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….