Sunday, August 21, 2011


After all of the frustration and HARD WORK of getting the garden in, finally we are harvesting a lot of food!  Our CSA members are very happy.  They get at least $12 worth of fresh organic produce each week for $10 (they sign up for 13 weeks of deliveries), and lately they have been getting closer to $15 worth!  We have so much, and I would rather give them all a bit more than take it in to the market and take my chances on it selling.

The potatoes, oh the potatoes.  How I wish I could eat them, but they are so high in carbs that I treat myself to a small potato maybe once or twice a week.  Someone told me that blue potatoes have fewer carbs and more nutrition.  I guess that is why I am just about out of them already.  Everything Kayla and I dig is gone by the end of the week - if it is a blue potato, that is.  Next year, there will be two full rows of blue potatoes.

My beans didn't do at all well.  We are expanding the garden, and they are in the new area.  The poor production there certainly shows how much we have improved the old garden area.  Things do not grow very well in the new parts.  We didn't plant much of the new area this year because we knew it wouldn't be that good, but we really needed the room.  In an effort to get the new area up to speed, we are doing some special prep work.  Most of it is still grass, with just a few areas planted - beans, squash and melons being about all that went in there.  We just mowed the grass low, and I am going to sprinkle it with SeaAgra sea salt, then sprinkle the area with about 50% of our composted manure, then cover the whole area with tarps.  Hopefully, when we pull up those tarps next spring, the grass will be composted and the salt will have worked its way down into the soil, along with that biodynamic compost.  Next year, I have high hopes for the new part of the garden.

We can no longer use anything for mulch that is not certified organic.  That is a new rule as of April 1, 2011.  I think it is a good rule.  However, my garden is getting so big that I will not be able to mulch using the leftover hay from the hay mow and grass clippings from lawn mowing.  Buying organic straw is cost prohibitive.  So we are going to have to do a "normal" garden next year, tilling between the rows where we used to mulch.  We will use our precious organic grass clippings to mulch around the potatoes and tomatoes.  The rest of it, get out the hoes.  Sigh . . .

Well, I'm just finishing up a new batch of Cheddar cheese, and it's time to wander out to the garden to see what looks good for supper.  Now that is what I call a SUPER market!!


  1. Based upon the problems we're having over here in western Montana with contamination from the new generation of herbicides, it is good to hear the organic standards are tightening-up regarding the use mulches. We've had several seasons of issues with local composts that were made using ruminant manures as feedstocks and the herbicides being used on some of the noxious weeds survive through the digestive tracts and even the composting process and then contaminate the gardens to which the finished compost is added. Not being mindful enough of this on-going issue, I used more than 80 bales of spoiled hay to mulch areas I'm converting to garden last year. This year, a plot where I planted sunflowers has a few plants that are showing the tell-tale signs of that herbicide contamination. I know that any composts I used on that soil were "clean" because I did a bio-assay test on them. So it can only be from the hay I used to mulch that particular spot that would have introduced the herbicide to the soil. The chemical producers' products are only becoming more dastardly. As you would write Susie, sigh...

  2. That is such a bummer! I hope that it is a temporary problem. Do you know what the weed killer was, and what its half life is? Hoping that this is a one-year problem, at least superficially. My farm was conventional through the 2001 corn season, and I worry about what residual s**t is still in the soil.

  3. Herbicides associated with "aminopyralid" or "clopyralid" seem to be the concern. I know the trade names around here I specifically have to watch out for are ones such as "Forefront" and "Milestone" but when you begin researching this you find out just how many trade/brand names seem to proliferate once a new key ingredient is developed in the lab. I'm being just quick and dirty here and not perfectly precise. Here's a couple of good, quick extension service links:

    And another:

  4. Some of the more acute cases gardeners have had around here sound like it has maybe taken 2 to 3 seasons (years) before the stuff has seemed to dissipate enough that no signs of damage appear on the crops they grow in those locations.

    Interestingly to me, some of these herbicides seem to be the ones that are marketed as having the lowest time after spraying until you can supposedly allow ruminants back grazing on the field. You know, I think Forefront says you can allow grazing back on a sprayed field after only 7 days or something like that. But clearly, the stuff is being consumed by the animals, surviving through their digestive tract and even the composting process and a year later, persist enough in finished compost to have it's negative affects on many common garden vegetables. I don't think we even WANT to start thinking about the meat and dairy products that is possibly being produced from those grazers!

  5. I am about to the point of only eating stuff I raised, or stuff from the farmers market that I know is good, can ask the farmer questions. I buy organic for most of the other stuff. I found a place in CA where I can buy truly raw almonds - NOT pasteurized. I try. It's all we can do. We learn our lessons and move on.