Keep an eye out for any of these common diseases affecting your leafy green crop. Continue reading
Planting leafy greens is exceptionally easy and for many variety results in both an ongoing harvest, as well as the opportunity for a second planting. Continue reading
“Leafy greens” is in fact a pretty generic term for a wide variety of vegetables. Depending on how you’re planning to grow, store and cook them, here are a number of factors about each to consider. Continue reading
Though leafy greens might seem too fragile for cooler temperatures, fall is in fact the best time to plant them in most United States hardiness zones as many varieties prefer cooler weather. Continue reading
Community sustained agriculture (CSA) is a growing trend all across the United States. There are several ways CSA programs (also known as farm shares) can work, but they all boil down to the same principle, which you can read about here.
The Northwest is full of people who love organic produce, so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite CSAs in Washington. Most of these are organic or natural farms. If you’re in the area and interested in joining, don’t worry about it being late in the season! Many of these have pro-rated options, or you can get on the list for next year. Even if you’re not in Washington, lots of these websites have recipes and other great content you’ll find useful. So check them out and see what the Evergreen state has to offer.
(It was hard enough to narrow our list down to these, so we saved ourselves some trouble and did not put them in any order of preference. It’d be too hard to decide!)
Abundantly Green, Poulsbo, WA
Abundantly Green is a farm with simple goals. They provide food that doesn’t use herbicides, pesticides, or GMOs, and hasn’t traveled the interstate. They have a summer CSA as well as a year-round program. They also offer a chicken share, where you can get 8 whole chickens, either all at once or spread throughout the year. In addition to produce and chicken, the farm raises and sells pork, lamb, beef, and eggs.
Boistfort Valley Farm- Curtis, WA
Boistfort Valley Farm seems to have everything figured out. They are certified organic, have both a summer and a winter CSA, and are featured at several farmers markets and stores throughout Washington. Their website features a community recipe page, and they’ve just started a video series that offers great insight into the “behind the scenes” of the farm.
Of course, the CSA is our main focus. Boistfort not only has a variety of share sizes throughout the year, but they have drop sites from Portland to Seattle, so if you’re in the Northwest, there may be one near you. They’ve also started a CSA scholarship fund, so that those who otherwise couldn’t afford the large lump sum payments can have access to fresh organic produce.
Growing Things Farm- Carnation, WA
Nestled on the Snoqualmie River, Growing Things Farm has been partnering with their animals and the land to provide their customers the best tasting and most nutritious produce possible since 1991. They work with minimal machinery, and incorporate their animals into a holistic management system. They raise vegetables, berries, fruit, eggs, pastured meat birds and pork, and grass-fed beef. They’ve chosen to be certified naturally grown instead of USDA Organic (mostly paperwork differences), and emphasize the importance of knowing your farmers and reading labels carefully, whether the sticker says the food is organic or not.
The Growing Things Farm CSA program runs for 16 weeks, beginning in June. Their early crop includes greens such as spinach, baby salad, and a lot of Asian greens. Later in the season, there is more variety, including beats, tomatoes, peas, beans, broccoli, and much more. They also have options for fruit and egg shares, so you can get a lot of your food in the same place! They operate on a weekly pickup schedule and do offer payment plans to fit different budget needs. Our favorite part is that they sell veggie starts too, encouraging people to start their own gardens.
Hedlin Farms, Mt. Vernon, WA
Hedlin Farms grows both organic and conventional produce on their almost-400 acres. Their CSA boxes feature mostly their products, but occasionally, items from other local farms with the same ideals. Accounts are managed online, making it easy for members to schedule vacation weeks, which they can make up at the end of the season. They also share recipes to spark inspiration for how to use the items in their boxes.
Klesick Family Farm, Stanwood, WA
The Klesick Family Farm has a passion for doing good, hence their tagline “a box of good”. There are a variety of options for their CSA shares, including a “juicer” box full of juicable produce. They source their offerings from their own farm and several local ones, and deliver all throughout Washington. Members can choose to donate boxes or money to several charities, expanding the reach of the good the Klesick CSA does. The Klesicks also offer coaching and consulting on agricultural and business solutions.
