Organic Gardening Advice, Tips, and Tricks

Teach a man to fish???   Teach your family to GROW.

 

Take the guess work out of what and when to plant.  Our latest offering from Two Toad Farm CSA starts you off with healthy seedlings at the perfect time for planting, advice on soil and garden prep, and teaches you how to grow your own food for your family.  At Two Toad Farm, we believe that learning how to grow your own food is important, but many folks don’t know where to start.  If you are serious about growing your own food, then our Seedling CSA is a great place to start.  With over 475 USDA Certified Organic seedlings spread out across 10 weeks of spring and early Summer (5 pickups), the garden planning, preparation methods, and variety selection are all taken care of for you.  This CSA option costs $250.00, requires a minimum 25’x50′ of garden space, and is for people who are serious about growing their own food for their family.

 

Feel free to contact us to get a signup sheet (until the up to date sheet is available on line), or with any questions.  Also, don’t forget that many crops are direct seeded (like peas, beans, beets, carrots, salad greens… and are NOT part of the seedling CSA).

 

We have the following CSA options you can choose from in order to best serve your needs– all while supporting LOCAL AGRICULTURE.

 

Reserve your own– 2013 Summer Vegetable CSA Share:

Shareholders pay up front, and provide the farm’s operating budget for the season.   Shares cost $550.00 and must be paid in full no later than May 15, 2013.  Discounts are available when you pay early.   Shares are picked up at Great Brook Animal Care on Rt 202 in S. Lebanon, Maine from 4:-7:00 pm each Monday during the 18-20 week season (late May to early October).

or

Choose your own– 2013 Marketshares:

Buy Marketshares before the season starts for $100.00 each, and get $120.00 worth of any of our products at any of our markets.  This includes veggies, herbs, seedlings, tools, woodenware, seeds and more.

or

Grow your own– 2013 Seedling CSA:

Serious about growing your own food, but don’t know where to start?  Try our new 2013 Summer Seedling CSA, and start with a full variety of Certified Organic seedlings ready to go into your garden at the right time, and at the peak of health. The Seedling CSA offers wide variety of veggies and herbs along with expert advice on garden prep, planting, pest/disease control, weed control and harvest tips.  The Seedling CSA costs $250.00 and requires 25’X50′ of garden space (1,250 square feet, or 250 feet of 3′ wide garden bed) to accommodate the seedlings.

 

Organic Seed Garlic Planting Instructions:

Here are some good instructions on how to plant garlic.

 

Planting Instructions:

Select largest bulbs and cloves or purchase seed garlic.  Plant garlic in the fall 4-6 weeks before ground freezes (mid-late October).  Separate bulbs into cloves, and discard (eat) any with damage.  We treat our garlic with “Oxidate” (a hydrogen peroxide product used in Certified Organic Agriculture) according to label before planting… this is optional insurance against disease.  Plant in 3′ wide beds prepared with gypsum, OG fertilizer (pro-gro, cow manure, ect), and till in 6-8 inches.  Plant cloves 3″-5″ deep with tip up (root down) 8″ apart in rows that are 8″-10″ apart.  Mulch entire bed with 3″-6″ of straw (preferred), hay or horse manure (which is mostly shavings).

Harvest (Scape):

Hardneck garlic will send up a scape (flower) in June.  It is delicious– the BEST part of the garlic! Once it curls, snap the flower stalk off above the leaves.  Bon appétit!  Leave the rest of the plant to grow a nice bulb below ground.  Failing to remove the scape results in tiny garlic.

Harvest (Bulb):

Once the bottom 3-5 leaves of the garlic plant turn yellow (early August), pull entire plants up, remove/shake/wash dirt off and cure garlic for storage.

Curing:

Garlic must cure to store.  We bundle garlic on 2′ strings.  Grab 10 plants, fan bulbs out for good air-flow, and tie stems tightly (garlic stems shrink as they dry, and garlics fall out of the bunch).  Tie ten on each end of the string.  Hang bundles up in dry barn/shed/garage (not damp basement!) until leaves are crispy, and bulb wrappers are papery (about one month).

Storage: Cut off stalks and roots.  Store in mesh bag in dry cool location out of sun.

 

Good luck!

 

Letting things grow.

The rain caused some problems at the farm a couple of weeks ago.  Things were growing very well… harvests going well… we even had great harvests during the rain.  But due to some flooding and a lot (A LOT) of nutrients being washed out of the ground, we actually canceled last week’s wholesale (restaurant) deliveries in order to let things grow for the CSA and for markets.  Last week’s CSA distribution was not as good as we had hoped for, but that’s all part of what a CSA is all about.  Sometimes factors outside of our control make a distribution smaller.   We are looking forward to a good distribution for this monday, though!   Snap peas are in the future!!!

 

First CSA share of 2012: Memorial Day.

