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Week 05, June 28, 2017

We are starting to see the transition from Spring to Summer.  The cold crops are slowing down.  This is most likely the last week for peas and the mustard and spinach have bolted.  We still have lettuce and the Swiss Chard is doing great.  There are lots of green tomatoes, the beans are blooming and we have picked a few small eggplant and summer squash for our own use.  We don’t have enough for a share but they should be starting soon. This week we included Fennel again and should be able to include it 1 or 2 more times.  We took pictures with the Kale, Mustard and Swiss Chard all in the same picture so you tell them apart.  Mint and Oregano were the herbs of the week but if you need more Dill just ask we have plenty.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”19″ gal_title=”Week 05 Share June 28, 20175″]

Week 4 Pickup June 21, 2017

We were hoping to have strawberries this last week but the heat and the fact that half of our berries are June bearing meant we did not have enough.  We did have radishes from the second planting.  Kathy thinned the turnips and gave out turnip greens as a choice.  The pictures below a full accounting of what we had for the week.  We included a recipe for using peas, potatoes and dill.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”18″ gal_title=”Week 04 Share June , 2017″]

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Cooking-Methods/new-potatoes-peas-dill-sauce

The Garden is almost full!

Beautiful day today June 17, 2017.  I mowed around the garden and mulched the early sweet corn with grass clippings.  Kathy picked pod peas, weeded and thinned the carrots and then pickled little carrots.  The chickens and rabbits enjoyed the tops.  I spent a lot of time weeding and then planted a bunch of our left over tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  (Note for next year just get 25% more in plants than you think you need not 100%.)  Barb’s Greenhouse did a great job starting our plants for us and we are thrilled as long as they are willing to start plants for us we will be using them!

I planted 30 more tomato plants, 22 peppers and 6 more egg plant.  We still have some plants if anyone wants them but we are not going to plant any more.

We don’t have enough cages for these extra plants but are going to buy stakes and try the Florida Weave.  Watch the video it is really cool.  This would take a little more work but stakes are easier to store than cages. 🙂

The garden is looking really good.  Weeds are under control and we haven’t been hit with hail yet.

Last week we planted more sweet corn so hopefully we will have 5 or 6 weeks of corn for everyone.  Probably only 4 or 5 ears but that is at least one meal.

Thank you for joining us in this adventure.

 

 

Week 3 Pickup June 14, 2017

Week Three was a big batch of food 2 bags full.  We had Mustard, Kale, Lettuce (head and leaf), Radishes, Chives, Pod Peas, Swiss Chard, Spring Rapini, Rhubarb and Strawberries.  We also offered Mint, Oregano and Dill for anyone that needed more.  On June 13 we had a bit of storm and lots of Grand Island got hail but we were fortunate and did not have any damage.  We did get 1.25 inches of rain though.  Strawberries are doing well.  Several people got theirs the weekend before as they were ready. We planned to offer chia sprouts but that did not work out the way we hoped.  Maybe next week we will have some sprouts.  This is a bit of a learning experience for all of us.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”17″ gal_title=”Week 03 Share June 14, 2017″]

Week 2 Pickup June 07 2017

This was a green share.  Lots of herbs and spring greens.  Mustard, Spring Rapini, Flat Leaf Parsley, Oregano, Dill, Mint, Radishes, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Mixed Salad Greens, and Garlic Scapes.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”16″ gal_title=”2017 Week 02 June 7″]

May 31 2017 CSA Pickup

We kicked off the 2017 CSA season tonight.  All of our members showed up on time.  Thank you.  The attached pictures are from our first share.  We did include eggs this week.  Eggs are not a given.  We only have 3 hens producing eggs at this time so we only get 2 or 3 a day.  We do have a bunch of young hens that will hopefully start laying soon.   The share this week included Popcorn (from last year), Mustard Greens, Green Garlic, Green Onions, Mint, Oregano, Dill, Chives, Rhubarb, 6 Eggs, Bean Sprouts, Daisies, Choice of Pak Choi, Spinach, Bib Lettuce or Mixed Greens and Edible Flowers.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”15″ gal_title=”2017 CSA Shares”]

 

