Cbi's Giving Tree Farm

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Happy New Year!

We had a great 2014, and hope you did, too.  We are already receiving boxes of seeds in the mail, anxiously awaiting the time to start planting them– won’t be long now.  Please email me at cbisgivingtreefarm at gmail.com if you are interested in becoming a CSA member.  Returning members will be able to join in a couple weeks, and I will open up enrollment to new members at the beginning of February.  Thanks so much for your support!

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Well there you have it

Another season gone by with very little blogging! We had a short, wet season, but are pretty pleased all in all. The warm weather crops appeared and disappeared with the blink of an eye, but our Spring and Fall crops have been pretty great. We will continue to be at the Allen St. market as it moves indoors on the 22nd, until December. If you are interested in next year’s CSA, please send an email to cbisgivingtreefarm at gmail.com and I will put you on the list. I send out information to prospective members in February. Thanks for your interest and support!

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First outdoor farmer’s market & Summer CSA pick-up next week!

We enjoyed a nice dry spring up until this week, which allowed us to get very nearly caught up from the late and harsh winter. As long as the forecast for next week stays sunny and dry we will be just fine. We have some tall tomatoes that are just itching to get into the ground!

We will be at the first outdoor Allen St. market on Wednesday from 2:30pm to 7pm, please come see us! We will have plenty of greens, as well as other homemade treats, like birdhouses, bathouses, and dried herbal teas. If you are a CSA member, it will be our first Summer pick-up. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Spring CSA is full!

I am trying not to worry as I compulsively check the ten day forecast, waiting to see some normal temperatures.  We have altered our early planting quite a bit, but I do still believe Spring will come and we will have plenty of leafy green things.  We’ve got lots of little baby plants sprouting up in the greenhouse, promising us warmer days filled with broccoli, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, pac choi, and more!  Our overwintered spinach in the hoop houses has really woken up this week, and with a couple more days of sunshine, we will be swimming in baby spinach.  We return to the Allen Street Market on Wednesdays, from 3-6:30pm on March 19th,  April 16th, if you are interested!

As an aside, if you are interested in some local meat, I’d like to advertise for our friends the Schneiders and Ham Sweet Farm.  The Schneiders have certified organic Belted Dutch cows and offer milk as well as many cuts of beef at great prices.  Please email me and I will connect you with them (cbisgivingtreefarm at gmail dot com).  Ham Sweet Farm are former CSA members that have started a small meat CSA, and they offer meat for sale as well: whole chickens, ducks, and pork.  Enjoy the tail end of this relentless winter!

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But what do you do in the Winter?


It’s a question we get all the time here at GTF.  My first winter I spent trying to figure out what the farm looked like underneath the blanket of snow– that was 2010-2011.  My second winter I was blown away by the warmth and lack of snow and we found ourselves two months ahead of schedule, working in tee shirts in March.  Last winter I realized how short this season really is, so this winter I am facing the facts: what do we do in the winter?  We work!  It’s not as physically hard, and I admit I wake up later and take off earlier and maybe I find myself cooking cinnamon rolls at 3pm around the holidays, instead of transplanting, but…. I’m finding that there are still many things to get done on a farm in the winter.

First off we are wrapping up 2013 paper work- everything gets recorded here: from the exact number of pounds of tomatoes harvested to the days we irrigated them to the contents of every CSA bag.  Once that is organized, I will move on to 2014- ordering seeds is first on the agenda as many varieties are in such high demand that they tend to sell out quickly.  Then I move on to marketing and accepting members for the CSA, making a farm plan- deciding what goes where and when and how much (no small task!), and ordering equipment.  Once the essential work is done, we will start getting to some of the “we’ll get to that next winter” tasks, like building more shelves in our harvest building, fixing all of the hose leaks, cleaning out the tool room, etc. etc. etc.  Winter could last 8 months and I think I could still find little projects around here.

One project I am excited about is building a seed germination chamber out of reused items.  I will be insulating a bakery rack, then  installing a hot water heater in an old buffet pan that will sit in the bottom of the rack.  This chamber will hold all of our seedlings at the perfect temperature and humidity until they sprout.  This also allows us to keep the greenhouse a bit cooler- instead of 60 degrees at night in March, we can keep it closer to 45, which will save quite a bit of propane I think.  More updates to follow!

Our clients continue to help in a variety of ways as well: bagging up dried herbal teas to sell at market, painting signs, constructing bird and bat houses, and fixing up a lot of our well-worn equipment, like seed block trays and pea trellises.

So that is what the dark days look like around GTF.  The 2014 season will start before we know it, I am sure; we start seeding our earliest onions and leeks in late January, only a month away!

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I don’t know what else to say

But if your blogging then you’re not farming.  It’s been a busy season here at GTF.  We are up to our eyeballs in tomatoes, harvesting nearly every day, and watching our fall crops get bigger and bigger.  We’ve already begun seeding in the hoop houses and getting ready for colder days ahead, though it still seems far off.  We are at Allen St. Market every Wednesday with veggies, flowers, and herbs, as well as Northwest Initiative’s Monday market at Saginaw and MLK.  Come visit us!  If you are interested in next year’s CSA, please just email me at cbisgivingtreefarm at gmail.com.  It may not be for a couple weeks, but I promise I will be in touch!  Thanks for your interest.


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