Sunday, August 30, 2015

First crenshaw melon harvest... pure yum !



The first heirloom crenshaw melons are in! We tried some still green but almost ripe ones and they were good.... but these vine ripened ones.. excellent!

Its a bit like a cross between honeydew and cantaloupe. The flesh is smooth and creamy, very sweet and a light cantaloupe aroma. Perhaps the best melon ever!

These are intended for pig food, but we will definately be sneaking some for us and might even sell a few in the online store!
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Certified Organic Alfalfa in stock now for resale

We have extra certified organic alfalfa available for sale.  You can buy by the bale or by the ton.

This alfalfa is first cutting, grown in klamath, in 120 lb bales.

You will need to come prepared to load this yourself or bring some help.

There are 17 bales in a ton.

Dont get caught low on feed, organic alfalfa is getting really hard to find, and gets harder as the year goes on.

Here is the link to the online store


Early Heirloom Organically grown Cinderella Pumpkins in Stock now!

We have posted the Cinderella pumpkins for sale in our online store now... feel free to take a look and choose your pumpkin for an early pie!

These pumpkins are quite unique... in shape, texture, and flavor. Great for pies and baking due to their softer sweeter texture  And they are easier to deal with because the skins are soft and easy to cut plus the inside are almost totally solid for easier cleaning.

Here is a writeup from "allaboutpumpkins.com"

Cinderella
Cinderella Pumpkins are a unique French heirloom whose correct name is "Rouge vif D'Etampes". The source of their nickname it that they resemble the pumpkin that Cinderella's fairy godmother transformed into a carriage. This pumpkin is recorded as having been the variety cultivated by the Pilgrims and served at the second Thanksgiving dinner. This is our favorite pumpkin variety. There is something magical about them. Cinderellas make a delightful decorative accent for the fall season, but additionally their flavor is good for any pie or winter squash recipe.

As with all heirlooms, each pumpkin is unique in shape and coloring from red, to orange, to yellow, even white.   Take a look at the variety:

Every pumpkin is unique
When you order these in the online store here, they will be listed by nearest weight in lbs. If we dont have the exact weight in stock that you request, we will get as close as possible.

Time to get started early on baking!


First Pumpkin Harvest! 300 beautiful heirloom pumpkins ready

We pulled in the first pumpkin harvest today. About 300 beautiful orange balls of joy, weighing an average of about 10 lbs each, a top weight at 25 lbs.

While most of these are for winter pig food, we will be offering some for sale through our online store and home delivery.

There are 2 varieties:

  • Connecticut Field pumpkin - a traditional shape and color, hard skin, hollow center
  • Rogue Vif D'Etampes (Cinderella pumpkin) - a very old french heirloom flat shape, solid center and sweeter flesh
So all these pumpkins are both organically grown AND heirloom varieties... a unique combination!

Our Favorite Pumpkin!  a perl white cinderella.


Here they are cleaned, stacked, and ready to go. We will let them dry outside for a day or two and then move the into air conditioning for storage after a thorough cleaning.

Picked and ready for pickup in the garden



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pig Heaven - A sustainable, healthy, profitable, pig feeding model for small farms

It is possible, no pig in the world has a better life than these guys! They have their own garden... and eat fresh produce every 2 days.. harvested for them and delivered to their doorstep.  Life is good!

Today we harvested 22 barrels (35 gallon trash barrels) of zucchini. At approximately 150lbs per barrel, thats a total of 3300 lbs of zucchini! This is pretty much average harvest per week for the pigs.

The ladies are chowing down on the first 6 barrels of fresh harvested zucchini... plenty more to come!


Why do we do this?

Well... for the cost of seeds, water, fertilizer, infrastructure (about $2000 all together) plus a bit of labor to prepare, plant, grow, and harvest... we get a ton and a half of fresh nutritious organic produce to feed our pigs every week.  Lets do some math...

3300 lbs is a lot of zucchini. The going local rate for organic locally grown zucchini in bulk is 1.35 per lb... but that's not heirloom.  Heirloom varieties go for closer to $1.50 per lb.  But lets be conservative... use the 1.35 per lb price. That means 3300 lbs is worth $4455 of Zucchini! For heirloom (which this is) thats a value of $4950.   And we feed this.. every week, plus a small amount of soaked/ sprouted grain, weeds and alfalfa.  In addition to zucchini, we are growing beets, pumpkins, cabbages, and a whole host of root vegetables for winter.

