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Weeded greens

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[From 18-Apr-2013] Greens from the unheated greenhouse, grown in the subzero cold, tossed on one of the majestic mountain ranges of composting cow manure. It’s actually weeds from around the overwintered spinach, plus a little overlooked rotting winter squash in there as well, if you look close, all waiting to be turned in.

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Faster, slimmer carrots

Sprint carrot

[From 2-Jul-2013] One baby carrot…growing up fast! This is Sprint, a new Amsterdam forcing variety (good for growing in challenging conditions) that matures long and slender in a listed 42 days. That’s fast, over two weeks ahead of the quickest regular carrot we grow (the fabulous Nelson). I always find this new-better-faster hybrid stuff fascinating and a little freakish. Still, all things in moderation and…fun to try!

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Sifting compost (every tool has its day)

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[8-May-2012] Every tool has its day! I bought this metal mesh-bottomed soil sifter in my first couple of years of tiny farming, it seemed like something that would come in handy, but for years after was used only as a handy storage tray. Today, it caught a break as the perfect tool for an experiment with compost in the seedling mix. Took only 20 minutes to fill 1/3 of the can with finely sifted composted cow manure. Beautiful! Some things take time. (Nope, I didn’t finish sifting that whole bucket load, a little went a long way.)

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Basic BELT (bacon egg lettuce tomato)

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[From 8-Sep-2012] More incredibly simple and tasty local food: the basic BELT – bacon egg lettuce tomato – all local except for salt, pepper, butter, and mayo. Bacon from the farmers’ market. Eggs and veg – heirloom tom, second cut baby lettuces and a smattering of arugula – from here. Organic 7-grain bread from a mid-size local indie bakery available at both farmers’ market and supermarket. When you have INGREDIENTS, everyone’s an instant chef!

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Big city garden

Community garden in Montreal

[From 24-May-2012] My first visit to a big city community garden: FANTASTIC! I was happily startled by the energy flowing out of all those tiny, densely packed, hand-built, trellised plots, even though the garden was largely empty when I dropped by. A couple hundred growers doing right by a little LAND.

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Bucket loading

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[From 9-May-2012] Especially in spring, with constant seeding and transplanting, moving gear around the field is a bigger deal than it may seem. Forget stuff, even little things like a hose fitting or a seed plate or some twine, and you’re heading back the equivalent of a block or two or three to get it. A trailer of some sort is the ultimate for a 2-3 acre plot, but with decent packing skills, you can fit a lot into a tiny tractor bucket, too! This carefully balanced load includes everything needed for some direct seeding: the Planet Jr. and Earthway seeders (can’t forget the Earthway seed plates, they’re a perfect fit in that coffee can); seed, clipboard for notes, twine and stakes for row marking (all in that large flower pot); choice rocks for anchoring row cover (it’s never too early to protect brassicas from flea beetles!); and there’s the last of a 50lb bag of snap peas nestled in. It takes a practiced eye to fit everything you need so nothing falls out as you bump along—do it a few times and…easy peasy!

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