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July Update

The garden is doing well. It is slower than last year but we harvested the first few tomatoes over the weekend and the share this week including cucumbers and summer squash.

On the 5th of July we had an infestation of Japanese Beetles. We found them on our hazelnut trees, apple trees and everything around those trees. We put up some traps and caught over a gallon of them over night. Also spayed with BT but not BTg so who knows if it will work. Dusted effected areas with diatomaceous earth. Hopefully something will work or we could lose the trees and the squash and basil planted around them.

We have also added several recipes to our recipe page. We will keep doing this all summer long and into the winter so you can figure out how we use the food we produce.

Spring Foods and Garden Pics

The first strawberries of the year. Kathy got to eat the ripe one. We planted about 80 more this year. The goose berries are set on and so are the choke cherries. We have been eating mushrooms from the Winecap bed. We have had several salads and will have lettuce and radishes for the first CSA pickup on June 7th.

Just Had to Share

May 20, 2021

Kathy took this tonight as a storm blew through. Just thought I should share here. You can check out the GI Acres weather at: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KNEGRAND69

Past Frost Free, But Not Without Some Losses

May 17 was the official frost free date for our area. We are past it. On May 8 we planted our first Tomatoes (30) and on May 10 we lost more than 1/2 of them. There is a reason to wait. We aren’t expecting any more frost until at least September. If you want to know what the weather is like here at GI Acres you can check out our personal weather station (PWS) on www.wunderground.com at station KNEGRAND69 named GI Acres. If you check out the low for Monday May 10 you will see it got down to 31.7F. Just a little too cold for tender tomato plants.

We have also been working in the main garden planting since then. You can follow along and see where things are planted at https://www.growveg.com/garden-plans/1233012. That is the plan for the main garden. (Cabbages, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Okra, Eggplant, Radishes, Turnips, Peas, Kohlrabi, and lettuce that came back from last year). We have some sweet potatoes in because we were able to buy slips from Barb’s Greenhouse. The main garden will also have a Three-Sisters garden plot with dry edible beans, squash and corn. We also extended the strawberry beds and planted a bunch more strawberries. We planted tomatoes to the south of the orchard. I will be mapping and recording the orchard and tomatoes soon. Potatoes and onions are planted in the back garden https://www.growveg.com/garden-plans/1267610. The other new thing that we will have this year and hopefully for a long time is sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes. They are a perennial sunflower with an edible tuber (choke) that can be harvested. It is supposedly a low carb potato substitute.

The mushroom bed is starting to produce. We have has several meals of winecaps. Hopefully it will still be producing at the beginning of June when we start in with shares. Ash from Nebraska Mushroom brought us more spawn and we need to get more wood chips from O’Neill Wood Resources.

Winecap Mushrooms

We expect to plant more this weekend and will keep you all informed.

Good Friday Planting

Good Friday is our traditional da to plant at least part of the potatoes. Today was absolutely gorgeous. It was in the mid 70’s maybe even 80 in the afternoon and I planted about 15 lbs of potatoes in the back garden. All of the potatoes are going in the back garden. I still have 20 lbs to plant.

Today I planted Dakato Pearl, and 4 varieties of fingerlings. I use newspaper to help space the potatoes appropriately and to keep the weeds down.

Good Friday Potato Planting April 2, 2021

You can follow the progress of the back garden and what we plant there by clicking on this link. https://www.growveg.com/garden-plans/1267610. When we start the front garden I will post the link for that one as well. We are also planning to plant a 3 sisters garden this year so watch for that too.

And Then There Were None

March 12, 2021 I received an email from out Google Form CSA Sign-Up. We just sold our last CSA share for the season. At this point we have sold 10 full season and 6 short season shares. That is all we can handle. Thank you everyone that has shared our social media posts and told your friends and neighbors about our CSA.

Thanks to all of our 2021 Share Holders. We are excited about the season. Last weekend we delivered our seed and the list of plants that Barb Quandt of Barb’s Greenhouse will start for us. Barb has great plants if you need some vegetables or flowers your your garden at home. We are always thrilled with what she grows for us and we can’t walk out of there without buying something extra. Here is a complete list of the plants that we asked her to start last week (Plants Started by Barb). We also planned to ask her to hold a tray of shallots and leeks for us this year like we have done in the past and were shocked to discover that she was unable to get seed. We came home ordered seed from another company and will take it out to her. Hopefully we will have shallots and leeks. If you are interested in everything we plan to grow this year take a look at the list.