Grain, at wholesale, runs about $.15 per lb for a killer deal, $.20 per lb for a good deal (organic).  We are feeding produce fresh from the garden worth $1.50 per lb. that's 10x the going rate!

Who in their right mind would do this? well us... we would.   Lets think it through.   it takes us about 3 hours a week to harvest this produce.  Total cost to plant was about $2000.  so growing it ourselves is actually quite economical!  consider the alternative:

We would have to feed about $1000 of grain per week, plus another $200 per week in nutritional supplements (because grain by itself doesnt supply enough nutrition for health). And you still have labor to cart the grain around and feed it appropriately.

Think about the impact to the environment... trucking 3 tons of grain in per week to feed these guys... plus all the local tractor labor to fill the feeders.  This approach, growing the feed right here on farm, in our dirt, with our water and our labor, makes a lot of sense! and it's nutrition that cant be beat!

We are excited about our model... it provides the best nutrition possible (fresh produce) for the hogs, meaning larger healthier litters and fewer health problems.  Plus it is more environmentally friendly than trucking heavy feed around the country. And it saves money for feeding in the process. And lets not forget... it makes the best tasting pork you can imagine!

So there you have it... a unique model that works... profitable for the farm, healthier for the hogs, sustainable for the environment, and producing a superior product for you, the consumer.

Have you tried our sausage or bacon yet?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ridiculous and Dangerous Food Laws from Big Brother

The other night, at the open house for Siskiyou Vital Medicine, a conversation arose with a gentleman very interested in our farm operation. The question came up.. "what about the laws?". Its a common question, and one which the average citizen has no concept of just how bad things are... especially for small farmers. Today I ran across this true story which exemplifies just how out of control our government has become.

To summarize, the first story is about a dairy farm in florida. They had a GREAT idea! something unique... make REAL skim milk. They took fresh whole milk from their cows, pasteurized it, and then skimmed the fat off the top. The result was bottled as "skim milk". Simple, right?  well not so fast.. the government agencies got involved and demanded that they change the label or stop producing the product. Their claim is ... well.. there are no words... read it yourself:

DACS has decided what is commonly known as skim milk—whole milk with the cream skimmed off—cannot be called “skim milk” unless it is artificially injected with vitamin A. DACS has demanded that Mary Lou either inject vitamin A before she can call it skim milk, or use a confusing and misleading label that calls it something it is not: Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed. Mary Lou suggested other labels that would ensure customers her skim milk is only pasteurized skim milk, not just a “milk product,” but DACS rejected each one.


This I no joke! The government would not allow the dairy farm to sell true natural skim milk labeled "skim milk" because the government has defined skim milk as a product with different attributes then.. well.. skim milk!

The technicalities here are this.. removing the fat from milk removes the fat soluble vitamins. So to compensate, artificial vitamins are added back into the skim milk to the level approved by the government.  Skim milk is.. skim milk with added artificial vitamins.  That means that legally true skim milk is not... skim milk.. it is an inferior product that must be labeled as "artificial".

How far we have come... This is just an example of how ludicrous our government has become in logic and reach into personal lives. They are actively redefining nature and natural products.   Believe me.. this is not the only one! Plenty of products sold in stores are so far removed from natural, but yet since it is now "normal", the natural is deemed "artificial" and even dangerous.

This, my friends, is what small farms must deal with on a regular basis!

Another example is at the bottom of the references article... a sausage maker in Colorado that shut down totally because the government didn't like their natural "process", although no one ever got sick, there were no complaints, and no evidence of any danger. It was just.. "not normal". There was never an issue of safety alt all, only process.

In August, the USDA imposed additional requirements on Il Mondo Vecchio’s production methods. After two months of sharing information and collaboration back and forth between Il Mondo Vecchio and the USDA as well as various attempts to modify the production methods,” the owners announced, “Il Mondo Vecchio has determined that the impact of the regulatory requirements on dry cured sausage products was detrimental to the quality of the product and therefore, Mark and Gennaro are forced to close the[ir] doors.”

So here is another case where the government regulations and power reached so far into personal lives that a business shut down rather than degrade their product quality to be compliant with the government standards. And I repeat.. this was NOT about food safety or complaints.. it was only about points of process outside of safety.

My friends... the government must be stopped. Do some research and you will find that so many of the things we assume are simply not true, not real, or not possible. Logic no longer prevails. Innovation and quality are squashed in the name of conformity.

Yes.. farms are under attack legally... they come and go regularly... America is literally "biting the hands that feed them".



