Holy Heatwave!

If it’s not one extreme weather situation it’s another…bring on the heat.  We’re looking at a solid week of 90+ degree temperatures, with that always-lovable accompaniment of Midwest humidity as our weather forecast for the remainder of June.  Despite the sultry conditions, we’ve gotten a lot of good work done on the farm the past couple of days.  The field dried up enough from the aftermath of the never-ending thunderstorms to allow us to FINALLY plant our seedlings!  It’s beginning to look like a real garden out there now, with tomatoes, squash, bush beans, snap peas, and lettuce growing happily in the ground and basking in the sun.

If you take a look at our slideshow of pictures, you’ll see a new plot of land has been added to the farm!  The farm is like a 24-7, free-for-all buffet for all the rabbits and deer of Northfield, so we have been experimenting with better ways to plant our more delicate crops to keep them out of the larger field and away from the pesky critters.  We’ve had success so far with our spinach, which is growing in elevated wooden tables, and our snap pea and lettuce garden, which we fenced off entirely with chicken wire.  We replicated this tactic in our new patch, situated on the opposite side of our greenhouse as our herb garden.  After hoeing up stubborn grass roots (and plastic knives and pens – how did those get 6 inches underground??) for two days, we finally cleared a suitable piece of ground in which to place our kale seedlings.  A quick run to Menard’s for more chicken wire and scrap lumber to designate the garden’s boundaries, and our new garden was complete! 

Next week we’ll be busy mulching like maniacs.  Our field thankfully hasn’t gotten too weedy yet, so we want to make sure we get our mulch down before that becomes too big of a problem.  Half the field has already been mulched, and it is looking great!  However, the chickens have gotten a little bit too frisky as of late, and think it’s just loads of fun to kick up our straw everywhere and peck through the newspaper to seek out the bugs and grub underneath the mulch.  They also find that the nests they make in our mulch are much more suitable to rest in during the hot, sunny hours than the nests they have in their SHADED COOP.  Their free-range privileges may have to be temporarily suspended if they continue to misbehave.  It’s a good thing they’re cute though…that’s their saving grace.

We’ll be heading across the river tomorrow to chat with the farmers from Carleton and check out their farm.  It’s always fun to see what great ideas other local gardens have!

Have a great weekend!

 

The Great Chicken Rescue 2012

Remember this from last week?  (We posted this photo on our Twitter: follow us!)

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That’s nothing.

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We’re drowning over here.  Literally.  Today’s post is titled, “The Great Chicken Rescue” because that’s exactly what we spent today doing: saving our favorite fowl from the floodwaters that left their coop resting in an inch or so of leftover rain.  We had been planning to move their coop for a few days now, so the storms were a good excuse to get on that task; however, the ground surrounding the coop was under at least 3 inches of water, which forced us to move the chickens to another coop entirely.  They weren’t too happy about the change of location, and we spent the good half of an hour running around like awkward flamingoes in galoshes through the weeds, desperately trying to catch and transport the hens from pen A to pen B.  The biggest challenge was cornering Ozzie: he made sure he made it as difficult as possible for us to catch him.  He used his wings to his advantage a few times and even tested his swimming skills in the swampy waters before he tired out enough for us to wrangle him in.  Never a dull moment here…

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The field is completely saturated, so we were unable to continue planting.  However, everything left in the greenhouse is growing fabulously, so when the ground does dry up enough for us to plant, the seedlings will be healthy and strong and ready to transplant.  We finished up the morning stuffing our lettuce patch with as many lettuce and snap pea seedlings as we could possibly fit.  Hope you like snap peas St. Olaf, you’ll be eating them for the rest of your lives in the caf this fall!

Storms, Straw, and Seedlings

This week brought some much needed rain to the farm finally!  The soil that once resembled gray chalk is now a pleasant charcoal color, and the plants are thriving.  Today’s forecast called for severe thunderstorms; this morning at work, we were unsure if the ominous dark skies and accompanying thunder encroaching upon Northfield were truly rain clouds or the apocalypse.  We finished setting up bean canopys, planting lettuce, squash, beans, and peas, and cleaned up just as the skies erupted.

Our straw that was meant to be delivered today for mulching purposes was delayed because of the weather; we will pick up right where we left off with that task on Monday.

Stop by a farmers market this weekend to support your local farms and pick up some delicious, fresh produce!  Have a great Father’s Day!

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It’s all fun and games at STOGROW, until someone puts on the bee suit.

Bon Appetit

STOGROW sells all of its produce to our school’s cafeteria, which uses Bon Appetit as their catering company.  Our farm has a special relationship with Bon Appetit: they agree to buy all of our farm’s harvest, which allows us as farmers the freedom each year to experiment with different crops or ways of growing without having to worry about finding a market to sell to.

Take a few minutes and explore Bon Appetit’s webpage. You’ll be pretty impressed by their sustainable efforts, especially considering their size as a national food/catering company.  As a farm, we are lucky to be able to partner with them, and the students and staff at school certainly enjoy the gourmet cuisine that is prepared for us daily in the cafeteria!

http://www.cafebonappetit.com/

The Future of Food

“The Future of Food” is an eye opening documentary about the truth behind the food we eat and the industrial food corporations currently controlling the food industry. It gives a thousand more reasons why locally owned, organic foods need to become the “norm” again in this world.

Happy Friday!

The seedlings in the greenhouse are shooting up like weeds now!  Hopefully by the beginning of next week, we’ll be able to transplant a lot of them outside.  Oh, and by the way, if anyone knows any good rain dances, hit us up with some YouTube links.  The sunshine and the warmth are great, but we could use a little precipitation: it’s like planting in a field full of boulders out there.

Sarah inspecting our happy snap bean seedlings.