This weekend the 13th and 14th we missed the snow. This is really good because it looks like we got about 3 inches of rain. The east end of our new property is under water. The grass and pasture are starting to green up though. Kathy checked on the bees during the nice weather last week and one of our hives was able to make it through the winter.

Well it Happened. GI Acres is has 15.25 more acres.

We closed on the property around us today. It is official. We now own all of the N1/2 of the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of 14-11N-10W of the 6th P.M. less and except the ROW for 13th Street.

This year it looks like we will have alfalfa on most of it with some pasture. We are also leasing a couple of acres to gas company to use as the are putting a new gas line in along Engleman Road on the west side of our property. If you know anyone that is looking for somewhere to put bees we would like some additional hive on the property.

We will be planting trees along the east edge. Expanding our fruit forest. Not sure what we will do with the rest.

Seeds are Arriving

This is a fun time of year even if it is miserably cold right now. Current temperature is -5F and tomorrow when I go to work it is supposed to be -22F. It is fun, though, because seeds are arriving in the mail. Last weekend Kathy and I ordered seeds from five different companies and today we bought more seeds at Menard’s and Dollar Tree. It is okay to use cheap seeds sometimes.

It is interesting to note that many of the more expensive seeds from the catalogs do not have fancy 4 color packaging.

We are updating what we plan to plant regularly. You can find the whole list of possible plants here. We may or may not plant all of them in any given year and sometimes we run out of time to get everything planted.

Short Season Shares Still Available

It is February 4th and we have sold out of all 10 of our full season shares. We do still have 5 short season shares available. Our short season is 6 pickups between mid-July and mid-September. You can expect tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, garlic, potatoes, eggplant, okra, green beans, summer squash and peppers. This is the most productive time for our garden and we added the short season so that we can take advantage of that fact. A short season share is available for $180. You can sign up here, just make sure you select short season. The form will quit taking orders when we have sold them all.

The plan for this year is to have short season pickups on Thursday evenings. Pickup will be at GI Acres.

Below are pictures of 5 of 6 weeks from the 2020 short season.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”113″ gal_title=”2020 Shares (Short Season)”]

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

We Have Added a Recipe Page

We have started recording interesting recipes on our web site. You can find the recipes here or just click on the recipes tab at the top of the page. We have purchase an addon for the website WP Recipe Maker by Bootstrapped Ventures. It is a powerful recipe program and we have purchased the upgrade that allows us to add nutritional information and allows our users to scale the recipe by the number of people they are serving.

We hope that you will enjoy the recipes. All of them will be related to vegetables and fruits that are available from our CSA. If you have a recipe that you like send it to us and we will consider adding it.

GI Acres is Growing

Ok we grow a lot especially during the gardening season. Take a look at the pictures of our weekly shares if you don’t believe us. We are actually getting bigger. The 15 acres around our little urban farm is up for sale and we have a signed purchase agreement with the seller. Now pending approval from the bank and clear title we will own a bigger piece for our experiment.

We will own the property to the south of us to the corn field and to the west to Engleman Road. Right now it is mostly planted in alfalfa. Not sure what we are going to do with it but it will help us control what happens around us.

Welcome to 2021! We are now Accepting New Members

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

What we try to have for you to pick up late in the year.

GI Acres has been offering CSA (Consumer Support Agriculture) shares to people in the Grand Island, Nebraska area since 2015. We are beginning our sixth year and hoping to continue for many more.

What is a CSA Share?

Local Harvest (www.localharvest.com) is a great source of information about local food. Here is how they define a CSA. GI Acres is a market style CSA. We don’t pack the box for you but allow you a choice of what we have available.

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

Is a CSA Share right for me?

The Pros and Cons of Joining a CSA (www.seriouseats.com) This article is a little dated given the prices in the New York metro area but they were also describing a CSA that provided 4 or 5 items for that price. Our is priced similarly but we aim to provide many more items and variety.