Here is the link to the full article: 

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/08/20/govt-to-creamery-your-milk-is-entirely-too-natural-to-not-be-labeled-imitation/

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/08/20/govt-to-creamery-your-milk-is-entirely-too-natural-to-not-be-labeled-imitation/


Friday, August 21, 2015

First pumpkin harvest... Pumpkin soup

Tonight we enjoyed the first pumpkin dish of the season... Pumpkin soup! A wonderful combination of pumpkin, tumeric, and sour cream, with some cilantro on top. This dish was heavy in tumeric for flavor and health.


This heirloom variety is outstanding! Firm dense flesh with a sweet deep flavor. Very pleased with Hunter's choices for seed varieties.





posted from Bloggeroid

Organic Alfalfa and Alfalfa / Grass Mix delivered for the year

Today we finally received our yearly order of hay... This year we went with a combination of both straight alfalfa and some alfalfa / grass mix, all certified organic.  We have 7 blocks for a total of 408 bales, which  is approximately 28 tons of hay. Thats a lot of hay!

The animals are having a feast!  Even the hogs are chowing down like they haven't seen alfalfa in months (which is almost true).

Here are some shots of the animals feasting on bales of the fresh hay:

video


video

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bacon Back in Stock!

Bacon is back in stock in our online store! Dont delay.. these little packages of pleasure go fast!


Little Sprouts Bacon is very unique. It is bacon the way our ancestors made it... with nothing added! This is literally nothing but heavily smoked, sliced pork belly. No additives no flavorings, not even salt.  You can flavor it any way you wish when you cook it.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Free samples of Sausage on Thursday night with Siskiyou Vital Medicine Open House

We are very pleased to announce that Little Sprouts will be at the open house for Siskiyou Vital Medicine this thursday, Aug 20. We will be providing free samples of our locally raised pure, healthy and humane sausages! (and maybe some other goodies too!)

Nutrition is the foundation of health. This is the mission of Little Sprouts, to provide the food that brings health. Our meats are second to none in this respect, and we are honored to be teamed up with the newest local health provider with a totally new approach...

Come over to their offices on Barnett Rd in Medford on Thursday evening to learn all about their fresh new approach to healthcare and try some samples of the healthiest meats available.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Cucumber Beetles and Neem Oil

Recognize this guy?



Yes, the spotted Cucumber beetle, and  lets not forget his cousin, the striped cucumber beetle.  They have moved into our garden big time! These little guys are everywhere... first on the beets eating the greens, but now they have moved into the pumpkin patch. And to make matters worse, they seem to love the skin of a maturing pumpkin! We have found several pumpkins with the skin nearly totally eaten off, showing a glowing white ball.

So, time for action!  We are starting with a trial of Neem Oil. We sprayed the entire pumpkin patch yesterday, so over the next few days we can tell how well it works.

Neem is a natural seed oil that "confuses" bugs, presumably by interfering with their hormones. It is a slow process that does not directly kill the bugs, but they will "forget" to reproduce, or even eat, and thereby die off within one generation.

Stay tuned to see how it works out!

First Pumpkin Harvest

The Pumpkins are finally ripening! We gave the pigs a taste of their first fresh pumpkins along with the usual zucchinis. They loved them!

What a nice variety!

Even the little ones took turns nibbling on the leftovers

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mahindra 3316 - Great tractor one problem

We use the Mahindra 3316... a great small to medium sized tractor. It has served our needs very well for several years and I would definitely recommend this or similar tractors to anyone.



That said... There is one problem to be aware of...

When using this tractor in dusty conditions (for example tilling a new pasture in the summer dry weather)... be cautious of the engine temp.  There isnt an "air cleaner" like on a car or truck, the is just a removable screen over the radiator.  When used in dusty conditions, larger items get caught in the high airflow sucking air through the radiator... and then smaller particles get trapped. Soon, a good portion of the screen is covered in thick "dust" that can totally block airflow.

For a while there is no warning.. there is enough radiator exposed to maintian engine cooling. But that can change suddenly... within minutes things can go from "no sign of trouble" to water boiling in the overflow. Once the screen gets plugged toa point where current engine load creates more heat than available airflow can remove...  it overheats. This can happen so quickly that On more than one occasion I have had the overflow blow off and start spewing radiator fluid before I ever noticed the engine heat dial was redlined.

So a word of warning... keep a close eye on engine heat while working in dusty conditions... and stop occasionally to clean the radiator screen.