First new plants of the Year

Palm Sunday weekend we began to plant.  The weather was great and the soil was getting warm.  We planted Carrots (Royal Chantenay, Rainbow Hybrid, Cosmic Purple and Purple Haze), Chard (Rainbow, Ruby  Red and Rhubarb), Spinach (Giant Noble, Escalade Hard), Peas (Oregon Giant Snowpea, Garden Pea Now and Later, Dwarf Grey Sugar), Onions (red and white), Potatoes (white, pink and purple fingerlings)  and Mustard (Florida Broadleaf, Southern Giant Curled). Two weeks later that are all looking great.  We have plants growing where we planted seeds.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”14″ gal_title=”April Garden Pictures”]

In the last couple of weeks we have added leeks, onions, lettuce (Butter Crunch, Black Seeded Simpson, Grand Rapids, Ithica Head Lettuce), Kale (Red Russian, Winter Wonderland Mix), Pok Choy (Toy Choy), and Chinese Cabbage (Hilton)

A Week of Cold Wet Weather and a Sunny Sunday

Biggest News for the Week:

We have sold all 10 CSA shares this year.  We have several new customers and some returning ones.  At least 3 of the new customers are from posting a classified ad on the Nextdoor Neighborhood App.  It is a great communication tool for neighbors and it really helped sell our last few shares and at no cost to us.

A Bit of Work in the Garden:

After a week of cold wet and rainy weather (not at all unusual for the end of March), we had a beautiful Sunday.  Kathy and I planned ahead and went to church last night so we could work on the garden and other projects today.  We did not get anything planted yet.  I want to run the tiller through the garden one more time before planting.  The weeds are starting to pop up and the tiller will make short work of them.  Of course that means I need to get it back from Sears repair first.  It should be done tomorrow.  They got the part in on Tuesday last week.  I did get some work done in the garden though.  I got the fences put up for the pole beans (blue lake and Asian long beans) and for the sweet peas (Now and Later, and a couple of other kinds).  We were hoping to get some of the greens planted today but ran out of time.

Other Projects:

We put bird netting over part of the chicken run today.  This is where we will put the young chickens.  We have 12 more of them (6 hens and 6 straight run) Cuckoo Maran, Silver Leghorns, Barred Rock, and Silver Laced Wyandotte.  Hopefully it will protect them from the hawk that has been patrolling the neighborhood.  We also need to plant potatoes and greens this week and maybe some broccoli rabe.

 

 

The Garden is Marching On

Lots of activity at GI Acres.  We took seeds to Barb’s Greenhouse in St. Libory this weekend.  Bard will be starting all of our plants.  They have a great setup and hopefully this works out better than what we did last year.  Barb will be starting more than 400 plants for us.   Tomatoes, Peppers, Melons, Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Broccoli, Fennel and Egg Plant.  We will have a wide variety of shapes and colors of tomatoes this year.  If you need some plants this year look her up either at the green house or at the farmers market at Orschelns.

 

The newest of our chickens are getting big.  We have 12 new chicks this year.  At least 6 of them are guaranteed to be pullets.  We are hoping for 9 pullets.  They will be moving outside to temporary quarters next to the others soon.

In a couple of days we will have been at this place for 2 years.  We knew we wanted to grow a variety of perennials, including asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb. All of those are coming up and looking good.

Asparagus

Garlic

Rhubarb

Strawberries

In the next week we will be planting potatoes and peas.  We bought 20 lbs of seed potatoes and have left overs of fingerlings from last  year’s stock.

As of today March 19th we have sold 7 shares for 2017.  We still have 3 shares left for the next year and are still hopeful that we will sell all of them.

 

 

 

Seeds and Other Stuff Ordered

What does anyone need with 1000 corn seeds? Kathy and I have been combing through seed catalogs since they started arriving in late November.  Today we sat down and placed our orders.  We ordered from 6 different companies (I think we have catalogs from 12+).

Only those catalogs we ordered from.

We ordered from Burpee, Gurneys, Farmer Seed and Nursery, Jung Seeds & Plants, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and Sow True Seeds.  If all goes according to plan this year we will have 20 different kinds of tomatoes 12+ peppers, 11 summer squash and 11 winter squash, 4 kinds of sweet corn, a variety of beets, radishes, turnips and carrots,  Several kinds of lettuce, along with Swiss chard, collards, and mustard greens.  Four kinds of sweet corn that we plan to stagger with 2 or 3 plantings so we have corn for at least 6 weeks.  Green beans, spotted beans, long beans, peas, cucumbers, melons, and more.

