Sunday, September 28, 2008

Update on Eden's Garden

It has been a bit slow going, but as one of our work share members exclaimed yesterday, "it is finally starting to really look like something!" Indeed the rows are just about all in and seedlings are ready to go into the soil - as soon as we can irrigate them!

Word came Thursday that they finally were able to ship our irrigation system and I expect it any day this week - hopefully by Tuesday. I can then lay out the drip tapes and we can test the flow, making any adjustments to the grade of the rows needed, and next Saturday - plant those babies!
The bases for the irrigation system's buckets arrived today.

All we need now is the steps to the top and to attach the pallets/platforms.

We are using a gravity-fed bucket irrigation system - totally sustainable once we set up the workshed and rain harvesting barrels.

We'll also direct sow some seeds that have been waiting for this cool front that is promised, too.

Welcome to farming in North Texas - just hurry up and wait...

I'm comforted to know that a long time farmer colleague of mine in Grand Saline hasn't gotten his crops in yet either. We had such a dry spell, seems no one could work the soil when we wanted/needed to. But, that just means a later harvest. And, going forward, the soils will need less and less preparation for planting of some things so we'll have carryover from things planted in the summer to fall, plantings from fall carryover to early winter and so on. This being our first planting - there isn't any carryover yet.

Those who work the field will probably have a different appreciation for things as they can see how long it takes to hoe a row, to level the soil out, and in some cases, to remove some of the huge chunks the tiller didn't manage to break up sufficiently. Yes, some of them will have to go - Kevin will be happy to know I'm not going to plant in the huge chunks.

We saved a lot of time though yesterday not worrying about breaking up everything as we were going. We've got through 17 rows - 100' long and 4' wide - that is going to be a lot of veggies!

I'm linking an old story that I thought did a great job on explaining CSA's and it features one of my mentors, Brad Stufflebeam. I thought you might enjoy reading it and seeing other CSA's, too.

I'll keep you posted - come on out to Market Day next weekend - we are hoping to have carving pumpkins and a local art show featuring some winners of the youth photo contest and photos by Jenice Johnson, professional photographer and local newspaper editor that also is one of our CSA subscribers.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Working Day

This Saturday will be a work day for our CSA working share members. I've laid out rows to be hoed and we'll spread out more amendments, plant more seeds and (hopefully) transplant some of the warmer season seedlings into the ground.

Our irrigation set up is delayed due to Ike - it actually knocked out power to the plant that makes them in New York! Can you imagine that? So we won't plant unless the irrigation comes in so we can set it up.

We'll need all hands on deck the next few weekends so if you're a workshare member reading this - roll up yer sleeves and be ready to work this and the next several weekends. We're about 2 weeks behind where I want to be so we need to try to condense some of the tasks and get caught up.

Volunteers are always welcome - just let me know you're coming and dress for a farm. Please remember, no pets and no smoking. Thanks!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

We Made the Front Page!

Check out the story about your CSA in the DMN NeighborsGo - Mesquite/Sunnyvale/Balch Springs edition or online at

Jenice Johnson will be around from time to time to talk to our members about why they joined a CSA and what it means to them and their families. First up was one of our working share members, Butch Gordon and his family, wife Charity and their 5 children.

I must say as a business person, I do see opportunity to make myself a living doing something I really enjoy, playing in the dirt and helping people eat/be healthier. When in the past, farming meant risking it all on your own, the CSA helps make it happen faster as I can focus on the planning and planting instead of how much debt the farm is racking up and worrying about who will buy the product and where I have to go to sell it, etc. This is the ultimate "work from home" job!

As a person who loves people and cares about helping them be healthy, I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know what I am privileged to do for some of my neighbors. Some of that warm fuzzy feeling I have gets lost in newspaper articles, but I assure you, your stories of how you found me and why are very touching, important and inspiring to me. Growing organically is so cool and rewarding I hope more people take out plots in their own yards to do it on a small scale just for the fun of it.

Some of you have searched and searched for good, healthy, naturally and locally grown food for yourselves and your families - I'm the fortunate one who gets to work the land that has been here all along. I take what I am doing seriously, while having fun and enjoying it every day - and I truly appreciate your support and faith in this project.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Ike took a hike!

Well, I have lived in the DFW area for over 16 years now, but I guess I'm a slow learner. I managed to get taken in by the panic over Ike that swept across the state, even to my mom's weather forecast in Washington state, who called to make sure I was "battened down". I made the mistake of watching too many weather forecasts and local news reports via the Internet over the past few days - and it seems they hyped it up a bit when it came to how it would affect us in North Texas. They didn't really know - it was really anyone's guess.

Where I grew up, we didn't have weather that may or may not come in, could or could not hit. I tell you, if they said it was going to come a storm - IT WAS COMING! All we generally had to do was look to our Iowa neighbors in the west a bit and we could see exactly what our weather was going to be like - and then intensify it a little if you lived nearer to Lake Michigan.

So, when all the buzz about a hurricane the size of our great state here in Texas began, I guess I took it literally and got a bit shook by it. The barn over here is still in a state of disrepair from the tornado, although I finally have some bids to begin working with, and my goodness, I live in a house that is nearly 100 years old and I venture to say that the roof is not very young either! So, had I been feeling a bit more secure in the integrity of the structures around me, I'd probably have been like most native Dallasites - "what storm?"

Well, I'm glad to say we did get the barn roof re-secured and all the misc things you keep thinking you're going to do to tidy up, done. If I could only get that darn spring hooked back up to my riding mower so I could've mowed before the rains....oh well, the horses will get to have a snack in the back yard I suppose.

When served lemons, I'm an expert lemonade maker as a rule. This time I just forgot to squeeze enough.

The good news is that the field is tilled and ready for the final steps and planting. We'd have worked today but the winds are pretty gusty and they'll take the fertilizer to places we don't need it to go. So, we've scheduled a CSA workshare work-day for next Saturday, which again is a market day, and the place will really start to look like a farm. We'll hoe rows, spread the amendments and mix them in. Cucumbers should be ready to go in the ground and even some of the little bite size tomatoes. I didn't plan for too many "summer" veggies as I wasn't sure how early we'd get to plant things, but we'll have a few favorites to enjoy for a little bit. And pickles for the winter!

Well - having said all this, it is time to get some work done. We had moved all the seedlings inside to protect them from what was supposed to be this horrible 8 inch rainstorm with 70 mph gusts of wind - now, I think I'll let them back out so they can enjoy a drink of rich rainwater that comes from Above!

See ya'll soon - batteries are charged again, check back for more pics soon!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!