Seed Panting season.... check. Packet of seeds.... check. Water.... check... soil to plant them in check....
How come it is that I plant ALL these seeds and only half of them come up. Now I have to replant. How come it is that I have to thin all these seeds that do come up and just toss them to the animals? What a waste.
Enter soil boxes and soil blocking. No more wasted seed, no more wondering if they are going to come up or not. Join us on our YouTube channel this week to learn how to mix soil blocking mix to use in your soil blocking trays we made last week. Elliot Coleman style. Who is he you ask? He is THE Organic gardener who has this growing thing down pat. He grows year around in Maine and has been for years, he makes a great living growing things in the snow. And his secret? Getting those seeds a good start. Lets get planting!
Bachelor Buttons. Chamomile. Green Beans. Squash. Basil. Lots of Basil.
There is so much going on in our green house that I ran out of seed trays to start our garden seeds. Our garden space has been tilled and weeded by the chickens and is waiting the machine till to straighten it out before we start planting, amending and mulching. Gardening season is truly here and even more so this year down on our farm! We have started expanding the herbs that we grow so that we can bring you even fresher tea and more local tea than we have been the last three years.
You too can grow your own food and tea! We would love to help! This weeks video is on how to make your own seed planting trays. These guys save you on money for so many reason!
#1 They are reusable
#2 They old up better than the black plastic ones
#3 You use less seed because you don't have to thin out plants when you use this method.
Check out the video and we will have an additional one on how to do the soil blocking early next week. Have a fantastic weekend and keep on growing!
It's spring time down on the farm and that means the spring garden is in full swing. Learn how to trellis peas (or green beans) in a poly tunnel in this weeks video. What is tea time without a good spring salad that includes peas?!
Howdy there! We get lots of questions about our greenhouse/hoop house/ poly tunnel when it shows up in the background of pictures, videos and in conversations. So we thought this week that we would give you a tour of our poly tunnel. We grow all four seasons in our poly tunnel and the bulk of our veggies for our family of 6. Come watch us grow!
Last week we built a portable chicken coop and this week on our Farm Channel we are putting the chickens in their new area surrounded by electric poultry netting. They will till, fertilize and debug the space for our future tea garden. Check it out below!
In the Barnyard ...
Lots of lovin' on animals in the barnyard by littles.
Oh Tiny you are such a sweet lamb.
Daisy Dog a little too anxious to meet the animals in the barn yard.
We added 18 more layer chicks to the barn yard in hopes of replacing our current laying flock. We are adding three new breeds to the barn yard and we are looking forward to some deep dark chocolate eggs in the spring :)
Hi Roscoe, our barnyard mascot, still not the same without his Lucy Girl.
Big Boy is fattening up well and probably headed to the freezer soon. Its a blessing to be able to give them such a good life and to know where our food comes from and know it wasn't a feed lot.
Around the Farm ...
Bloom'n going on in the garden down on the farm!
God makes wonderfully beautiful plants, this is our tea harvest going into the dehydrator for our new Oregon Harvest Berry Tea, and Rose City Repose.
Beautiful roses from our single rose bush which hopefully will be graced with many more roses bushes this fall.
Harvesting our hop plants, such a wonderful blessing of a harvest this year!
The hops are big, bold and beautiful this year! Such an abundance!!!
September can be called harvest month for sure as we started hauling in the abundance from our crop garden. We missed a few zucchini but the chickens really didn't mind ;)
So many wonderful spaghetti squash will be entering our fall dishes so very soon.
We harvested giant red and yellow potatoes from our crop garden some of them weighing over 1 lb each!!
So much money saved by growing food in our yard... growing money in our yard ;)
About 55 lbs of potatoes from one small row of potatoes in our crop garden. Not enough to get us through the winter but a wonderful start and proof that they may be grown here in not even the best soil. We will be sure to add many more rows in our next planting of spring potatoes.
Building the Tea Studio...
If you have been following our farm you are already aware that we are adding on a tea studio to our farmhouse. It will give us a dedicated area to create the items in our farmstore. Currently every item is carefully handcrafted in our farm kitchen. We are very excited to be expanding our space!
Lots of dirt and lots of digging to get the foundation ready for the tea studio.
Building forms, this will be one sturdy foundation!
Helloooo cement truck! Time to pour! And this time it isn't tea ;)
Every good building starts with a solid foundation, how about this puppy?
