA shares - let me know!

Eat your food - naturally!
Marie