In addition to the seeds we ordered a variety of fruit and nut trees to add to the orchard.  This year we also added grapes.  I haven’t pulled the trigger on hops though.  Our perennials production plants and trees are expanded every year.

We still need to get onion sets and potatoes but will likely buy those locally to save on shipping costs, especially the potatoes.  Those things are heavy.

 

Less than a Week Until CSA Day 2017

Kathy planting for the first time in our cold frame.

The weather has been perfect for cleaning up the garden and getting things ready for next year.  We planted the first things on February 12.  Okay, we planted lettuce, mustard and bok choy in the cold frame I built last year but we did get to plant.  This weekend with 70+ weather I tilled the garden.  I think we need to call for service on the tiller though, the tines don’t spin in reverse, I think something slipped or broke.  Glad it is under warranty.  We decided that we needed to add one more strip of garden at the southwest side of the garden closer to the big pine tree and that we should eliminate the grass strip between two of the strips toward the northeast side of the garden like we did in the middle last year.  This allows us to have several rows that

Freshly tilled garden looking to the northwest

are about 12 foot long that run from northeast to southwest instead of just long rows running from the northwest to southeast.  Hopefully the combination works.

 

You can see the new layout here.  We are trying an online garden planner (Grow Veg).  So far I really like it.  Hopefully it will stick around so that we can continue to use it in future years so we can manage our crop rotations.

Freshly tilled garden looking to the north (mostly)

 

This year we plan to have rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus early in the year.  Our first pickup should be in late May.

We think we may have found a source for wholesale plants this year and it looks like they will plant our seed so we will even have the varieties we are hoping for.

 

You can view our CSA member agreement here: GI Acres CSA Member Agreement 2017.  Please return this with your order.

If you want to update your 2016 membership and claim your 2017 membership or if you want to join up today for the 2017 season click HERE!  Below you can see pictures of our 2017 shares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New To Us This Year– Bounty From the Box Cookbook

Just received a physical copy of the book “Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook” by Mi Ae Lipe.  In December I purchased a digital copy of the book with the hope that it would help us provide recipes to our CSA members. (The digital copy is only available to CSA farmers at this time with specific permissions from the author.)  Joining a CSA can be somewhat stressful.  Every week you are going to get a whole bunch of vegetables and it is likely that you will not have any idea what to do with some of them.  Last year we provided eggplant, kale, cucamelons, tatumi squash and a full 20 weeks of Swiss chard to our members.  We tried to give recipes, cooking and preserving tips especially when we were providing something new or even yet again.

The CSA Farm Cookbook

I had not really taken the time to look at the cookbook but did including a link to Bounty from the Box on our website and the announcement about 2017 membership.  Friday I received a print copy in the mail.  I was astounded by the size of the book.  It is the size of a 500 sheet ream of printer paper.  In actuality it is almost 700 pages long but it does really look like a ream of paper. The book is organized around the seasons beginning with spring CSA offerings and ending with winter.  Each entry includes a bit of history of the vegetable or fruit, nutrition facts, cleaning tips, several basic ways of cooking it (including microwaving) and information on preservation.  The book is easy to scan through and entertaining to read. I was truly impressed by the size of the book and the number of recipes and vegetables included.

Later, when we have fresh veggies from the garden and more time to play with them and I will post more about the recipes.  Looking through them though, they appear well balanced for a variety of eating styles and requirements.  If you eat meat, are vegan, need gluten free or other specialized diets you should be able to find recipes in this book that will help you eat the way you want or need to and use your CSA share in interesting ways.

We will be trying some of the recipes in the near future with food that we preserved last season.  I may even contact some of last season’s members to find out what they have preserved and share some of the recipes from the digital version early.  I know that some members still have food in the freezer.  They have told me about meals they have made this winter with our produce.  I find it especially gratifying to talk to a member in December or January that is pulling from their freezer a container of vegetables we grew and enjoying a bit of summer during the winter doldrums.

You can get your own copy of Bounty from the Box at www.bountyfromthebox.com. Follow them on Twitter @BountyfromBox and on Facebook @BountyfromtheBox.