Our first CSA share distribution went great.  Despite a farm truck breaking down at Hometown Mobil, the veggies and seedlings got to Great Brook Animal Care on time (the ’76 Chevy was hauled to the mechanics that night, and tuned up running better than ever– all before 12:noon the next day!)

 

The first share was pretty good size for the first of the year and included:

 

1 bunch Russian Kale (big, beautiful leaves… the first of the year)

1 bunch Swiss Chard (smaller leaves, still early)

1 large Joi Choi (white stem bok choy)– [small green stem for 1/2 share]

.6 lbs of Two Toad Farm salad mix

Mix pack of tomato seedlings:  Brandywine, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Bobcat (f1), Pink Beauty (f1), and two Sungold Cherry.

 

It was a pleasure seeing returning shareholders, and meeting new ones.    We are planting all week, and the harvests are starting to roll in.   Hope you all are enjoying the first few veggies of the season.


Jordan and Marybeth.

Seeding has begun!

We have started planting our onions, leeks, shallots, and parsley!

 

We still have many CSA shares left!   Don’t forget our Mareketshare program good for any of our markets including Portsmouth, Sanford, Springvale, North Berwick, and any specialty or holiday markets we may get involved with.   If we’re there, your Marketshare is valid!

 

Thanks,

Jordan and Marybeth

 

Complete list of 2011 Summer CSA Distributions

Weekly Distributions Two Toad Farm 2011 Summer CSA

These are the FULL SHARE distributions.  Half Shares are a little more than 1/2 of this.  As you can see, shares start out smaller when little is available for harvest and evolve over the growing season.  Splitting a half share is not recommended.

 

June 6

1 pac choi – white

2 pac choi – green

.8 lb salad mix

1 bu. green garlic

1 bu. winterbor kale

1 bu. red russian kale

 

June 13

.7 lb salad mix

1 bu. red russian kale

1 bu. scallions

1 head red leaf lettuce

3 pac choi

1 bu. swiss chard

1 bu. french radish

 

June 20

1 bu. kale

1 bu. garlic scapes

1 head green leaf lettuce

1 bu. radish

2 pac choi

2 bu. hong vit salad greens

1 bu. scallions

 

June 27

.25 lb. braising green mix

.2 lb. arugula

1 bu. kale

2 bu. garlic scapes

1 bu. hakurei turnip

1 bu. radish

2 pac choi – white

2 pac choi – green

1 head lettuce green

 

July 4

1 bu. kale

1 bu. arugula

1 bu. braising mix

1 bu. hakurei turnip

2 bu. garlic scapes

1 bu. scallions

1 head lettuce red

.3 lb peas

.2 lb broccoli

 

July 11

1 bu. hakurei turnip

1 bu. winterbor kale

1 bu. scallions

1 bu. beet greens

.8 lb lettuce mix

.6 lb broccoli

2 summer squash

1 napa cabbage

2 kohlrabi

1 bu. garlic scapes

 

July 18

.8 lb cucumbers

1.6 lb. summer squash

.6 lb peas

.9 lb lettuce mix

1 kohlrabi

1 pac choi

1 bu. beet greens

1 bu. scallions

1 bu. kale

1 bu. swiss chard

1 bu. parsley

 

July 25

1 bu. scallions

1 green cabbage

1 bu. kale, red russian

3.8 lb. cucumbers

.5 lb lettuce mix

2.5 lb summer squash

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

1 bu. arugula

1 kohlrabi

 

August 1

1 bu. scallions

1 bu. kale, winterbor

4 heads garlic

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

1 bu. basil

1 head cabbage, green

2 lb. summer squash

3 lb. cucumbers

 

August 8

1 bu. kale

4 beets

4 heads garlic

1 bu. swiss chard

6 lbs. cucumbers

3.4 lb. summer squash

.6 lb lettuce mix

2 heads mini-romaine lettuce

1 bu. celery

1 bu. basil

 

August 15

1 bu. kale, winterbor

1 bu. swiss chard

1 bu. basil

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

7 beets

5 onions

2.7 lb. summer squash

3 lb. cucumbers

 

August 22

1 bu. winterbor kale

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. basil

4 beets

5 heads garlic

5 onions

2.5 lb. tomatoes

3.3 lb. cucumbers

3.1 lb. summer squash

 

August 29

1 bu. kale, red russian

1 bu. basil

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

5 heads garlic

5 beets

6 onions

4 lb. tomatoes

2 lb. summer squash

1.5 lb. cucumbers

 

September 5

5 onions

2 green peppers

1 jalapeno

1 bu. kale

1 bu. basil

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

4.2 lb. summer squash

3 lb. cucumbers

4.1 lb. tomatoes

 

September 12

2 leeks

5 heads garlic

3 jalapenos

3 green peppers

5 onions

1 lb. tomatoes

1.3 lb. cucumbers

2 summer squash

1 bu. basil

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

3 lb. green beans

 