And another word of advice.. should this happen to you do NOT turn off the engine... instead let it sit and idle under no load to cool down. Turning it off while overheated will immediately boil the radiator fluid trapped in the engine and potentially cause damage.  Better to let it idle down to more normal temps, then turn it off and remove the screen for cleaning.

Also.. be VERY careful with trying to remove the screen while the engine is running! The high airflow will cause the dirt from the screen to get sucked into the radiator if you try to remove it while running. That is a mess of having to wash out the radiator itself with water, which of course means waiting till totally cool engine.

Great little tractor! Just be cautious about dusty conditions.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Starting winter garden

The time is here. We just started the winter garden for pig feed. This is a continuation of our new approach of growing vegetables for hog feed directly, giving them the best instead of the leftovers.

The winter garden will be roots (beets, carrots, rutebegas, etc) and some cold hardy plants (kale, cabbage, etc). This way, it will sprout in the heat of summer, grow through fall, and be available for harvest all winter. Two years ago when we tested this we ended up with 10 lb solid fresh heirloom beets around march!



The process is :

1. Water lightly (one day)
2. Till, 3 passes to chop up growth
3. Water again
4. Wait to sprout
5. Till a final time to remove most of the sproutable weed seeds.

The first tilling is deep, the second shallow.

Stay tuned!


The left side is the original raw pasture. On the right is after one pass with the magic land pride tiller.

Best Tiller ever! Reverse Tines
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Learn about new local health options

There is an open to the public class upcoming at Siskiyou Vital Medicine where you can learn about their new healthcare options and services they provide as naturopaths.



Little Sprouts joins Stewardship Alliance

We are proud to announce that Little Sprouts has joined the Siskiyou Vital Medicine Stewardship Alliance.

From the Siskiyou Vital Medicine Website:

The Stewardship Alliance is an alliance of local businesses, groups, and individuals, who share common values and goals. The members of the Stewardship Alliance serve in their own respective ways to facilitate and grow stewardship of our bodies, minds, community, and environment. By becoming a member of the SVM community, you become a member of the Stewardship Alliance, where you will enjoy discounts at the various businesses that are Alliance members.  This list is always evolving and growing.

What does this mean to you? We are offering an across the board discount of 10% to all clients of Siskiyou Vital Medicine! Save 10% on everything, everyday. Just let us know of your patronage and upon verification we will apply the discount to your future orders.

This is our way of supporting overall health of our customers. Health is good food, but its more than just food.

For more info, contact them here:  http://www.siskiyouvitalmedicine.com/


Finally available - pay for health, not treatment

Health Care is one of the most important aspects of life.  In fact, for Little Sprouts, Health Care is the center of our mission. This farm was launched to provide food to heal, to improve the health of individuals and families by returning to truly healthy food. Many of you know our own journey from the Standard American Diet and therefore the Standard American Degeneration into true health through food that heals.

Food, as foundational as it is to health, is yet only one aspect of overall health. We truly believe that is is the core aspect, the single most important, but there are times when things go wrong. There are times in everyone's life when we need more than good nutrition.  In those moments where do you turn?

We, our own family, has struggled with this question for years. Once you realize the fallacies of main stream american medicine, it becomes difficult to turn to the standard practitioners of that system with confidence.   The foundation of single cause - effect, the approach of perpetual pharmaceuticals to hide symptoms, and even the model of profit only through illness conflicts with true health care.

So where can individuals turn for true healthcare with confidence? There is an answer! Better yet, our family can personally vouch for the benefits and value of this choice! We have been using their services for a while now with great success.

Now there is a new approach to healthcare here in the Rogue Valley. A small group of medical professionals have launched a service unlike any other.  It is not only a blend of the best from modern medicine and traditional wisdom, it is not only the approach of treating the entire person instead of hiding symptoms, but on top of this they offer a new model of PAY TO STAY WELL! (oh yea, they are nice people too!)

Siskiyou Vital Medicine  in Medford is that option! They offer flat rate monthly plans for unlimited visits. Its the notion of paying a dr to keep you well. Unlike mainstream medicine which profits from services, This new approach incentivises the dr to keep you healthy and thereby limit visits.  It
makes total sense!

We encourage you to consider SVM. We have been very happy with their approach and services.







Cucumbers are out for this year

We planted a huge patch of cucumbers, hoping to use them both for hog feed and for pickling. But, things didnt work out in either case.

First, the heat wave we just had turned all the cucumbers bitter. The heat reached close to 110 for a few days in a row and the plants got stressed.  This is often a non-recoverable condition with cucumbers. Once bitter, always bitter.  So we cant plan on any cukes for pickling this year.