We have 10 shares for sale again this year.

We will be offering 10 shares again this year.  As of today (1-15-17) I know that we have 2 shares left.  We haven’t heard from all of our 2016 members and they have the first choice about rejoining. We have made an investment in a CSA Cookbook, Bounty from the Box a CSA Cookbook, and we are authorized to share recipes with our members.  This should help us give you more ideas about what to do with your CSA box.

This year we plan to have rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus early in the year.  Our first pickup should be in late May.

You can view our CSA member agreement here: GI Acres CSA Member Agreement 2017.  Please return this with your order.

If you want to update your 2016 membership and claim your 2017 membership or if you want to join up today for the 2017 season click HERE!  Below you can see pictures of our 2017 shares.

 

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”10″ gal_title=”2016 CSA Shares”]

 

 

First CSA Season Successfully Completed

The second week of October we ended our CSA season.  For 20 weeks we had baskets of food ready for each of our nine members.  It was our intent to sell 10 memberships and we sold nine.  Attached are pictures of the shares from each week.

We plan to offer 10 shares again during the 2017 season.  We have not yet set the price for the 2017 season but it will be more than we charged for the 2016 season.  2016 members have priority for the 2017 season but if you are interested in participating send us an email or give us a call.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”9″ gal_title=”2016 CSA Shares”]

You say “CSA,” I say “food hub” | New Food Economy

Recent debates over food system ethos and terminology missed a key step: what do these terms even mean?

Source: You say “CSA,” I say “food hub” | New Food Economy

Win a Share for Week 9

We have one share to give away for Week 9.  This is a picture of what we had last week in the shares.  This week should be similar.  If you would like to try out our CSA (Community Supported Agricultural Operation) this is your chance.

Potatoes, Cucumbers, squash, dill, onions, Swiss Chard, kale, green beans, Asian long beans and sweet corn

Potatoes, Cucumbers, squash, dill, onions, Swiss Chard, kale, green beans, Asian long beans and sweet corn

All you have to do is go to our face book page @UrbanFarmAdventures  Like our page if you haven’t already, Find the contest post, comment on it and share the contest to your wall for all of your friends to see.  We will announce the winner after 8 PM on Wednesday July 27.  Winner must pick up on Thursday July 28 between 6 and 8 here at GI Acres.  Good Luck, Have Fun, and Share Us with your Friends.

Weekly CSA Shares

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”5″ gal_title=”Weekly CSA Shares”]

Here is what our weekly shares contain.  If you see lots of veggies on a table that is the total for 9 shares.  If it is just in front of a basket that was one share.  Our goal was to provide at least $10 worth of Farmer’s Market quality fresh product to our members per week.  The contents of the shares change every week because different things are ready at different times.  We started with cool season crops like radishes, peas and lettuce and then progress into warm season items like cucumbers, summer squash and green beans.  Eventually we will have tomatoes, peppers, corn, and  maybe melons.  In the fall we hope to offer winter squash, late tomatoes and maybe some of the cools season crops like lettuce and radishes again.  Swiss chard has been a killer producer for us this year and I think people are getting tired of it but it sure is pretty and it tastes good.

We always send the beets and turnips home with the tops.  Our rabbits would love them but the tops cook up really nice for people too.

Celebrating Arbor Day and working all weekend

#Arborday We planted 14 trees and shrubs this weekend.  Kathy moved 6 red buds from the old house they may or may not live but with the wet weather she was able to get the roots out so we are hoping for the best.  We also planted 2 hazelnut trees, 2 pecan trees and 2 Saskatoon blueberries.  Today our nephew Carter brought over a couple of choke cherry bushes that he got at school for Arbor Day.  They don’t have a place for them but we found one.

