Frost on the barn window at Blackberry Meadows Farm
We have a big office calendar on our fridge. When we use it – it helps Greg and I keep track of who’s coming and when, where we need to be, what we need to buy, and why we’re starting to go crazy. You can tell we’re on the up hill journey towards craziness when you see that a whole week is covered in chicken scratch. Then, throw in the activities of a toddler (library & swimming – not that overwhelming) and the week is over before you know it!
We warmed up the tractor and hauled up potting soil to the greenhouse
Yesterday was a big day – our potting soil arrived from Ohio Earth Food. Granted, we had a few bags left over from last year – but now we are prepared to go full steam ahead. We’re not eager to heat up the greenhouse when it’s 3 degrees outside – so we’ve maximized the warmth and coziness of our laundry/furnace room. We can start 30 trays of something there – and that’s just what we did. We’ve got herbs, flowers, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, leeks and onions started and will still plant broccoli, cabbage, kale and other leafy greens (almost all of an heirloom variety or another) by the end of the week.
Laundry room turned germination room
Also – Evelyn got her first 2014 ride on the tractor with Papa!
Evelyn and Greg take a ride on the Case
Posted in CSA, Farm, Organic, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized, vegetables
Tagged Blackberry Meadows Farm, CSA, Greenhouse, Organic, Pittsburgh, Seedlings, Seeds, Tomatoes, vegetable
It’s that time of year again! Our seed orders are in and we’re going to be putting seeds to soil before you know it!
Since you were a member last year – you can join at last year’s prices. Please see the attached document. Print out the Shareholder agreement form and mail it in with a check.
This year we’re increasing our heirloom varieties – with more colors of tomatoes (white, purple, green, and variegated), unusual squashes, and unique greens. Of course, there’s going to be the old-standbys that you can expect to see too. I wish there was a way that we could post up our seed purchases online – then you could get a detailed view of what we’re putting in the ground this year! We spend about $2000 on seeds each year, then another $2000 on potting soil and organic soil amendments. Then, there’s irrigation supplies, row cover, fuel for the tractors and heat for the greenhouse. Our organic certification usually costs around $1000, then taxes, the mortgage….. you know how it goes – it all adds up!
This is why running a CSA program is so cool. You folks help defray a lot of these up front costs – helping to disperse our flow (in and out) of cash throughout the growing season.
So – please sign up! You can join the CSA as a basic share, half share (every other week pick up), or plus share (2 times a basic share, every week – the most economical – buddy up with a friend and enjoy the savings!).
We’re adding a new drop site this year – up in Butler Co. at the intersection of Bonniebrook Rd and Rt 422, at Crossfit Bonniebrook. So, if you know folks up that way that would like to join a Certified Organic CSA – send them our way! (The 2014 shareholder agreement and pricing in on our homepage at http://www.blackberrymeadows.com )
New members for 2014 can go to our homepage and download the 2014 shareholder agreement.
If you end up recommending our CSA to a friend and they sign up – please encourage them to give us your name. We’ll give you a $20 credit for purchases towards our farm products – like eggs, meats, cheeses, honey, etc.!
If you would like to join as a workshare – member and trade your CSA share for labor – please get in touch!
Ohh – they say this weather is going to break. We’re going to make it into the 50′s. That’s down-right balmy, and a recipe for MUD. I have personally enjoyed this winter, granted, a small case of cabin fever is starting to creep into our cozy home. There’s a crack in our chimney pipe – so we can’t heat the house with wood until Greg can safely climb up on our metal roof and fix the seal. Sure, we’ve got backup baseboard heaters – but there’s just something ‘wintery’ about stoking a fire throughout the day.
Our greenhouse is in shambles, to be honest. Last fall, we tore out the south facing tables and built a raised bed of cinder blocks, in order to house a hundred or so rosemary plants. In fact, the whole greenhouse table infrastructure is due for a re-fab. Not a small project, especially when you consider that we’re going to integrate about 50 275 gallon totes of water into the design. At the most basic level, they will serve as a heat-sink throughout the winter – keeping the ambient temps up in the greenhouse on those arctic nights. Ideally, they will be filled with Tilapia – creating a closed circuit aquaponics system, much like they have over at Growing Power.
But – we need to consider the heart of the matter. It’s smack dab in the middle of February and there are seeds that need to be planted. We’ll create a small nursery for the early seedlings (peppers, onions, leeks, brassicas, etc.) in our basement with grow lights and warm water. Eventually, we’ll out grow this space and have to move to the greenhouse. It’s no small task keeping that place warm, and many a sleepless night are spent wondering if the heaters are doing their job. Will all our little babies make it through the frigid nights?
Posted in CSA, Farm, Organic, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized, vegetables
Tagged Cabin Fever, CSA, Farm, Greenhouse, Organic, Seedlings, Seeds
Just a quick check in – although it’s snowy and crisp out, we can tell that the weather is changing. Maybe it’s the angle of the sun and the songs of birds in the trees – but it’s here. The time has come to think about how we are going to start as many seedlings as possible in the basement, before we have to turn on the heaters in the greenhouse. We’ve got a mountain of a manure pile that needs to be spread on the fields. The chickens are starting to pick up their end of the deal and are cranking out the eggs. The farms abuzz!
Evelyn is growing quickly. She’s a smart little whip with quite a vocabulary, almost potty trained (honestly, we haven’t been pushing her either!), and enjoying the ups and downs of the emotional roller coaster of a two-year old.
We’re looking forward to another great growing season! We’re branching out with more heirloom varieties of tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. There are plans for a 1/2 acre pumpkin patch (PYO for our CSA members!), and goals of planting more perennial fruits.
Hopefully this cold, cold winter will help control the bug population (unfortunately, the poor bees have had a hard time staying warm too), and we’ll get a break from that hurdle!
Stay warm and stay in touch!
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