How do I get my food?

This year, our Full Season pick up will be on Monday evenings 6-8 PM. You will pick up your share at our farm location. In previous years, this was Wednesday or Thursday. We schedule the pickup the same day as Kathy’s regular day off from her regular job so that everything is picked fresh and ready to go for you. You can do self service pick up by getting your share out of our cooler shed the following day if you want. (We will prepare your share and pick items for you and put your name on the tray.)

Shares waiting for pickup the following day

Short Season pick up will usually be on Thursdays from 7-8. Again if you can’t pick up at that time we can leave your share in the cooler shed.

We may also be able to offer delivery in limited circumstances or pickup from an alternate location. That will be need to be arranged with signup. If you require alternate arrangements, please contact us first before signing up.

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

What options do you offer?

We offer both a Full Season (every Monday — June through September — planned for 18 weeks in 2021) for $425 and a Short Season (6 Shares offered on Thursdays between mid-July and mid-September) for $180. Short season shares are based on heavy production weeks and will not be every week. An email will be sent to members letting them know that a share will be ready for them. Look through the pictures below of our weekly shares from 2020, both Full and Short Season, to see what is available and how the season progresses from cool spring crops like lettuce, herbs and garlic scapes to longer season crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra and finally winter squash. If there is a vegetable that you really enjoy, but don’t see in the photos, please ask as we may be able to add it this year. Each of the photos is of one member’s share for one week.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”112″ gal_title=”2020 Full and Short Season Shares”]

We do raise chickens and sometimes will include eggs in your share and they are almost always available as an add on for $3 per dozen.

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

When is payment due?

Payment for your share is due on March 1, 2021. If we have not received your payment we may offer your share to someone on our waiting list. If you are having trouble meeting the March 1 deadline let us know and we will work with you.

What is my risk?

The CSA Model is shared risk/shared reward. We will do our best to make sure you get a good value for your hard earned money but we cannot control the weather. Living in Nebraska there is always the possibility of hail and wind that can damage the plants. Last year we had a fight with bunny rabbits and Japanese beetles. We did okay against the beetles with beetle traps but the bunnies devastated the Swiss Chard and beets. Two years ago the early August windstorm and hail took out most of the pepper crop. We plant in more than one garden on our property, rotate crops to minimize pests and the need for pest control, have water available to all of the garden areas, and minimize the risk as much as we can. You can review the Member Agreement here.

Why do I have to prepay for the season?

We use your funds to pay for seeds, plants, supplies, and equipment needed for a successful season. Because you have prepaid we have the money in hand to pay cash for all of the things necessary for a successful season. Last year we bought almost 1000 plants from Barb Quandt at Barb’s Greenhouse north of the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. She does a great job starting our plants from our seeds, and it is less expensive than maintaining our own greenhouse while supporting another local producer. If you have a vegetable that you would like us to add this year, please let us know early!

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

I want to preserve some produce. Will I get enough to can?

That really depends on you and your family’s eating habits. A single person or couple might have enough to preserve or share with family and friends. A large family that cooks and eat most meals at home probably won’t have any extra. One friend asked about signing up because she wanted to pressure can green beans: we explained that most likely she would not get enough for that. We have had members preserve some of their share as small batches of pickles or salsa. Some of the crops dehydrate or freeze well, too, if you are unable to use it all within the week. Our goal is to provide you with fresh food that you can eat and enjoy while it is in season.

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

And We Are Back Again

Welcome to the end of 2020. It has been a strange year for all of us. At GI Acres, we had a good year for the farm. We sold/traded all 10 full season shares and sold 3 of 6 short season shares. The weather cooperated and production was good. We did have issues with rabbits this year. They really liked the beets and the Swiss chard this year so we had less of those.

We plan to offer both the Full Season (weekly from June through September) and the Short Season (6 shares between mid-July and mid-September when production is at its highest). Our CSA management platform Small Farm Central is no longer providing the same service. They have grown into a larger and hopefully more successful version. Unfortunately for us their new product is priced at a level that we cannot afford.