The Farmer standing on our big wall... its starting to look like something now!
In the Greenhouse ...
Learning to work the new soil blocker and getting some winter plants started.
So happy to see our peppers start to fruit! Thank you St. Fiacre and Christ our Lord for answered prayers.
Working out in the greenhouse picking tomatoes with the toddler. She set them up just perfect for a little photo shoot. Time to put these puppies into the dehydrator for future sauce.
In the Farm Kitchen ...
Peaches from our local peach farm into the dehydrator and freezer for future treats.
Dehydrating aronia berries from Mt. Hope Farms for our Oregon Harvest Berry Tea. So yummy and unique!
Dinner from the garden including potato and zucchini fritters with farm fresh eggs, mini cantaloupe from the crop garden and cucumbers, tomatoes and basil from the garden.
Lunch time for our hard working construction grew! Hydrating Bloom'n Hibiscus tea and nourishing Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread... just the main ingredients for our lunch ;)
A busy day in the farm kitchen! Canning sugar free apple butter with apples we were blessed with, kombucha on its second ferment (elderberry, ginger, cardamom) and kefir fermenting.
Our tomatoes dehydrated, in their jar until its sauce making time! God's bounty is beautiful!
And the finished product, homemade tomato sauce with garden fresh dehydrated tomatoes served over a locally hand crafted pasta and on the side, a garden fresh salad!
In the Farm Store ...
Welcoming fall with our newest tea, Oregon Harvest Berry! Featuring four local Oregon farms: Blackberry leaves from our little farm, apples from Queener Farms, Aronia Berries from Mt. Hope Farms and blue Cornflowers from Floating Petals Confetti.
Its a beautiful applish berry tea, so Oregon and so harvest season! Check out more photos and the details of the tea over in our farm store. Welcome Oregon Harvest Berry!
Another Oregon blend on our list for the fall/winter season! Say hello to Coastal Cranberry Spice! Featuring Oregon grown cranberries along with hibiscus, cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger and more. Very reminiscent of a mulled wine with all the benefits of tea and alcohol free! Check Coastal Cranberry Spice out here in our farm store here.
Today's cool Oregon rainy day is making me wish for this lovely vibrant tea!
Three new gift sets have made their appearance in our farm store as well! Two new sets for men: one features 2 oz tins of our Cypress Deodorant and Beard Balm. The other features our tea and salve with smaller tins of salve. The third is a salve only set for new mothers/expectant mothers. Featuring three of our 2 oz salves: Farmer's Wife Nursing Salve, Baby Bum and Body Balm, and Belly Balm for growing and changing bellies. Check them all out in our farm store under the gift set section! And for being a devoted reader please make sure to take 10% off your order with coupon code THANKYOU2016!
Thanks for stopping by the farm!
Thanks for stopping by the farm! August proved to be a very busy month especially for harvesting. It seems that fall showed up early in Oregon this year and went from very green and growing and quickly changing to brown, blustery and falling leaves. We hope you enjoy your virtual visit!
In the Greenhouse ...
Our 100 ft hose dragged out to the greenhouse ready to water, good thing for the invention of the hose! The blue tarp is covering up our extra compost for seed starting, potato covering and other garden uses.
Kale, there is always kale in the greenhouse year around. It seems to do its best in the spring and the fall but its always there! Growing it close together allows for some tender baby kale that doesn't come with the typical kale texture that most people don't care for. It does sometimes breed bugs that way but we make sure we move our kale patch around the greenhouse and keep the dead leaves away. That seems to help a lot.
Basil is growing well and providing us with just the right amount and maybe some to freeze or dry.
Green beans and dill in the baby seed beds, looks like they are doing ok. The lettuce not so much! Ants seem to favorite our lettuce seed, good thing we have lots of kale I guess!
One side of the greenhouse sporting our sweet pepper plants, some tomatoes, beet seed growing tall while drying out and kale.
The other side has more tomatoes, basil, onions and more grass than should be in the garden beds. Green beans are growing tall down the middle of our 40 ft greenhouse.
Around the Farm ...
The hops are extra 'hoppy' this year taking over our Angelus bell. I think there is some homemade brewing in our near future.
The only pumpkin on our farm, this was a volunteer which grew a little bigger than a grapefruit. It is making a great fall decoration at the moment.