Kathy planted about 8 rhubarb plants that were given to us and we got more work done on the chicken run.  I got the west fence up and we put posts for the east fence and decided that we were going to put a door/gate into the chicken run.  We will be able to get into the chicken run without going through the coop.20160501_184846

Chicken Coop

The plan this year is to add bees and chickens to the operation.  I posted pictures of the bee hives earlier and we have bees coming mid April.  It is time to start working on the Chicken Coop.  We bought plans for a 4 x 8 shed from http://www.icreateables.com You can see those plans here.  They were really helpful and sent me a couple of pages from an alternate version of this shed so I could see how to add a second door.  This will all make more sense when you see the pictures of the final product.  Kathy and I went window shopping at my Dad’s house.  Okay we went to his house and dug through his shed for windows we thought we could make work in the coop.  We found 2 windows, one for each of the 8′ sides of the shed.  Will and Lee helped me build the foundation and Will helped me conceptualize the walls I was modifying from the original plans.   Here are pictures of the project in process.  I will keep adding pictures to the gallery and I hope they will update automatically.   Maybe next year we will be able to offer eggs with the CSA![Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”4″ gal_title=”Chicken Coop”]

A blustery day in March

The weather has been so wonderful the last few weeks.  Today we were reminded that it is still March.  The high was about 40 and the winds blew and gusted all day.  We even had a few snow flurries.  I had hoped to maybe plant some early spring things today but decided against it.  My Dad, Richard brought over a load of leaves and grass clippings that we put on the horseradish and around the apple trees.  I visited Menards and Home Depot trying to price and find chicken coop solutions.  I did not get any decisions made.

The biggest accomplishements were taking down about 200 feet of 4 strand barbed wire fence including removing the poles and building our 3 bin composter from freecycled pallets. One of our CSA customers is moving and needed to get rid of a bunch of pallets.  Seven of them fit on end in my short box Ford F150 between the toolbox and the tail gate.  Luckily I only needed 7.  I also was able to till some ground that we will use for wild flowers near the bee yard.

Here are some pictures of the pallet compost bin system.  We hope to get the compost moved in there tomorrow.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”Pallet Compost Bin”]

 

CSA Shares are going fast!

It is March 1 and GI Acres has sold 5 of the 10 shares available.  I think it is actually 6 but until the forms are filled out I’m not counting our sales.  If you are interested in our CSA check out the CSA Member Agreement. You can sign up for the CSA by clicking on the link HEREWe plan to start plants soon.

Seed trays waiting for seeds and soil

Seed trays waiting for seeds and soil

10 things you won’t do after becoming an urban homesteader – Homegrown & Healthy

Once you’ve been bitten by the urban homesteading bug, there’s no cure. For real. When John and I started our teeny, tiny little garden and first documented it on The Sustainable Couple, we had no idea what we were doing. Fast forward 5 years and we’ve gotten ourselves together. We also have backyard chickens, 6… Read More »

Source: 10 things you won’t do after becoming an urban homesteader – Homegrown & Healthy

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? on Vimeo

A nice video explaining what a CSA is and how it works. We won’t be planting tomatoes with a tractor.

Picking Seeds for the Garden This Year

 

20160207_202035

I just spent over an 90 minutes digging through seed catalogs with Kathy.  Today we picked carrots, radishes, beets, squash (summer and winter) and tomatoes.  If the good lord is willing, and you buy a share in our CSA you will have the opportunity to get a great variety of veggies this summer.  I expect that we will plant a bunch of stufff and hopefully it will produce well.  You can sign up for the CSA at any time by clicking HERE  In other news, we had an escapee bunny this morning.  The young opal bunny managed to get out of the cage without popping the latch, not entirely how that happened.  Kathy caught it by putting hay, food and water in one of the cages on the ground.  It just climbed in this afternoon and she closed the door on it.I4

Snowmageddon 16

Groundhog Day of 2016 will be memorable.  They said winter storm Kayla might just lay into us and yes she did.  At noon the official snowfall for the day in Grand Island was 14.9 inches.  Winds blowing with gusts up to 53 miles per hour.  This is our first real snow storm at GI Acres and the drive way does drift.  Also had a 4 foot drift in front of the shed door.  The 48N pushed the snow out of the way of the shed door.  I’m hoping later that I will be able use it to clear the drive.  Started on the drive with the snowblower and it ran out of gas, hence the trip to the shed.  That is where the extra gas is.While I was there I started up the tractor then decided I should see what kind of a job it does on the snow.  Wandered back to the house with the fuel and Kathy had beef barley soup ready for lunch.  I think I will wait for the snow to stop before heading back out. #kayla #snowmageddon16

These pictures are taken one day apart.

20160201_074534Morning February 1, 2016

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Morning February 2, 2016

20160203_083649

Morning February 3, 2016

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.