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Posted 3/26/2017 9:55am by Dennis Skoworodko.

 

 

Our eggplant seedlings had 100% germination this year which makes me very happy! Eggplants are the heat loving cousins to peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos and potatoes. They dislike cold even more than peppers and tomatoes, so the kind of summer weather we get makes a different to how well eggplants grow. Last summer we had high temperatures, especially June and July, and the eggplants did very nicely. We are hoping for good weather again this summer. We start the seedlings very early (2nd week of March) and plant them out quite late (early June). So we will be babying these plants for a long time. Once planted out we really do hope for lovely weather! The biggest pest we have found in our eggplant patch is the Colorado potato beetle. Eggplant seems to be their second choice of food- they still prefer potatoes. So we regularly inspect the plants and remove any intruders.

The variety we are growing has a beautiful dark purple color on the exterior but has a lovely mild flavor.  

 

Regards, Our Farm Team

Tags: Eggplant
Posted 3/14/2017 6:22am by Dennis Skoworodko.

Artichokes!  

Previous to 2016 we had never grown artichokes, and did not even know if they would grow here. I did not know anyone who had successfully harvested any here so we just trialed a handful of plants to see what would happen. The “Artichoke Center of the World” is in Castorville, California, where their weather is just a little bit different than ours! They have been grown there since the 1920s, first planted by Spanish settlers who brought them from Europe. The planting of artichokes exploded there and now it is such a big deal for that area they have a 3 day Artichoke festival every year. California grows 99% of the artichokes in North America and Castorville supplies 2/3 of that. In areas with milder winters than Saskatoon, artichokes are perennials. Here the winter is far too cold for them and we have to replant them ever year. A quirky trait of artichokes is that they need to have a time of cold while they are growing to tell them they have come through winter, and that it is time to form a flower...the head that we eat is actually an immature flower bud. Because we have to grow them as an annual here, we need to make sure that the plants have 10 days or more of temperatures between +4.5°C to +10°C so they think they have gone through “winter” so they are “tricked” into flowering (a process called vernalization). So once our seedlings are well on their way we need to make sure that they have this temperature experience...either from the weather or we need to temperature control where they are if the weather does not cooperate. We were really happy with the results of the few artichokes we grew last year...and had great feedback on the taste and texture from the lucky few customers who managed to scoop some up (oh, those early birds at the market!). So we have expanded the space we have allotted to artichokes at the farm and planted the seeds this week (photo above).  

They take a long time to grow and we are hoping the success of last year will happen again this year. If all goes well, you should be able to put these in your belly late July.

Regards, Our Farm Team  

Tags: Artichoke
Posted 3/5/2017 8:22am by Dennis Skoworodko.

The Story of Your Food started February 28.

Celery, Celeriac and Onions met the soil.  

Today we will talk about Celery!

Step one, Soil Blocks.

   

  

 

In the first photo we are making "soil blocks". The second photo shows a single block. We place the seed into the divot in the center of the soil block. These blocks give us an excellent starting home for the plants. The seed sprouts sending out roots, the roots stop at the edge of the block, because roots do not grow in air. Then, the roots wait there until we transplant the block. The plant continues to send more roots through the soil block stopping when they reach the edge. We end up with a dense healthy root system that in not "root bound". (You may have encountered root bound plants at some time. These are roots that are wrapped and twirled around and around inside a plant pot.) When these plants in our soil blocks are large enough to transplant, they grow with gusto because the roots were poised and ready. The third photo is a single celery seed. Yes, that is one celery seed. They are so tiny... seeds really are miracles... growing into large and tasty plants from something that started so very small. The 4th photo is seeding the tray of soil blocks. Celery is a bit weird, as it needs light to germinate, most plants do not. So we just very lightly cover with soil and leave under the grow lights (5th photo). And celery is a very slow germinator- it can take 3 weeks to sprout. We are always on pins and needles hoping they sprout, because if they don't, it is too late to try again.  Celery takes a long time grow to maturity.

 

Watch Dennis harvest celery in Our Farm video tour.

We hope you enjoyed this Story of Your Food. If all goes well we should have celery ready for you late July! 

Regards, Our Farm Team     

Tags: Celery

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Organic Vegetables

Certified Organic by Pro-Cert

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