When it rains it slugs = welcome to Oregon! These lovelies show up in our greenhouse when it gets cooler. I think its time for some ducks since the chickens are picky. There is plenty of duck food here.
View of our crop garden, growing faster than the grass thankfully! The straw really helped with that even though the grass did come up eventually the plants got a good head start.
A day's harvest from the crop garden and our first tomato!
Spaghetti squash! This is the same squash just a few weeks apart, its huge! And about time to harvest...
17 some tomatillos plants later and we are officially tired of green sauce, salsa verde and all things tomatillo. There is about 14 quarts put up and more green sauce to make. The plants were about 4 feet tall until they fell over because of the weight of the fruit. Lets just say that if a zucchini plant will feed the world a tomatillo (two, because they have to have a friend) will feed all the planets in the universe :)
Another days harvest: zucchini, tomatillos, grape leaves, cucumbers and dill.
Quite the cucumber harvest, lots of fermented pickles on the way!
This zucchini grew right up the middle of the plant and was huge when I found it because it snuck in there. Those sneaky zucchini!
Harvest with the tiniest farmer and some beautiful morning glories!
Zucchini AGIAN.... 7.34 lbs. The health food store is charging $3 a pound for organic zucchini... thats 21 plus dollars right there... about every other day for the whole month. That is growing money in our yard ya'll! Plus those seeds can be saved and grow more next year... after we have zucchini amnesia.
Tomatillo, tomatillo, tomatillo! Time for some salsa verde. Oh and there is a mini cantaloupe, cucumber and squash and one tomato.
Happy fall ya'll! Its here whether my tomatoes are ready for it or not!
The sun is still out even if the leaves are turning brown...
Farmhouse Addition Updates...
In August we broke ground on our farmhouse addition. We will be adding a garage and some upstairs living space that will be a huge blessing to our family and growing business.
For now its a lot of dirt moving, dirt here, dirt there, dirt every where. And for those of you wondering, YES, my husband built the greenhouse and YES a tutorial is coming this winter :)
Like the big black greenhouse snake? Thats our drain or the leftover pipe from the drain.
In the Barnyard...
This month we introduced Miss Daisy Dog to the barn yard. She is an Australian Shepherd/Akedia/Lab mix.
She is a very energetic puppy... that pretty much says it all right. Jumping, running and chewing. With some training we hope she will be a beneficial working members n our little farm.
Feeding frenzy! Roscoe and the ladies cowing down.
We are sorry to have to report that we lost our Lucy goat this month. She had been unhealthy for some time having troubles digesting every few weeks. This time was the worst and we were not able to save her. Her collar hangs on the barn gate. Loss on the farm is hard but it teaches some life lessons which are very important. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
A week after we lost Miss Lucy Goat God blessed us with three new furry friends on the farm. Mama Cat had another batch of kittens.
In the Farm Kitchen ...
We were able to test some tea from a local and the only tea farm in Oregon this month. Minto Island Tea Company is the only tea farm in Oregon. It takes a reallllllly long time to grow a tea plant and then only a few leaves on each plant are usable so it takes quite a bit of tea plants to get a cup of tea. We hope some day to be able to add this lovely tea to our herbal blends.
Dinner grown on the farm, Zucchini 'parmesan' , pasta with garden tomato sauce and garden salad.
Preservation going on down in the farm kitchen.
Garden salad with kale, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, purple cabbage and our one lone tomato.
Our antique store find a fermenting crock made right in Portland, Oregon. Its over 100 years old. We still need to clean it up and test it for lead. It will either get used to ferment sauerkraut in this year or wait for next year.
Running the dehydrators outside during the hot days to keep the house cooler.
Celebrating the Feast of the Assumption with a special farm grown meal. Chicken from Bear Branch Farms, local potatoes and veggies from our garden.
Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Muffins and beautiful flowers from our yard. Find the recipe for the Zucchini Muffins here.
Summer meal on the table, local melon, zucchini from the garden and garden salad with more tomatoes, yay!
Celebrating the Feast of Saints Faith, Hope and Charity. Name days here on the farm are more special than birthdays! A pie in the shape of a cross for Faith, heart shaped watermelon for Charity and Three Sister Salad.
Another Feast Day at the end of the month, the Feast of St. Fiacre our farm's paton! We had a garden themed feast since he is the patron saint of gardeners and herbalists.
