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Salad kale!

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[From 10-Sep-2013] Salad kale! Tiny, tender leaves, it’s our finest kale!! Production is simple: fast-growing Red Russian flat leaf kale is direct seeded, plants tightly crowded in-row, restricting growth and producing an abundance of baby leaves that keep coming back, week after week. I’ll try tightly seeding some other varieties, though I don’t expect they’ll do nearly as well, they don’t grow fast enough to make repeated harvests practical. We still transplant Red Russian and other kale varieties at our standard 18″ spacing, but end up taking more and more of this small stuff every week (first tried this direct seeding approach last fall). Calling it “salad kale” was kinda tongue-in-cheek (I think Ashley came up with it, or maybe it was me), some tiny farm marketing action that also happens to totally fit!

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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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