Welcome to my first newsletter for 2016! I’ve missed seeing friends and clients come to visit the gardens these last few months. Bodie has been bored to death, too, since he hasn’t been able to welcome everyone with his rowdy hello.
Every year by the end of the garden season, I swear I am going to quit farming! However, when the sun starts to shine again and the days begin to lengthen, I am bitten by the bug! It’s in my blood and I am on a mission to grow luscious vibrant food, educate others on the importance of eating well, and do everything humanly possible to pass on to my grandchildren a sustainable environment.
It seems winter is already winding down. It’s hard to believe that it’s only February, but here we are with bare earth showing her face and yearning for some moisture to quench her thirst. I know my skin is feeling the same way, too! I hope we receive some more heavy wet snow, or if we are going to have an early Spring, which is what the Farmers Almanac and the Groundhog say, we at least have lots of spring rain.
What’s Happening on the Farm
I have been trying to get outside to start pruning my fruit trees and clean up the perennial beds, but the wind has been howling. Makes it a little challenging to say the least, and it fluffs my aura to the point that my brain gets scrambled! Will continue to try, but I have lots more seeding to do in the greenhouse, so that should keep me inside until the weather shifts.
I have had some visitors this week, too! Roxanne and Lee Dunn from White Deer Ranchin Fishtail came by and we spent a lovely afternoon sharing our ideas for growing our businesses. They have been growing micro greens, wild-crafting native plants on their land, and raising cattle, goats, chickens, and bees; homesteading is in their blood. Roxanne and I both share a love of herbs. It’s always so nice to have someone to talk to who knows the challenges of farming, as well! As I always say, “Misery loves company!”
My “go-to, jack of all trades” friend, John, helped me install three new T5 light fixtures in the greenhouse so I can get the seedlings started more quickly. They cost a pretty penny but put out way more light than the old florescent fixtures that I have been using. Hopefully they will be worth it!
Seed catalogs have been piled up all over the house for months now, orders have been placed and delivered and I am already starting seeds in the greenhouse. Just this past week I planted 300 organic heirloom tomatoes, some for the gardens here and the rest for the Good Earth Market. They will begin accepting pre-orders for these plants at the store at the the end of February and you will be able to pick them up the beginning of May. So, if you are wanting to plant some in your own garden, stop by the store to place an order.
I updated my website with all of the new information on Kate’s Garden’s 2016 CSA. I really wrestled with the pricing this year. After talking to my accountant at length and being told I can’t continue to do this any longer without making a profit, I made the decision to put my prices back up to where they were two years ago. This will hopefully allow me to hire more help, purchase some much needed equipment, and pay myself. My only help in the gardens for the last couple of years has been Barbara, and we are both in our 70s! It’s my hope you will continue to value the importance of supporting Kate’s Garden. Not only are we working together to build a strong community but the impact of eating fresh organic food on our health and well-being is vital! When you serve your families fresh organic veggies and herbs grown here in my garden, you can be confident that the land, birds, insects, and, yes, even the weeds have been blessed and honored for their role in serving the gardens. There is a symbiotic relationship between all of these energies and I continue to learn to work with them in creating a chaotic, wild natural beauty, and luscious-tasting, vibrantly-healthy food. It is so much fun! The food that is grown this way just tastes so darn good!
This is the time of year when financial expenditures are heavy for us farmers. We purchase new tools, equipment, seeds, soil amendments, sharpen tools and service power equipment so that everything is ready for the new season. That’s why it is so important to make sure our CSA’s are marketed well and the deposits and payments come in early. We also need to determine how much we should grow of each crop. How many CSA subscribers will we have? My transplants are normally started in the greenhouse beginning early February because it is not financially feasible to purchase them and it is also impossible to find organic, heirloom plants, which is what I grow. If I don’t have a pretty good idea of how many CSA subscribers and wholesale clients I will be growing for, it is difficult to plan production. So, you can see the importance of signing up early! There is always a little “flying by the seat of your pants” going on, but some semblance of order makes it a lot easier.
I’m also looking for individuals to help in the garden this season. If you enjoy being out in Mother Nature and playing in the dirt, I would love to share her gifts with you. It’s always nice to have people around who have gardening experience, but if you are willing to work hard and are anxious to learn, I am sure we can make some kind of arrangement so that we each get our needs met. Call me at 406-245-9182 and we can discuss it further.
This is all for now, but I invite you to join me this year in reaping the bounty of fresh, organic, local veggies by signing up soon for the 2016 Kate’s Garden CSA season. I encourage you to forward this newsletter on to your family and friends, too! If you have questions, please give me a shout or you’re always welcome to come by to see the greenhouse and gardens.
~Garden Blessings~ Kate