Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Alright, winter is almost here, and what does that mean? Cover crops! Here at Boistfort Valley Farm, we try to cover crop all our fields with a healthy carpet. We exclude next season’s early crop ground so we will have an easier time preparing the soil in March and April.
So what is a cover crop?
It is any cultivated crops grown between periods of regular crops to benefit the soil. Farmers grow cover crops to prevent soil erosion, add humus to the soil, and to add available plant nutrients. Also, if done properly cover crops will diminish certain weed pressures. Common coves are winter rye, oats, fava beans, clovers, and field peas to name a few. At BVF, we use a crimson clover and winter rye mix. These two will come up 2 to 3 weeks after sown and will grow slowly all winter until the first warm days of spring show. Then the rye grows like gang busters reaching 2 and half feet until it heads while the clover reaches about a foot with a 2-3 inch bright red flower. We grow the rye for its hardiness and its ability to add organic matter to the soil once plowed down. The clover, a legume, fixes nitrogen in the soil, making it available to next season's crops. Mike also claims, more than anything, that we grow the clover for its pretty red flowers.
This season Mike was able to sow all the needed fields on time which is a difficult task to get done before the fields become too wet. Now that it is the third week of November, the rye and clover is all up and strong. So in many ways, the 2011 farming season is already in the works.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Natalina made the prettiest mud pie at the Lincoln Elementary Harvest Fair (just visiting).
Our local Grange planted a community garden, and a bunch of us turned out to harvest potatoes and Winter squash one sunny morning. Natalina participated by clinging to me while I tried to fork up potatoes.
I went out on a field walk one lovely afternoon, only to find myself the victim of a (rather vicious) wasp. I am no foe to wildlife, but will someone please tell me why wasps are good?
The hand that was spared, for reference.
I promise to be more diligent in writing!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I have made a study of the Super Speedy Simple stir fry, and I want to share it with you. This is perfect for those early evenings when you're short on time and really, really hungry. I have been known to eat an entire pan full of vegetables, and have to make more for Mike, when he isn't here to claim his share.
Here's how it starts:
Put on rice or rice noodles to cook.
Chop up half a bunch of garlic tops (okay, I admit it. I forgot about them in the crisper drawer for three weeks. Yes, they're still good) OR about 4 cloves of garlic. Saute with sunflower oil while you halve and slice 4 good sized carrots. Add a little water to the pan when the garlic starts to smell toasty. Stir garlic, add in carrots and cover, let steam while you chop about three heads of broccoli into bite sized pieces. Add them in, continue stirring occasionally. Chop up bok choy and a squash or two (zucchini, whatever you have). Add & stir squash and bok choy and cook with the lid on, about five minutes. Remove lid and add salt, pepper and a bit more sunflower oil if desired. Cook off any remaining water and brown as desired.
For a quick sauce,
a little toasted sesame oil
a little rice vinegar
Tamari or soy sauce
a little Honey
ginger (fresh is best, but I never have it, so I use powder)
creamy peanut butter (use the good stuff)
a pinch of cayenne if desired
Heat over low heat and stir until smooth. Add more water if needed.
Use whatever vegetables are handy-just add the ones that need the least amount of cooking last. Cauliflower and carrots will always take longer than squash or bok choy.
Sorry, no picture. I always eat it too quickly to think about it.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Liana and I spent last Sunday at my favorite market on Earth--the Ballard Farmers Market. I have been absent from the market since the birth of my daughter three years ago. My return was the most I could hope for-familiar faces, beautiful weather, the smell of delectable donuts wafting through the air. Some of my favorite farmer friends attend the Ballard market, and Judy Kirkhuff, the manager...well, Judy has both my respect and admiration.
Here are a couple photos from our first Sunday. We'll have more produce as the season progresses. Coming soon: beans and tomatoes!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
so, you've never eaten kohlrabi?
Most of you will be pleasantly surprised. It has a mild, slightly sweet, almost cabbage-like flavor. It's perfect for dipping or for slicing and eating like an apple. The peel is hard, but the flesh is crisp and tender. Don't be afraid to use it in soup or stir fry, even in place of broccoli...they're not so distant relatives.
Here's a recipe from Epicurious.com, using kohlrabi and kale, another green that people find tricky:
Sautéed Kale with Kohlrabi
Adapted from Gourmet, September 2009 by Ian Knauer
2 bulbs kohlrabi, peeled
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bunch kale, stems and center ribs discarded
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/6 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
Very thinly slice kohlrabi with slicer.
Whisk together lime zest and juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi with dressing.
Finely chop kale. Heat remaining oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add kale by the handful, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more kale as volume in skillet reduces. When all of kale is wilted, sauté with 1/4 teaspoon salt until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Toss kale with kohlrabi and pistachios.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Garlic flowers, or scapes, are a mild flower bud that our hardneck garlic produces as Summer approaches. A mild, less pungent version of our favorite garlic, it lends itself beautifully to stir fries, sauteing, and general cooking. We harvest the buds as soon as they appear. For those of us who need garlic in our lives year-round, this mild Spring garlic fits the bill nicely.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Your neurotic, sun-starved farmers are anxious to get more seeds in the ground!
Not to mention that we're so used to this gloomy weather, that whenever the sun does come out, we are in a panic to get everything done, and we're so darn hot. 75 degrees? I don't know if we can bear it.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
They were an amazing group, and I wanted to share their words with you:
1.) How do the greenhouses help the plants?
- They keep them warm and protect them from the weather.
- It helps by keeping the same temperature and to keep the bugs and animals away.
- To prepare the plants for the outdoors.
2.) What is a cover crop and how does it help the soil?
- Plants like clover, for erosion control, put nutrients back in the soil.
3.) Why is it good to plant lots of different kinds of plants?
- Because say an animals eats a certain plant. If you have the same plants, he will eat all of them. But if you have different plants, he will eat only some.
- That creates biodiversity.
- The more plants there is there will be more animals.
- It keeps some alive when others die.
4.) How do the trees you planted help Boistfort Valley Farm?
- They help Boistfort Valley Farm give homes to animals who need homes.
- It provides habitat.
- It keeps the mud from flooding in.
5.) What are some ways that organic farmers keep harmful bugs away?
- They get owls, lady bugs, grasshoppers, and more…
- They make habitats for birds so they can kill the bad bugs.
- They attract birds and insects that eat harmful insects.
I am excited to have students here on the farm, and impressed by the organizations who are working to make these programs available. Dawn mentioned that the students also "participate in water quality testing in the Chehalis Basin and attended the Student Congress in March to do fun watershed-related activities like build birdboxes and discuss water quality data and make recommendations for improving the basin."