Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Organic Gardening’

The summer has been a busy one with many new and exciting projects around here on our very young evolving farm, and yes, I said “farm”….

For many years our CaMp TuRloCk homestead has been a place for family celebrations, a respite for friends to recharge with some country-time & a menagerie of well loved animals and of course home to Local Choices.

Today it feels good to say our homestead has added a new venue:  A farm!

A farm that grows our own food organically, a farm that provides a pastured haven for chickens of  Shady Oak Organic Eggs, a farm that feeds our family and beyond!

So stay tuned as we look forward to sharing with you our growth, new projects & this amazing gift of nature that is right out our back door.

In the meantime, enjoy some photos from our garden. See, we have been working hard!

(Check back soon for the sound of  happy chickens)

Growing Corn

Lavender at Local Choices

A day's berry harvestPhotos taken by Alexandria Araiza

Read Full Post »

Happy planting, harvesting and eating!

by Neal & Marie Curran

 

Spring is coming and so is our garden! Here at Nine Acre Farm, we are incredibly busy planting our spring/summer garden. Most of this work as of yet is indoors. Our plants go through quite a journey to make it from seed packet to the field. We are trying our hardest to keep conservation-intensive methods in mind even as we work indoors. We hope our process will be helpful to you as you begin your 2011 garden.

1)  A garden-ready greenhouse



Our greenhouse is small, but can fit many plants. We built tables for our plants. On two of our tables we have plastic tubing (a waste material) arched over the tables to support insulating plastic at night.  To warm the greenhouse when it’s cold and at night, we have use an old wood stove and a homemade chimney. Discarded fencing posts from the property fit perfectly in the stove. When it gets too warm in the greenhouse, the walls double as windows that lift open from the bottom.
Also, we make our own potting soil in our greenhouse. It is a mixture of homemade compost, peat, and perlite (available at most Lowes).

2)  Seed packet to greenhouse


In late December and throughout January we started plants such as broccoli, artichokes, celery, kohlrabi, beets, lettuce, leeks, brussels sprouts, and many more. Instead of using plastic trays, which aren’t always space efficient and are wasteful when they fall apart, we use soil blocks. We use the soil blocks to punch out a mold of soil. Each block mold contains 20 1-inch spaces: one for each seed. After seeding, we sprinkle our homemade potting soil over the block and water.

Currently we have begun seeding our tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Because these members of the Nightshade family require higher germinating temperatures than our winter crops would find agreeable, we start them on soil blocks on an electric heat mat. This is an excellent way to get a jump start on summer crops!

3)  Greenhouse rotation

When our seedlings begin to grow out of their one-inch cubes, we move them to two-inch cubes made with a larger soil blocker. The two-inch blocks remain on the tables to be covered with plastic at night, just as the one-inch blocks. After a couple of weeks, we move them to our uncovered table. Here they begin the process of hardening off. The lack of plastic covering at night exposes them to lower temperatures.

4) The Cold Frame


After plants have spent a week or two on the uncovered table, they are moved to the cold frame outside our greenhouse. The cold frame is a wood frame on the ground with a tarp covering the soil. At night, the plants are covered with plexiglass (a waste material available to us). They are uncovered during the day but sheltered with sheet when it gets to warm/sunny. Plants spend about one or two weeks in here.

4) Greenhouse to field


I’m not going to talk much about this part, but I will tell you that once plants leave the nursery and go into the great adult garden, they still receive a little help. They are sheltered nightly with a light row cover. So far we have a few rows of transplants and additional direct-seeded vegetables (snap peas, carrots, turnips, beets, leaf lettuce, radishes, etc.) growing in our garden.

~ For more information about our farm or to join our CSA (starting in mid-March!) check our our website at www.nineacrefarm.com and email us at neal@nineacrefarm.com.


Read Full Post »

Musings by blogger Lydia of “Through the Screen Door”….

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for Spring.  After so many months of cold, rain, frost, and fog, the sun has finally decided to grace us with its presence!  Don’t get me wrong, I love Wintertime too.  Warm fires, fresh bread, rich hot chocolate, savory stews, and holidays with family are all delightful.  But, by this time of year, I’m usually ready for a change.  As soon as we get a sunny day or two, I start fantasizing about warm dirt between my bare toes, and the tangy burst of sun-ripened tomatoes in my mouth!

Last weekend was gorgeous.  My Dad brought over some baby fruit trees and boysenberry starts for me.  I have begged for his assistance in my quest for the ultimate garden, as he is the master, and I cannot yet snatch the pebble from his hand.  I remember, while I was growing up, he always had a garden.  Unfortunately for me, watching him garden back then, and managing my own wayward piece of heaven by myself, are two very different things….

(more…)

Read Full Post »

What is a Community Garden?

Any piece of land gardened by a group of people

A few months ago I visited a community garden and met an inspiring woman who is truly in love with dirt, gardening and the well being of her community. This kind preserver of nature is an ER nurse that admitted playing in the dirt was a great stress reliever. I applaud her for taking this passion one step further by following her dreams and bringing her community together to successfully build 4 community gardens in Riverbank, in just one year!