Nash’s Organic Produce, Sequim, WA
Nash’s Organic Produce is another CSA that seems to have it all. In addition to the recipes available on the website, members get access to a weekly newsletter with recipes, health tips, and news from the farm. Farm share membership is also accompanied by a 10% discount on Nash’s products at their Farm store and Farmer’s Market stands. Pick-up is available at several Farmers market in several Washington towns.
So those are some of our favorite CSAs and Farm shares in the state of Washington. What are your favorites?
Here are some REALLY good reasons why you should grow your own tomatoes. Read “Tomatoland” by Barry Estabrook. Or be convinced by these excerpts from the NY Times book review…
“South Florida, where nearly all of America’s winter tomatoes are grown, is nearly…(an)…alien…environment for farming. It’s insane that tomatoes are grown there at all.
“Florida’s sandy soil, Mr. Estabrook writes, is as devoid of plant nutrients as a pile of moon rocks. “Florida growers may as well be raising their plants in a sterile hydroponic medium.”
He continues, witheringly: “To get a successful crop, they pump the soil full of chemical fertilizers and can blast the plants with more than 100 different herbicides and pesticides, including some of the most toxic in agribusiness’s arsenal.” Migrant workers are coated with these chemicals too. The toll that’s taken on them, in the form of birth defects, cancer and other ailments, is hideous to observe and should fill those who eat Florida tomatoes with shame.
And all this for what? Hard, tasteless, uniform green balls that barely dent when they fall off a truck at 60 miles per hour and that must be gassed to achieve the sick-pink hue they present in supermarkets.
Not ready to abandon the pleasures of gardening just because fall is approaching? Here are a few ideas to keep your hand in and to make sure your green thumb stays green.
Planting Bulbs in the Fall
The most obvious solution is to consider planting bulbs in the fall for flowers that will bloom in the spring. Dormant over the summer months, bulbs break dormancy during low temperatures so that growth can resume in fall and early winter. As a general guideline, you can plant your bulbs between mid-August until the soil freezes depending on the species.
Planting Vegetables in the Fall
Planting a vegetable garden in the fall may even be easier than gardening during the summer. Think about it: none of those perspiration-drenched days during hot and Continue reading
Would you like to make growing your own fresh vegetables easier? Then give a thought to raised bed gardening. Gardening in contained soil higher than surface soil provides a number of advantages over growing plants in level ground.
Easily Managed Plots
Raised bed gardening means planting vegetables within smaller sized plots of contained earth.These smaller bed layouts are great for those who have limited room and can be more compatible with today’s busy lifestyles. Rectangular raised beds approximately 3 feet in width make all areas of the bed easily accessible. The length of the bed depends on your needs and your landscape. For more yield, some gardeners plant multiple raised beds with paths between them to allow for easier reach and easy Continue reading
These days, many households are growing their their own fresh, seasonal vegetables in their very own gardens. If you’re contemplating starting your own vegetable garden, here are some basic tips you ought to know.
Grow what you like to eat. Plant a garden that will yield the homegrown vegetables that you know you and your family can enjoy. Don’t over plant. Don’t spend your time and effort growing things you’ll just give away.
Know your vegetables. Do some research. Match what you want to grow with your area and climate for best results.
If you have plenty of time and space, a manageable garden is about 10 feet by 10 feet. Design your garden with long rows or partitioned into grids. Sketch a diagram where Continue reading
You’ve decided you want to try your hand at vegetable gardening. Probably, your first instinct is to grow something you like to eat, something that tastes best when it’s fresh, and something you’d like to have in abundance.
Congratulations. You’ve already taken the first step toward a successful vegetable garden. Grow only what you like.
Pick a location. Vegetables need lots of sunshine, so look for an area that receives plenty of morning sun and more sun than shade all day.
Check the soil. Prepare a plot of flat ground that will receive full sun nearly all day. If you’re planting in your backyard or anywhere outdoors, you need to find out what kind Continue reading