Since St. Fiacre is from Ireland we had some Irish fare! Colcannon (potatoes and kale from the garden) and a mix of sausage/bacon, potatoes and gravy! It was so good :) Fast well, feast well!
All from the garden accept for the pasta! Its so fun to see our meal all come from the farm. Its one more closer to growing all of our own food. Tomato and cucumber salad, Pesto pasta and a mini cantaloupe.
In the Farm Store...
We started packing our Sampler Single tea packages. They come with 1-2 servings of tea and a disposable tea bag. They will soon be available in our tea sampler package. Hopefully coming in October!
Still loving our Saturday's at the Salem Saturday Market! Its so fun to talk with our customers about tea and visit with the other vendors. There were some great violin players this weekend too.
We had so much fun putting this basket together for an auction at the Deepwood Estates in Salem, Oregon. Look for more of these gift baskets at our our winter events. They make perfect gifts for tea lovers, gardeners and mothers! Find our winter event list here.
Thanks for stopping by the farm!
Howdy from down on the farm! We are nearing the end of our series on Simple and Easy Skills to Make you Grocery Store Free. If you haven't joined us on the journey please find those previous posts below:
Week 1- Simple and Easy Ways to Make you Grocery Store Free Includes free menu plan and more)
Week 2- 7 Reasons for Eating Seasonably Down on the Farm
Week 3- Learn to Eat in Season and Love it! Includes menu planner, recipe cards and Seasonable Eats Chart
Week 4- Food Recalls Make you Sick and Tired: Best Ways to Gain Food Security Learn why eating locally is so great!
This week we are sharing 5 great reasons to grow your own food, the essence of this blog series. This is the most productive and best way to kick the grocery store to the curb!
#1 Saves a Load of Money
Gardening may be done where ever your live. If you are living in an apartment plants may be grown in pots inside and out (on a porch), quail may be raised in cages for eggs, fish in tanks for more food. If you have a small city lot, whether you are renting or buying, square foot gardens, raised garden beds and container gardens work great. If you are blessed with 1/2 acre, 1 acre or 40 acres you can grow some or all of your own food.
Gardening is a low cost investment. You may spend as little as a dollar or two on seeds and use the ground or container that you have or you can invest money into garden beds, compost and tools. Gardening can fit any budget. Just keep in mind that it is an investment, that means a little more up front than what you might spend at the grocery store initially.
You get way more from a packet of seeds than your money will get you in the grocery store. Lets take zucchini for instance. Our family, when we buy our produce, go for the organic, locally grown produce. At the moment zucchini is going for over $3 a lb at our local health food store. This year, I (and yes I'm taking the credit for this) planted 17 zucchini plants. Most gardeners jaws are dropping right now. One plant is said to feed the world. Hand raised high here.. yes I'm an over achiever and I couldn't part with those starts that came up. So to say the least we have our share of zucchini. I weighed a single days harvest last week and we had 7.5 lbs. x $3 a pound would have been $22.50. I think we paid for our $2 package of seeds, don't you? We get that harvest about every other day for the last month. Lets say thats about 112 lbs of zucchini, thats over $300 of food in one month. A savings wouldn't you say?! I know what you are thinking, how do you eat that much zucchini?! Check out our Zucchini Recipe post for ideas. But also make sure you plant some other seeds too! ;)
Cooking from scratch with whole foods cuts your food budget down. Now one more step, growing those whole foods, is going to make your food bill plummet.
Money isn't everything though, lets check out some other reasons to grow your own food.
#2 Better Health
Now that you are eating all those home grown whole foods your health will be better for it. What do you get from better health? More ability to do things around the home because of better health and more time in which to do those things. Time that was previously spent on taking care of your health. Better health means less doctors visits and less spent on healthcare. It means less time lost from work because of illness. It means less time spent with sick children. All of that is money in your pocket. Not to mention saying goodbye to any health problems that may have been diet related. Its amazing what food can do for our bodies when its the right type.
We get nutrients from the garden that we can't get at the store. There are so many microbes in the soil that get washed off and sanitized when it goes to the grocery store. When we grow our own food there is a freshness like no other and a plant picked at its peak is more nutritious than one that is picked when green and then shipped from thousands of miles away.
Fresh air is great for our health. After a long winter no doubt everyone is ready to get out and about. What better reason than to go out and work in the garden for a while. Its an excuse to get even more fresh air. In times past people use to spend much more time outside than we do in our modern culture.