At this point we plan to use Google Forms for sign up. Our son Will has added some scripting that will automatically limit choices as shares are spoken for and so it will only let you sign up for what we have available. Former members have priority and are invited to sign up by December 31, 2020. On January 1 we will publish the link to the form publicly and open membership up to everyone.

If you are interested in what you get in each share look at the galleries below. We have 18 weeks of the full season from last year and five of the six weeks of the short season. Week 3 of the short season everyone showed up early or on time and we did not get a picture of the share.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”109″ gal_title=”2020 Weekly Shares (Full Season)”] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”110″ gal_title=”2020 Shares (Short Season)”]

It has been a long time but we are still here and we are open for the 2020 season

If you are hoping to find a CSA share for this year we still have both full season (June through Sept every Wednesday) for $425, we just a have a few left, and short season (6 weeks on the weekend between mid-July and mid-Sept) $180. You can sign up here http://giacres.csasignup.com/members/types

Visiting an Urban, Urban Farm

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I like to call what we do Urban Farming. The truth is that we live in a community of 50,000 people and have an acreage on the edge of Grand Island. We live on a suburban acreage. We play at farming and enjoy running our CSA but both Kathy and I have full time jobs and we are not supporting ourselves or our family with our farm. The first week of May we visited The Urban Farming Guys in Kansas City MO.

The are a real urban farm located in a first ring suburb of Kansas City just 1.9 miles from downtown KC. They bought their first house in the neighborhood 10 years ago for $21,000. They have continued to buy other houses, buildings and lots in the neighborhood. They operate a green house and urban farm. They have had a CSA and have a community room and maker space. We rented two of their houses via AirBnB for a weekend to celebrate my nephew’s high school graduation. Candy was gracious enough to give us a tour of the green house and farm. The Urban Farming Guys have a great YouTube Channel check it out. If you are traveling to KC look them up on AirBnB it was a great experience.

Hoping for More Efficient Planting This Year

We are starting to feel the pressure of cold rainy weather and to many activities that pull us away from the home over the weekends. We thought about buying a seeder for years but this year I broke down and bought an Earthway Seeder. They had one at Ace Hardware here in Grand Island. The best part is that it was even $30 off.

Here’s to hoping that this helps us get things planted when it dries out a bit.

Adventures in Urban Farming – Home

Posted by Adventures in Urban Farming on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Chad Nabity

Seeds and seed catalogs Kathy thinks maybe we have a problem is anything

Posted by Chad Nabity on Saturday, February 9, 2019

If you are interested in the local food movement… – Adventures in Urban Farming

If you are interested in the local food movement and supporting small and micro businesses this is a really important…

Posted by Adventures in Urban Farming on Saturday, January 26, 2019

Just What is in a Full Share?

We plant a wide variety of crops. You will start the season with cool weather and spring crops: Lettuce, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard), radishes, garlic scapes, rhubarb and winter onions. During the warmer months you can expect green beans (several varieties), summer squash, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , herbs, cabbage, onions, new potatoes and fennel. The summer crops will continue some of those above and add in tomatoes (last year we planted 39 varieties), peppers, egg plant, garlic, celery and sweet corn (we don’t grow it but buy it from a local producer). As we transition in to the fall months we will still have tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, onions, potatoes, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , maybe green beans, and add in winter squash, popcorn (if the squirrels don’t eat it again this year), horse radish root, apples, and maybe pumpkins or corn shocks for decoration.

In 2019 there will be 18 Wednesdays between June 6, 2019 and October 2, 2019. We plan to have at least 18 weeks of shares but we could have as many as 20 if we have things ready for the last week of May and have a final pick up after October 2. This last 2 seasons we have had a last pickup in mid-October. The cost for a full season share is $400. The full amount has to be paid by March 1 to secure your spot. If you are a returning member we do offer a 10% discount if you sign up and pay by February 16.

The Short Season share is similar to the Full Share but does start later in the summer and only includes 6 weeks. We plan to start it in July and end in late August or early September. Shares will not be available every week depending on our schedule. Short season shares are $150 and available on Sunday afternoons.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to use everything, and this can be an issue, you can always find someone to share with or donate the extra.

You can pick your season and sign up by following this link: GI Acres CSA Share Types.