September 19

3.5 lb. potatoes                    1 bu. parsley

4 leeks                            1 bu. celery

3 onions

4 green peppers

2 jalapenos

1.8 lb. green beans

5 heads garlic

3 cucumbers

1 butternut squash

1 delicata squash

.6 lb. tomatoes

September 26

3.4 lb. potatoes

2 green peppers

2 sugar dumpling/delicata winter squash

5 onions

4 leeks

5 heads garlic

1 bu. parsley

1 bu. celery

 

October 3

5 heads garlic

3 onions

2 red onions-cipollini

3 lb. potatoes

3 asst. winter squash

3 green peppers

1 bu. kale

1 bu. parsley

4 leeks

.5 lb. green beans

10 ears corn

1 cornstalk

1 pumpkin

 

October 10

3 lb. onion

4 winter squash, asst.

5.5 lb. potatoes

12 heads garlic

1 bu. kale, red russian

1 head celeriac

1 eggplant

7 green peppers

1 bu. parsley

4 leeks

 

Monday June 06, 2011 First CSA Distribution

The first week of distribution included:

 

.82 lbs of salad mix

1 huge bunch of red russian kale

1 large bunch of winterbor kale

1 bunch of green garlic (yum!)

3 bok choi– 2 green stem and one white stem

 

Remember to freeze any extras for stockpiling local food for the winter.  Kale can be eaten at every meal, and bok choi make a GREAT cole slaw.   Green garlic can be chopped and put in almost everything.  Any extra garlic can be dehydrated, or chopped finely and mixed with salt (like all other excess fresh herbs) to make a wonderful herb salt.

 

See you next week!!!

 

Eamples of some of last year’s (2010) CSA distributions:

Here is the first and smallest (full) share of last season:

June 03, 2010:

 

2 pac choi

1 bunch french breakfast radish

1 bunch red radish

1 bunch mizuna

1 bunch kale

1 bunch scallions

.75 lb salad mix

1 bunch hakurei turnips

 

At our farmstand or at the Farmers’ Markets where we sell, the retail cost of the veggies above would be about $20.00- $23.00.

 

June 28, 2010: (full)

 

7 lbs summer squash (harvested small and tender, zukes too)

4.25 lbs zucchini (peak of summer squash and zukes)

1 white pac choi

1 green pac choi

1 bunch red radish

1 bunch hakurei turnip (the best, sweet salad turnip)

1 bunch purple top turnip (traditional)

1 bunch scallions

1 head lettuce

1 bunch red Russian kale

1 bunch Swiss chard

1 bunch (25 stalks) green garlic scapes

 

The veggies above are over $50.00 when buying retail at our markets.

 

August 07, 2010: (full)

 

2.4 lbs summer squash

2.1 lbs zucchini

2 bell peppers

1.6 lbs slicing cukes

1.2 lbs pickling cukes

.75 lbs sungold cherry tomatoes

.8 lbs cherry tomatoes

.6 lbs big tomatoes

2 pac choi

1 bunch red Russian kale

1 small cabbage

1 bunch basil

1 bunch French breakfast radish

 

Again… almost $40.00 at market for the above veggies.

 

Placing seed orders, and starting alliums!

Planting has begun at Two Toad Farm.  We start with alliums (onions, leeks, shallots)….       and it just snowballs from there!

 

Many folks have been asking for more specifics about “what is in a CSA share?”  We will be adding to the blog several examples of actual distributions from last year’s (2010) season.

Thanks,

jp

 

Attend a CSA Fair near you!

Attend a CSA Fair near you!

Two Toad Farm will be attending two back to back CSA fairs. On Saturday, February 26, Slow Food Seacoast will be sponsoring a CSA fair from 10:-2:00 at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford during the Winter Farmers’ Market. On Sunday, Two Toad Farm will also be in Springvale at the Anderson Learning Center from 1:-3:00 p.m. during the Maine State-wide CSA Fair on February 27 co-sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers&Gardeners Association (MOFGA). These events are free to the public, and will host a number of local farms who are eager to share information about farming and local food.

To learn more about CSAs, or to sign up, attend the free CSA fair closest to you. For details about Two Toad Farm, visit www.TwoToadFarm.com or call the farmer, Jordan Pike, directly at 207-252-1103 or at Jordan_Pike@yahoo.com.

History of Two Toad Farm: Lebanon, Maine.

Two Toad Farm began growing commercially in 2008. This year the farm will be expanding into another field, and will have about 4 acres under intensive vegetable production. Including blueberries, hay, and cover crop rotations, Two Toad Farm’s total acreage under Organic Management is over 17 acres. Two Toad Farm also offers a range of land planning and consultation services like farmland management and restoration, Organic Systems planning, public lectures, and erosion and sedimentation control.