#3 God's Gym
Nothing like a workout in God's Gym (aka the garden or yard or barnyard). Thanks to Justin at Abundant Permaculture for the term (Earth's Gym), though we added our own twist to it. There is nothing like using a pitchfork to turn hay or clean out barnyard stalls to get a good sweat going. Or digging up potatoes, pruning plants, climbing apple trees for apples, bending over to plant seeds or pull weeds. And guess what? Instead of paying for a gym membership, gym clothes or workout videos this exercise PAYS YOU - in food! See reason #1 for growing your own food. Each and every gardening tool will give you a new workout and probably find muscles for you that you didn't know you had.
Gardening increases the amount of fresh air going through your system and with this exercise you will leave your work feeling ready for the rest of your day. It just clears up the mind and makes thinking much easier!
Gardening is also a wonderful workout for children, who are usually most willing to help any how! In reading about ADHD, autism and other details about the spectrum of learning issues, many of the therapies are simulating things that children would naturally do on a farm. Such as balancing on a balance beam vs a log to improve balance and body awareness. Pushing and pulling heavy carts of books to expend energy. It leaves me wondering..... if we returned to our farming roots would the numbers of children with ADHD, autism and learning disabilities decrease dramatically?
Sometimes it seems that we have lost so much education in our modern age. Sure we can google this and that when ever we have a question. But is that really knowledge? Or just being resourceful? When one grows their own garden they learn all sorts of things about the seasons, season changes, weather patterns, when to plant, when to wait, when to harvest, how to harvest.
Instead of learning about plant parts in elementary school gardeners learn them by growing the plant. Learning what part of the plant is good to eat, which part is not, how to use the plant, how to save seeds. Reading about the plant parts is one thing but working with them, growing them, cooking with them, is a whole new education that just doesn't come out of a book. It also sticks in the memory a lot better.
Gardening also teaches us about cooking and preserving. Knowing the characteristics of a plant and what kind of weather it likes or doesn't and how much water it needs, tells us about preserving that plant for future use. Do we want to ferment that plant, dehydrate it, can it, cook it, eat it raw, save it for winter or eat it now because it doesn't store so well?
We learn about budgeting too because we have to know how much our family eats of which vegetable, how long that harvest will last us until the next harvest, what to eat if it doesn't last. How much money it will save us to grow it or if it isn't worth our time and effort and we should plant something else.
It also teaches us about life and death. All things must come to an end and that is true with every garden. We are excited to start the seed in the ground and be God's help in watering the plant and pulling away the weeds. We watch it grow bigger, bigger, bigger until it reaches full maturity and fruits. Then we take our harvest from the plant. And then... the plant dies. Perhaps it will come back next year or maybe we just saved the seed. The off-spring of the plant which will live on the next year. Gardening can teach so many lessons.
Life and death are just one spiritual lesson that gardening teaches us. Our first beginnings were in a garden with Adam and Eve, an apple tree and a serpent. Our Savior was buried in a garden after His Crucifixion. At Easter we celebrate the Divine Gardner who rose from the dead. The entire old testament is filled with so many parables about the garden and raising one's own food. It was a way of life back then to have to work and garden for ones substance. While food is still necessary for us we have lost our connection with it through the use of the grocery store and mass production.
And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done.  And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1:11-12
Weeds can be a symbol for sin and vice in the world. When we pull that grass away from that squash or cucumber we are saving that wanted plant from another unwanted plant that will take away its nourishment. Sin is so much the same way. It sucks away the nutrients that we need, God's grace. Good microbes and earth worms are like God's gifts, they are God's gifts! They help the soil become rich and healthful to the growing plant.
The garden is a wonderful place to meditate on God's gifts and His teachings. Its a great stress relief and way to relax.
Alright, how do I grow my own food? If you have come this far with us in the blog series you learned that the best way to get started it to buy what you might grow and learn how to cook with that and menu plan around it. In our next post we will talk about how to get started with gardening. We hope that you will join us. The best way to keep up with our new posts is to join our e-newsletter (by the way you get a free cup of tea to boot!). You can do that here! Want to see what we are un to daily? We tend to favorite Instagram so if you aren't following us there then hop on over to our page and start following! Also keep up with both blog posts and Instagram goodness on our Facebook page.
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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