Getting Ready for 2019

CSA Day is on February 22 of 2019. If you are a returning CSA Member we are offering $40 off of a full membership if you sign up before February 16. A full membership will be $400 after that date. We will be offering 10 full memberships and 6 short season memberships again this year. Full memberships will be approx 20 weeks from the first of June to the end of September. Short season will begin in July and end in September and include 6 pickups. Short season shares are $150.

Week 3 June 20, 2018

The first new potatoes and onions were part of the share this week.  We had herbs and greens as well.  Also everyone got a share of edible pod peas.  The lettuce is doing well and we had enough for everyone.

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June 13, 2018 Week 2 CSA Share

We added a few choices this week with baby zucchini and edible pod peas.  If you weren’t here early though you did not get that choice we only had 2 of each. Everyone else got broccolini. Hopefully next week we will have enough for everyone.  Everyone got a nice Golden Acre Cabbage.  Kathy and I had coleslaw made with one on Wednesday for lunch and it was yummy!

This week the share included Cabbage, radishes (we pulled them all as they were starting to bolt), mustard greens, salad mix, baby Swiss chard.  mint, oregano, chives, garlic scapes, rhubarb, onions, baby dill, and a dozen eggs.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”100″ gal_title=”2018 Weekly CSA Shares”]

Several people asked about what to do with mint.  Here are some ideas that don’t include lamb or mint juleps  https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1130/mint-recipes/  One of our favorite ways to use it is to make a mint chutney for Indian food.  1/2 an onion, 1 jalepeno (leave the seeds if you want it hotter), 1/4 to 1/2 cup packed mint (you can pull it out of the freezer for this) mixed in the food processor until pureed. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and ketchup equal to the volume of the original ingredients.  This is great on samosa’s or pakoras.

We have green beans setting  on and are hoping to have enough for each share next week.  We will also likely have a bunch of peas and hopefully potatoes.  It will also likely, be the last week for the garlic scapes.

The weather the next few days will be approaching 100 degrees so we are watering heavily in the evening.  Everything is hold well so far though.

June 6, 2018 First CSA Share of the Season

Sorry for the late post.  It has been a busy week.  I usually try to get this out the same day as the shares are picked up so that everyone can check to see what was in the share if you didn’t recognize it.  We had a variety of herbs, green garlic, garlic scapes, radishes, rhubarb, lettuce, mustard, onions and choice of asparagus, strawberries, or broccolini.

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Not sure what do with garlic scapes check out these ideas from Bon Appetit https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/garlic-scapes

You can even use the rhubarb and green garlic in this chutney recipe.  https://lynnecurry.com/2016/05/rhubarb-chutney-recipe/

 

It was a very productive Memorial Day Weekend in the Garden

A combination of the weather and our travel schedule has kept us out of the garden and put us a bit behind.  We got all of our plant in the garden over Memorial Day weekend but we still have seed to plant.  The weekend was really hot (record setting high temp and record setting high (low) temps).  It was over 90 degrees all three days of the weekend right up until the downpour on Monday afternoon.  We did get a lot accomplished just not as much as we hoped.  It looks like the first week’s share will include fresh herbs (chives, green garlic, mint, oregano, sage and maybe some others) fresh greens (Salad, Mustard, Chard). winter onions, rhubarb, eggs (if we can get cartons) and radishes.  We might even throw in some young horseradish root.

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About GI Acres CSA

GI Acres is located on the western edge of Grand Island, Nebraska. The garden takes up about half of an acre. We also have chickens, rabbits and bees

Our farm is not USDA Certified Organic and we do not anticipate applying for such status. We strive to produce healthy vegetables using natural methods of fertilizing, building soil, and controlling pests such as insects and weeds. Those healthy vegetables will begin in mid to late May with herbs, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. During the season you can expect a variety of greens, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn and potatoes along with tips about how to cook and preserve your weekly share. The season will conclude in late September or early October. We aim for a 20-week season.

We did not grow up on farms but we did grow up in families with large gardens, eating a variety of fresh produce and canning/freezing the excess. We have maintained the tradition of growing and preserving food for our family for the past 20+ years. GI Acres is our attempt to share that passion for good food with our community.