Second, we decided cucumbers for hog feed dont make sense. It takes way too long to harvest these for the amount you get, when compared to squash and beets.  Plus, the nutritional value of cucumbers is below that of most other garden vegetables. So for lower nutrition for more labor.. doesnt make sense.

We are making the best of it.. by letting the cucumbers get ripe, then pulling the entire plant to be used for hog feed. They love it!  We pull one row at a time and have enough vines / ripe cukes to feed for a day.

Making the best of it!


Blog posts with pictures on facebook again

I "think" I have the link fixed between blogger and facebook so that facebook posts will contain the pictures from the blogger posts instead of just the logo image.  

The fix was mostly from here:

http://www.mybloggerlab.com/2014/07/how-to-fix-facebook-post-thumbnail-in-blogger.html

although i had to do a little changing to their code to pull actual images instead of thumbnails.

Hopefully the facebook page will be more interesting now!

Fresh Hog Feed

Beets and zucchini headed for foothill
Cucumber vines with ripe cucumbers
The salad mix for the breeders
This weeks harvest!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Produce fed Hogs - a new approach

There are two main ways to feed hogs today... commercial hog feed or "scraps".

Commercial hog feed comes in lots of varieties, all intended to meet the nutritional needs of the animal at the lowest possible cost. In other words... they are formulated to "just barely" have enough nutrition for health.  Companies that produce these feeds do a lot of study on exactly hat the minimum needs are, to meet them without going over.   There is nothing necessarily wrong with this approach, as long as the nutritionist that produced the feed formula truly does understand hogs. The farmer is depending on the company to know what the hogs need and provide just that.

The other approach common in smaller operations is feeding hat amount to scraps or leftovers. This could be the non human edible produce from a garden, leftovers from a restaurant or grocery store, spent grains from brewing, Basically any semi edible food that is cheap and would otherewise go to waste.

We use both approaches from time to time. We have the commercial feed  from scratch and peck that is a soy free , organic, non-gmo whole feed.  But we use this sparingly. Then we collect scraps when available from a variety of organic sources.  But this is hit and miss.  We also provide a steady supply of greens (weeds) from gardening and on open pasture.  But, alas, that list of things is not enough to feed the number of hogs we now have (50 to 100).  So we needed a new idea to both save money and provide deep nutrition.

Enter.. produce. Fresh grown organic heirloom produce. We actually started a garden primarily for the hogs. Its not that the hogs get what isnt human useable... no.. these hogs get the first pickings, the best produce we can produce. Not scraps, but real food!

Summer time means zuchinni, pumpkin, beets. cucumber, melons. corn, etc. The things we can grow and feed on a continual basis.  As of right now, we harvest about nine to ten 40 gallon barrels  twice a week of these things.  That provides over half of the total feed for the hogs. Then we fill in with sprouted grain and commercial feed, plus the weeds from the garden or pasture.

Winter time we plant moistly roots and cold hardy plants... beets, carrots, rutabagas, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, etc. These items allow us to harvest continually for most of hte winter, because they over winter in the ground.

You see, we debated about how long we can keep pumpkins for winter feeding, dehydrating zucchini to last through winter, etc. But then we realized.. why go to all that trouble when the ground itself is a great storage spot! Just grow the roots, leave them in the ground to slowly grow  until time to feed!  Low maintenance , low cost, no energy food storage!

Nutritionally this is optimum for hte hogs, because they get a true variety of fresh produce, grown right. We are not dependent on any single nutritionist or company to determine what our hogs need to survive. These hogs eat like they would in the wild, opportunistically browsing through whatever they find.

So next time your enjoying a Little Sprouts English Banger sausage, feel secure that our hogs are not fed a "formula"developed in a lab, nor are the fed leftovers or garbage... the hogs that produce that sausage are fed the best of hte best, locally grown fresh organic produce, grown just for them!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pain relieving tea...

Every so often we like to share health tips that we have learned... on the outside chance it might help someone save trial and error time. This is such an occasion.

I have a fairly serious problem at present, with shoulder pain. Sometime in the past, I seem to have torn something inside my right shoulder. We are still working on discovering the underlying cause and heal it, but in the mean time there is.. pain. Lots of it!  That kind of pain that just wrecks your whole day. The deep, never ending, not even pulsing, constant pain deep within the bones. Yep.. nerve pain.

