It’s that time when the blackberries are ripening in haste. Years and years ago, my mother-in-law, Mary, planted a few vines on the side hill beside her home. She is gone now 3 years, but the vines have commandeered a great area. Son, Dallas, has taken an interest in bringing them under control. It is a daunting task since blackberry vines are notoriously prickly. However, it will be nice. Here you can see two bunches – one he has thinned and one still in a state of chaos and disarray. I’m thinking that after the season, he should just mow a cross right through the middle and be done with it.
Ideally, someone would dig out the vines and transplant them, but blackberries are cheap to buy, so no use working so hard to produce your own.
Last year, i plucked about 10 gallons worth of berries before they were done producing. Still enjoying them!
A new tool is available for market gardeners who operate CSAs!
Open Source Software for CSAs Funded by Western SARE
Jacksonville, OR, March 15, 2016 – The Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA in Southern Oregon has recently unveiled innovative, open source software developed through funds acquired from SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) to assist CSA farmers in connecting with their
members. At a time when farmers work hard to keep up with some of the latest trends in the local food movement nationally, CSA coordinator Maud Powell sought to provide a high-tech, user friendly tool to support CSA members interested in having their member information right at their fingertips. “CSAs continue to be a great marketing channel for farmers, but in order to attract customers, they need to be adaptive to cultural trends,” says Maud.
The first of its kind, the CSA App was developed by Josh Shupak with assistance from Lars Faye of Chee Studio and Becky Brown of iWrite. Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA members participated in surveys and focus groups to determine the features and functionality that would be used in the App. The CSA App supports CSA members with easy access to product information, recipes, cooking and storage tips and nutritional information for the produce found in their weekly CSA shares.
The mobile friendly tool was created using a web based platform and is easily customizable by anyone comfortable using a computer and navigating the internet. “The whole idea is to keep it simple for the farmer and easy to use for the membership,” says Powell. “I wanted to help make CSAs more relevant and accessible for younger generations, and the most obvious way to do that is through the use of technology.” Farmers can utilize the templates in the web platform to create their very own personalized App that can include product information, recipes, cooking videos, farmer bios and any specific instructions about how and where to pick up weekly CSA box deliveries. Creative users may even find additional ways to provide valuable information to their members using mobile technology.
Access to the customizable web platform is provided free of charge, although a valid credit card is required to secure information in the account set up phase. All existing content is open source and available for use, although customization may be necessary to reflect the specifics of a particular CSA farm. The Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA App can be viewed here: https://mobile-csa.herokuapp.com/.
So much to do to ready the house, yard, farm for spring growth. In north Missouri, there is always a very narrow window for such activity when it’s not too hot, not too cold, not too muddy, not too dry, not too windy, not too green. Yeah, spring work needs to happen before spring brush and grass starts growing.
Today is about 70F, cloudy and very windy, so no outdoor burning, but otherwise great for outdoor stuff.
Dallas and i cleaned out a small ditch near the house which contained ancient metal trash – he ran the tractor, i ran the log chain and we made short work of it – had a few interruptions – but finally all pulled out, loaded, and hauled off.
Also, taking time to prune trees, rose bushes, and ornamental grasses.
Cutting vegetables this morning for Jerry’s 90th Birthday bash/open house. Except for the parts that go onto the garden for composting (which was actually only the seeds, pith, and stems of the bell peppers), the rest of so-called waste is in this bag from 2 celery bunches, one cauliflower head, and two small broccoli heads. This stuff will make great soup stock and soup parts, or chopped up to combine with ground beef or lamb for lumpia filling. Absolutely nothing went into the bin.
One of the interesting things we noticed in Scotland is that many homes had a small greenhouse in the backyard. And usually a few laying hens as well. Melstadr, our first guest house in Shetland had both! This was exciting since building a tiny greenhouse with some of the old house windows we have in storage – and we have a LOT – has been on the back burner of my mind for several years! Considering the number of old windows we have, a large greenhouse could built, but that would not lend itself to mobility. There are a lot of examples online from ragtag designs to really upscale – mine will fall in the middle somewhere since my carpentry skills definitely don’t lean towards upscale. The first step will be to take inventory of all the windows – types and sizes – then make a plan. To make it more mobile, it could be built so that it will slide onto one of our existing trailers – that way it can be pulled onto a standard trailer and moved down the highway without being an extra wide load.
What would you do with a tiny backyard greenhouse if you had one? Before starting to build, I need to figure out why I really need to!
1) Mobile or stationary.
2) Bedding plants or full on vertical gardening
3) Floor or no floor
4) Winter time use by laying hens (chooks) (no floor – build humus by laying straw, shavings, and throwing grain for hens to scratch and peck through – tilling the soil.
5) Outdoor picnic area rather than for gardening or small gardening, but mostly sitting/reading space.
6) Heated or not (a small wood stove might be the right amount to knock off the chill – sized for the space)
7) Evaluate your climate and build accordingly – lots of info online for your particular area.
8) Decide, in advance what is economical to build and balance that against its need to pay for itself or to enhance quality of life and/or value of property – BUDGET, then build, accordingly.
9) New materials or repurposed lumber and windows.
Lots of things to consider before embarking. Before I start gathering up all the old windows and doors we have, I’ll take inventory of types and sizes and lay them out on paper first. Too much work to physically gather them in advance. Mostly, this project will depend on the weather. If it is too cold this winter, there simply won’t be time or place to build.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15