Her name is Dotty Nygard, she is president of the Riverbank Community Garden Coalition. Partnered with the school district, the city and the community this amazing hands on team have created a wonderful opportunity and educational environment for all, their goal and belief ….” creating consciousness for our earth, our community and ourselves”.

As I strolled through the first garden across from California Avenue School, with my camera in tow, Dotty sat with a group of children and read “Our Generous Garden”, a lovely children’s story about gardening. Quietly listening I could feel the profound respect and connection between Dotty, children and the dirt they learned to love and nurture together.

If Riverbank is your community don’t miss out, become a part of this experience and get dirty!

Read Full Post »

Well, life has been busy here at Local Choices and consequently it has put me behind on my local favorite finds, so I’m catching up by putting together a not so short blip of all I wanted to share with you!

Make sure to right click on the photos to see more and remember…be a locavore & support local!

  • Local Choices on Facebook… for quick updates on what’s going on here in the Central Valley don’t be left in the dark, get yourself a facebook page, become our fan and connect with others!
  • Pure Valley Honey Bees… Frankie and Evelyn by far have the yummiest honey products I have ever tasted! This bee team comes from Le Grande and can be found at Merced, Mariposa and Los Banos Farmers Markets. Visit their website to see what they have & what they are up to!
    Pure Valley honey Bees
  • Xiong & Silva Farms…. a while back I discovered this small corner produce stand in Turlock on Tully & Canal, it is family farmed and diversified with fruits and vegetables, the selection was abundant and super fresh!
Xiong ~ Silva Farms
  • Green Leaf BBQ Shop & Catering…. is a new BBQ Shop located in Village Market Corner on Canal St. in Turlock. Owners Tim & Carrie take pride in offering unique bbq’n supplies that are earth friendly, from Treager bbq’s to wine infused wood chunks for a sweet smoked flavor. Need good quick advice on your techniques check out Tims blog & facebook for fun facts!
Green Leaf BBQ Shop
  • Pageo Farms…. from the road you can see the rows of sweet beautiful lavender but when you drive in there is a whole lot more going on. This charming Turlock farm has a stand with organic fruits & veggies, a large variety of peppers & tomatoes grown by Josh, bath salts, lavender lemonade, lavender cookies and what ever treats they feel like baking up for the day. In the back a courtyard surrounded by lush greenery, renovated barns and silo make for a perfect wedding or party setting. Look for them on 11573 Golf Link Rd. Become their friend on facebook for updates!
Pageo Farms
  • Merced Shares…. all I can say is genious, a group of urban women who love to grow their own foods found they had so much extra they decided to create a “food exchange”, they get together and bring what ever they have left over from their harvest, divide it up and everyone is happy! Learn more about these progressive backyard farmers on their blog!
Merced Share’s
  • Heifer International & UC Cooperative Extension… these two organizations have collaborated to help promote and support community and school gardens teaching organic sustainable agriculture here in the Central Valley. A valuable quest that needs community involvement, want to volunteer? Check out the learning farm in Ceres.
Heifer International & U C Cooperative Extension School Communituy Garden Seminar
  • Cynthia Flesher’s Pink Papaya Spa Parties….Inner Balance and Outer Beauty is her mantra, she is a Certified Massage Therapist in Turlock offering home spa parties with her luscious Pink Papaya skin & body line loaded with 100% pure essential oils. Treat yourself and friends to an “all about me time” and book a party!
Theraputic Body Works by Cynthia Flesher

Check back again for my next Central Valley updates!

Read Full Post »

Young sustainable farmers in the making…

Thanks to Heifer International and University of California Cooperative Extension, who have partnered to help schools and communities start vegetable gardens, and with the collaboration among local non-profits a garden was grown and nurtured by local teens who have learned to farm organic seasonal produce and sell at the West Modesto Farmers Market!

Your are invited to tour this organic youth farm!

August 11

9 am ~ 2 pm

3906 Don Pedro Rd. Ceres

There will be…

  • free seasonal farm grown lunch
  • free seeds
  • educational workshops & resources for teachers and the community
  • fall & winter planting ideas
  • land preparation education
  • drip irrigation instrucion

Enjoy a day of learning, sharing and how to participate

in your local community and school gardens!

Please RSVP to

Anne Schellman ~ aschellman@ucdavis.edu ~

(209) 525.6800

more info here!

Read Full Post »

This my locavores is a must see…..a good step in supporting local!

This is my second post about this documentary and after seeing it my emotional reaction confirmed the importance of  my blog…to share what I feel is important with my community….good whole food & how to find it, I am one small effort to support local and this film is the reason why.

Mark your calendars & take a friend to the beautiful restored  State Theater in Modesto. Food, Inc. is a powerful documentary that will affect the way you eat no doubt, or at least plant a seed in that direction.

The film runs August 14 – August 22…..if you see it, we want some feed back here!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: