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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Share Risk and Shared Reward

Usually when we talk to our members about shared risk and shared reward I talk about hail.  “If God gives us hail then we will replant more radishes and greens and get you as much as we can.”  This after noon while walking through the garden to check out the progress from Memorial Day weekend planting I was shocked to see a threat that I would not have imagined.  We had large hoof prints meandering through our squash, and mustard and through the newly planted baby corn. (See the pictures below).

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Who would have thought that a couple of stray cows could be a risk to a productive CSA garden. They aren’t even our cattle.  One of the local feeders called me at work to see if they belonged to me when they showed up to say hi to his herd.  If he hadn’t called I’m not sure what I would have thought when I walked out to the garden.

Are you wondering what we are planting this year?

Well it was cold and wet this weekend.  We hoped to get the tomatoes and peppers and other plants that Barb (Barb’s Greenhouse) started for us into the ground.  That did not happen.  We did however get lots of the garden planned and took the cold frame out of the main garden.

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You can see what we have planned or planted in the main garden by following this link  Main Garden

Here is everything planted in the back garden.

We do still have 2 full shares and 4 short season shares available.  If you or your friends are craving fresh veggies the first share will be ready on June 6 provided the weather hold.

And the Garden is a Go

We finally got to spend a day in the garden.  Between the weather, holidays and travelling it has been slow this year.  The weather this year has been frightful.  The first potatoes went in on Good Friday and we got snow for Easter.  Then we had snow or ice every weekend until the end of April.  Kathy got two new colonies of bees installed on April 18th.  We were worried that it might be too cold for them.  We left the next day for New Orleans.  Chad was attending and speaking at the American Planning Association conference.

The weather turned gorgeous while we were gone.  The last weekend of April we picked up the first of our plants from Barb’s Greenhouse in St. Libory.  We got 3 kinds of cabbage, (golden acre, kalibos, and murdoc) and 3 kinds of broccoli (romensco, purple santee, and happy rich).  The last two are more sprouting broccoli than heads of broccoli. We also picked up leeks and shallots and a few other random plants.

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We started laying out the garden and put in fence for peas and beans and planted the cabbages and peas on Saturday. Kathy also checked on the bees and discovered that while they were doing fine and the  Sunday we hope to get the broccoli, leeks and shallots planted.  We also have a couple of apricot trees that need to get in the ground.

We do still have 2 full shares available and 4 short season shares if you know anyone that would be interested. Send them to our signup page.

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It Is Starting To Get Real This Season

Yesterday we sorted through our seeds and took a list and a whole bunch of packages to seeds to Barb Quandt of Barb’s Greenhouse just north of GI.  If you need plants definitely  check out Barb’s Greenhouse.  She does both veggies and beautiful flowers.  Barb will be starting 4 packs of plants for us.

16 cucumber plants we will direct seed 7 more varieties

3 varieties of okra (4 plants each)

5 varieties of Eggplant (4 plants each)

40 Celery Plants (this is new for us this year.  Wish us luck)

2 Varieties of Brocolini (Hopefully 24 plants of each.)

3 Varieties of Cabbage (24 plants each)

All of the Fennel Seed we have (40 plants?)

8 Varieties of Sweet Peppers (8 plants each)

9 Varieties of Hot Peppers (8 plants each)

29 Varieties of Tomatoes (4 plants each of 15 varieties and 8 plants each of 14 varieties)

We will have some extra Tomato and Pepper Plants that will be available for our CSA members if they want to plant their own garden.

Here is a picture of the seed that we bought this year.  Almost $350 worth of seed in the little pile.

It is less than 2 weeks until Good Friday.  I plan to plant potatoes on Good Friday so then it will truly have begun.

As of today we do still have 3 full shares and 4 short season shares available.  If you are interested we would love to talk to you about our CSA, how it works, what the expectations are and how we can help you have healthier meals all summer long.

You can sign up at http://giacres.csasignup.com/members/types

Don’t Forget the Veggies Buy your CSA Share Today

Friday this week is CSA day.  CSA day is designed to promote the CSA concept and help all of us that are involved celebrate the communities we create and share in.  The Event is becoming a world wide phenomena. Check this out on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/UrgenciCommunitySupportedAgricultureAroundTheWorld/

Right now we have 3 regular shares available and 5 short season shares.  When these are gone we are done selling veggies for the year!

Don’t miss out.

You can sign up here and either pay with paypal or send us a check.  http://giacres.csasignup.com/members/types

One Week to CSA Day

Friday the 23rd is officially CSA day.  We get started way before that. Today we got our first new seed packets for the year.  Last week we ordered more than $330 of seeds and plants for the upcoming year and we aren’t done.  

If you are interested in what we think we will be growing this year take a look at this document.

Complete Seed List for 2018 w/perennials

We are not sure that we are planting everything on this list but it will give you a good idea of what we are considering.  We will be planting things from every category even if we only plant 5 kinds of carrots instead of all of them.  If we run out of space we may save some seed for next year.

We still have several shares available including at least 2 full shares and 5 short season shares.

You can find more info on the cost and what is available here.

Join us for the 2018 Season we are getting excited about it.

 

Found some cool food and veggie videos check them out

Check out the cool chives video from the lyrical chef MackaB.  We will post other videos by him and you can subscribe to his Youtube page if you like them.

We do still have shares available for the 2018 season, both full shares and short season shares.

 

 

Three Weeks Until CSA Day

We have shares available for the 2018 season.  Both regular and short season shares.  You can sign up here.  Buying a share in the CSA will cut out the middle man, give you fresh local food and support a local producer.

2018 CSA Shares Available

This year we are offering 2 share choices, Full Season (end of May through September) and Short Season (6 week between July and early September).   We are offering our Full Season Shares to our 2107 members first.  We will have 10 Full Season shares available   We also will offer 6 Short Season shares.  Check out our GI Acres CSA page for more details and to find out which shares are still available.

GI Acres CSA

If you are interested in a share you can sign up here.

Full Season shares are $400 for new members and Short Season shares are $150.

 

Welcome to 2018

New Year New Look

We have a new logo thanks to our niece Katie’s brother-in-law, Douglas.  We are excited about the new year and we are starting to order seeds and get prepared for the new year.

Check out the CSA Page to see what changes we have made to our membership structure.

We are offering full shares to last year’s members first we won’t have any new memberships available if they all renew.  If you would like to be on the waiting list for a full share send me and email at chadn1@grandislandacres.com and I will add you to the list.

We are also offering a short season CSA share between July and August.  We will have 6 of those available this year.

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Week 19 – October 18, 2017

Well we made it to 19 weeks of shares.  Thank you to all of our members and to everyone else that has helped and support us.  It was a very good year.  The last share included:  greens, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, tomatoes, winter squash, eggplant, basil, and mint.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”33″ gal_title=”Week 19 Share October 18, 2017″]

The pictures of the share this week also include some of the garden at this end of the season.

I am writing this post a week after the share on the 27th of October.  We just had our first hard freeze last night. We picked the peppers, eggplant, tomatoes (red and green) and all of the basil and lemon grass over the last two days.  I just started about 2 gallons of sliced peppers fermenting.  We should have plenty of spicy pickled pepper rings for the winter.

This year we did not have good luck with Brussels Sprouts.  It is the third year we have tried them and we have not picked any yet.  The broccoli romanesco  also did not really produce.  We did not have any to share with members but did get a few small sprouts in the last few weeks.  If the weather holds maybe we will get something from them.  Growing sweet potatoes in big pots was a really good idea.  They produced fairly well and I know that I was able to find all of them when I emptied the pot.  I will do that again next year.

Both the summer and winter squashes did very well this year.  I’m not sure we will waste the space on sweet corn next year.  It just didn’t produce as much as I would like and I wasn’t happy with the quality.  Many others do it much better than we do so maybe we will save the garden space for something else.  I think we planted the right amount of potatoes.  We had them for several shares during the year and we have some for us as well.

It is time to get out and plant garlic so we will have it again next year.  We also have walking onions that have been added as perennial.  We have 1 more cherry tree, 2 plums and 2 pears that were added this season. My Dad (Richard) transplanted a couple more peach trees; we will see if they survive.

One of the best things we had this year was dill.  My Dad planted a bunch of dill seed back by the bees and wild flowers.  It did very well there and we weren’t sure what we were going to do with it all.  We included it in shares to our members but were also able to sell almost $100 worth to Hy-Vee.  Next year we may plant more and space it out so we have it for a longer period and fresh green dill during pickling season.

The early cabbages were a big hit and we will do them again.  We cut them off and they grew little ones that were ready for fall shares.  The fielderkraut did not produce enough to share but I used it to make sauerkraut (that should be about done fermenting).

We planted 21 varieties of tomatoes and I think I took pictures of all of those for a different post.  Of all of those tomatoes the only ones I wouldn’t grow again are the green verisage and the atomic grape.  All of the others were good producers and worth the time and effort.  We used landscape cloth under the tomatoes and peppers this year.  I don’t know if I will ever plant them without landscape cloth again.  It was a huge labor saver in terms of time spent weeding.  They took a little longer to plant but it was well worth it.  I have already purchased landscape cloth for next year and am trying to figure out how to use it between row crops.  It was that good for our little operation.

We still have the one active beehive.  Hopefully they will overwinter well.  We have 12 hens and 6 rabbits as well.  We have found local suppliers for beef, pork and lamb.  If you are looking for local meats let me know and I can put you in touch with some great suppliers.  It is really amazing how good meat can taste compared to what you get in the store.  I still buy some at the store, the prices can be hard to beat but I also want to support our smaller local farms.  They spend their money right here in Grand Island and benefit the whole community.

Our plan is to continue with GI Acres next year in a very similar format.  We will offer 10 shares.  Those will be offered first to our member from 2017 then to our 2016 members that may have missed us last year.  If we have any left we will offer them to the general public so if you have friends or family that are interested tell them to follow us on Facebook @urbanfarmadventures or on twitter @giacres and to watch this website.  We don’t know the pricing for next year yet but will let you know as soon as we determine what we need to charge to come out ahead or even on this venture.  Last year new shares were $300, it is likely that price will increase for 2018.  We may offer a short season share in July and August with a weekend pickup but haven’t decided on that yet.  If you would be interested in the short season of summer foods (green beans, Swiss Chard, summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers) let me know.  This would help us keep thing picked and insure that we have a market for the produce.

Our pantry and freezer are full of the produce from this season and we will be able to enjoy the fruits of this summer all winter long.  I am already starting to see catalogs for next year….

Week 18, October 8, 2017

Our last share of the year should have been on September 27 with any bonus shares, because of good weather beginning in October.  But we needed a vacation and had the opportunity to visit Kathy’s sister in Atlanta at the end of September and beginning of October so we moved the final pickup from the 27 of September to the 8th of October.  The first week of October was very rainy.  We got more than 6 inches of rain.  While that meant that Keith and Joanne (Kathy’s parents who were staying at the house and caring for the animals and collecting eggs) did not have to worry about watering the garden it also meant that the tomatoes got too big too fast and were splitting by the time we picked them.  They were not really pretty this week.  We did pull carrots though (the carrots came out really easily in the damp soil) and harvest spaghetti squash for everyone. We also through in half a dozen eggs.  The chickens have been producing well and we were starting to get over run.

We are hoping to have one final (bonus) pickup on October 18th if the weather holds.  The night of October 10 the temps dropped to about 32 degrees but we kept the water on all night and the basil did not even get kissed with frost.

This has been a really good year.  The response from our members has been very positive.  I have had a couple of people contact me about starting CSA’s in the area, one of them hopes to include a meat share.  I think there is plenty of market for the CSA model in our area right now.  We are planning to continue with the CSA next year, though many long term CSA’s across the country are beginning to fold up.  Most of those are people that are doing it full time and have reached the point where they can no longer continue to afford the CSA lifestyle.  I say lifestyle because for many of them they would have made more money working a minimum wage job than they did producing healthy food for their communities.  We are in a fortunate situation.  Our CSA is not a vocation it is an avocation.  We are not really looking to expand.  We want to limit the number of members to what we can handle; at this time that is 10.  We have talked about adding a short season during the high production time with pickup on a different day.  This would hopefully give us a market for tomatoes, greens, green beans, etc… a second time during the week.  We wouldn’t have to add to the garden but would be able to pick a couple of times a week and the veggies do just keep coming.

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Week 17, September 20, 2017

We are coming to a close for the season.  I anticipate that we will only have one more week this year.  Maybe 2 but that will be dependent on the weather.  There is no pick up next week but the last will be Sunday October 8.  This week included melons and winter squash.  We also included fall decorations, gourds, pumpkins and corn shocks.  Food is the primary purpose of a CSA but beauty, (flowers and decorative items) is also a part of the contract.  We truly want people to connect to nature and we connect by what we eat and by what we see.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”31″ gal_title=”Week 17, September 23″]

Week 16, September 13, 2017

Tomatoes, Potatoes, Green Beans and Herbs

The season is almost done.  Just a couple of more weeks.  We had a nice share this week.

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Thing have been a little tough this last week.  Chad had surgery last week to repair an umbilical hernia that he did not know that he had.  No lifting for the end of the season.

Week 15, September 6, 2017

What do you think is the biggest advantage of growing your own food or supporting a local grower?

For me, I think this picture sums it up.

Real Spices?

When you buy real food you know that it is real. It is obvious.  When your advertising hook for your food  is that it has real spices it makes me think there must be some unreal things in that product as well.  I hate to spend real money on unreal food.  Kathy took this picture at a local grocery store.

Week 15 of real food included:

Tomatoes

Green beans

Cucamelons

Collard Greens

Swiss Chard

Onions

Summer squash/zucchini

Potatoes

Basil

Choice of Beets, Okra, Tomatillos, Cabbage

As an added bonus everyone had the opportunity to get a dozen eggs by bringing us an egg carton.

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The weather is getting colder, the nights are coming faster and the sun is not up as early.  The season is winding to an end.  We have just 3 more pick up days scheduled for the year and it will be over.

We have been canning, freezing and dehydrating so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labors all winter.  The larder is filling up with all kinds of good things.

Over the last few weeks Chad discovered that he had an umbilical hernia.  A trip to the emergency room and a follow up trip to the surgery center have cured that but the next few weeks will not involve much lifting.  Hard to do when even moving the hose for irrigation is beyond the limitations.  Some of the winter squash might even be too heavy.  The little honey nut butternut squash won’t be too heavy though.

Week 14, August 30 2017

We are closing in on Labor Day.  The bush beans are looking like they are about done and the winter squash are starting to get some color.  The Nebraska State Fair is in full swing and Kathy and I both got ribbons on some of our entries.  I entered dehydrated tomatoes and shredded zucchini.  Kathy entered her green tomato curry, 4 spaghetti sauces and a hot pepper jelly.

Chad’s Ribbons

Kathy’s Ribbons

It was a busy week for many of our members.  We had 4 members contact us that they would not be picking up their shares.  I’m not sure if the shares are so big this time of year that they can’t get them used or if they were just busy because of the fair.  I know at least

San Marzano Redorta a very nice paste tomato. Look at the flesh in that thing.

2 were busy because of the fair. We gave away one share and canned and dehydrated a bunch of the tomatoes many like the one above

I picked one of the Wisconsin Orange Flesh Honeydew.  It has a nice flavor and is very pretty.

Wisconsin Orange Flesh Honeydew grown in Nebraska

Here are pictures of the Week 14 share.  Only 4 more weeks this year.  Where has the time gone?

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Week 13, August 23, 2017

Monday we celebrated the eclipse.  It was incredible to be in the path and we had 52 people at GI Acres celebrating with us.  Thank you to everyone that was able to be here.  Kathy and I also took our State Fair entries into the fair.  I entered dehydrated grated zucchini and dehydrated tomatoes,  Kathy entered 4 spaghetti sauces, hot pepper jelly and green tomato curry.  GI Acres produce hopes to take some ribbons in these competitions.

Our guests, friends, family and friends of friends and family. Thank you all for coming to GI Acres for this once in a life time experience!

We are full into summer production and this week’s share shows that.  We did skip the summer squash this week and no one seemed to care.  It means there are plenty for the chickens.  The weather has been great.  We got over 3 inches of rain one night.  August has been particularly wet this year.

 

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Week 12, August 16, 2017

Tomatoes, Green Beans, Eggplant and Summer Squash.  We are in the heart of summer production and the garden is treating us well.  The weather has cooperated and we haven’t had major issues with bugs. Keep your fingers crossed.  The hardest thing is getting all of these posted.  I am posting this almost 2 weeks late but I will blame the Eclipse since we had to clean the house and had 52 people at GI Acres for the eclipse.  Competing interests can be an issue.  The other factor is that we don’t have lots of similar things in the shares now.  Summer provides diversity of product.  In my mind the difference between Roma and Early Girl tomatoes is not as important as the difference between Kale and Swiss Chard.  If you disagree please provide feedback to that end.  The shares are getting really big and people are taking 3 bags home.  That is really fun to see and very satisfying.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”26″ gal_title=”Week 12 Share August 16, 2017″]

Week 11 August 9, 2017

Our veggies were not as blemish free this week.  We got a bit of hail on Friday night last week and it dented up a bunch of things.  The tomatoes are coming in strong and the beans and cucumbers are slowing down. Some of the summer squash and zucchini plants are on their last legs.  We need to replant so we have some for the end of the season.  The winter squash are starting to get ready and we have a bunch of pumpkins that volunteered this year.  This week we had: sweet corn, tomatoes (more than 12), a cucumber, kale, eggplant, summer squash/zucchini (3 each), spaghetti squash or Lakota squash, choice of okra or beans and basil.  We cut open a water melon to share but it was under ripe so we fed it to the chickens and rabbits.  The colors of summer are strong in the share this week.  Over the last tow week we have also included a dozen eggs for each member as a bonus.  Half our members got a dozen last week and half got a dozen this week.

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Week 10, August 2, 2017

We are on the down hill side of the season.  Only 8 weeks left until the end of September.  If the weather holds we may get a couple of weeks into October.  Tomatoes are starting to turn.  We are getting some of the fun ones we planted.  Mostly it is early girls and the solar flare with a few other reds mixed in.  The color of this weeks share is incredible. reds, oranges, greens, purples and yellows.  So much different from those first shares of the spring that were mostly green.  This week the share included: Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Leeks, Basil, Garlic, Summer Squash/Zucchini, Eggplant, Green Beans, Beets, Lettuce, Thai chilis, Serrano chilis, chives and nasturtium blossoms.  Also included was choice of Swiss Chard, Okra or Cucamelons.  The okra and cucamelons are not pictured.

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Week 09, July 26, 2017

Sorry this is so late.  This week it is more helpful as history rather than for our members to be able to remember what everything is.  There weren’t a lot of confusing greens this week though.  This week saw the first real move into the summer veggies with corn, tomatoes, and beans. It is hard to believe that we are half way through the season.  The garden has been bountiful and we have been blessed.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”23″ gal_title=”Week 09 Share July 26, 2017″]

Week 08, July 19 2017

Since last week we have had more than 4 inches of rain.  It has been great for the garden but we did have quite a bit of wind that blew over the corn and green beans.  It looks like we they will recover.

This week we had potatoes, green beans, Asian long beans, lettuce, cucumbers, beets, egg plant, summer squash, a choice of turnip greens, Swiss Chard or collards, and choice of okra or peas.

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Week 07, July 12 GI Acres CSA Share

We are moving into the summer crops.  This week’s share included a lot of summer squash and our first green beans.  Not everyone got green beans but next week I think everyone will.  We had to pull a second table out of the garage to put all of the veggies on.  We had 2 kinds of lettuce and 2 kinds of cabbage.  Our garden cabbage was really yummy.  The Napa cabbage turned out nice too.  If you didn’t get Napa you could choose baby beats.  Everyone got radishes including black Spanish and Daikon.  If you didn’t get green beans you could choose peas or potatoes.  Everyone got basil, Swiss Chard, Fennel, Leeks, Garlic, Cucumbers and Basil.  The other choice was between egg plant, okra and turnips.  God has blessed us a with productive garden this year.  We are getting rain right now and if there isn’t any hail it should continue to thrive.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”21″ gal_title=”Week 07 Share July 12, 2017″]

Week 06, July 5, 2017

Week six we are starting to move into the summer veggies.  We had both cabbage and summer squash/zucchini in this share along with Collards, Turnip Greens, Dill, Purslane, Cabbage, Potatoes, lettuce, Bok Choy and Rhubarb.   Hopefully next week we will have green beans.  The early Contender, and Roma are blooming a lot.  The blue lake pole beans and Chinese long beans are starting to bloom too.  The cool leafy crops are bolting so they are done but the tomatoes are setting on heavily and there are lots of flowers on the egg plant.  We ate one of the cabbages in a cream can for Will’s birthday and it was very good.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”20″ gal_title=”Week 06 Share July 5, 2017″]

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.