Wanting to stay away from pharmaceuticals as much as possible because of the long term negative effects, I have been experimenting with more natural remedies.. herbs.  Originally I tried the usual run of anti-inflammatories and yes they help... but couldnt touch the intensity of such an intense and constant pain.  I needed something that could knock back more than just by reducing inflammation.

Weeks of trial and error on tinctures, herbs, etc has led me to a recipe for a tea that works wonders for me! Honestly, this tea can knock back 80% of the pain even in bad spells in just 20 to 30 minutes with one to three cups of tea. Sure, it tastes like wet dirt, but hey, it WORKS!


Here is the recipe:

  • 4 parts willow bark
  • 2 parts meadowsweet flower
  • 2 parts meadowsweet leaves / stems
  • 2 parts devils claw
  • 1 part st johns wort
  • 1 part jamaican dogwood bark


I mix these herbs, then use about 3 to 4 teaspoons in a quart of water. simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, then let the tea sit and steep until consumed. (gets stronger over time). My basic dose is a half pint every 4 hours, doubling or tripling as necessary, leaving about 30 minutes between doses to see if more is necessary.

We get these herbs either locally or from Mountain Rose Herbs, and of course all are organic!

I cant explain exactly why it works, you can do your own research, but all ingredients seem necessary. removing any one reduces the effectiveness significantly.  What I learned is that willow and meadowsweet work on the same principle as aspirin, but without the long term negative effects. The st johns wort adds a muscle and nerve calming effect, the devils claw is especially good for nerve type pain like arthritis, and the dog wood is a powerful anti-spasmodic, relaxing muscles that cramp up around intense pain.

This works for me, so its worth sharing. As always with herbs.. your mileage may vary.

Garden Fertigation update

Its been a few weeks now, exploring this new "fertigation" concept in the garden

"Fertigation is a method of fertilizing and irrigating simultaneously, using liquid fertilizer through drip lines and precise metering equipment"

We have tried several brands of liquid fertilizer, and settled on AlgoPlus  liquid organic fertilizer.  This one is totally water soluble, which is important! The others we tried had solids that actually settled out INSIDE the drip lines, potentially plugging the lines and holes.  AlgoPlus seems to flow right through.  The cost is about the same across all brands, if you figure in strength and dilution rates.  We also seem to see more positive improvement from algoplus than any of the other brands / types.

We purchase the fertilizer from Drip Depot because they are local and great to work with. They carry both the quart and the 5 gallon size. A single fertilization event across our garden requires about 15 gallons, so we buy the 5 gallon sizes. So far we have fertilized once per week at the recommended strengths with good results. The plant health has  improved, and growth rate has improved.

Watering levels has been tricky. Our ground is thick clay, so it takes forever to get it wet, but then it stays wet .. well.. forever.  I have been slowly increasing watering times to get a good saturation down deep, which took quite a while! At first I had 2 hours per section, twice a day. But last week we changed to 4 hours per section, once a day. This week the ground seems sufficiently wet, almosts too wet, so now I have cut it back to 4 hours per section once every 2 days.

I like to water deep and infrequently.  getting the moisture down below the roots encouraged deeper root growth as they chase the moisture. To accomplish this, the watering time must be long enough to get water deep, but the wait time between waterings must be long enough for the top to dry completely.  And of course, the weather conditions affect this greatly.  SO its a constant adjustment , but for now we seem to be at the sweet spot.

I do love the flexibility of the water timing system,  we are using Galcon controllers.  These are by far the most flexible and easily programmable controllers yet! They have some unique features not found on other controllers at anywhere near the price.  I highly recommend these!

So for now things are settling into a routine of water, fertilize, harvest, weed.  But soon we start on the fall garden, mostly roots!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Almost at full harvest!

The pig gardens are doing great this year. We are just a bout at full harvest potential.  Here is the status:

Squash (including zuchinni)  - harvest every 3 to 4 days, producing 7 barrels per harvest

Cucumber - harvest weekly, producing 6 to 7 barrels

Each barrel is 30 gallons, so on a weekly basis we are producing :

Squash = 420 gallons per week

Cucumber = 210 gallons per week

ITs time to start dehydrating some of the harvest for winter months, since the harvest will continue to improve over the next month.

The beets are ready to harvest, not as many as we hoped for but still significant. We expect quite a few barrels, maybe 12.

The cabbages are struggling in the heat

The pumpkins are doing great, probably ready to start harvesting in 2 weeks.

 Here's a look at the pigs enjoying today's picking of cucumber: