Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700' elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. Our farm is an active part of a 12,000 acre ranch; however, we only manage 3 acres with intensive vegetable gardening.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Well folks, this is where it all begins, fresh vegetables from our farm to your kitchen (and stomach) for the next 28 weeks! Today we were busy harvesting greens, lots of them over 40#, all hand picked! All of our greens are "rinsed" twice and then bagged. Tomorrow you will have to choose from three different kinds of spinach, two different kinds of kale, swiss chard, perpetual spinach, mustard greens, bok choi, tatsoi, mizuna, chinese cabbage, head lettuce, parsnips, green garlic, leeks, scallions, sprouts and numerous kinds of herbs.

The spinach types are Tyee, a crinkled type hybrid from Johnny Seed company. We like growing this type because of its holding ability (not bolting) when it gets hot. The second variety is a Italian heirloom called Merlo Nero from our favorite seed company Baker Creek. Merlo Nero, also a savoy type was chosen to be grown here on the farm because its from Italy and those Italians know good vegetables! Monnopa is the third type, it is from Seed Savers Exchange and is my favorite spinach. It's supper sweet, high in vitamin A, C and E and low in oxalic acid. Low acid improves the absorption of calcium and other minerals. We also have some great kale choices like Toscano and Red Russian. Personal I like the Red Russian more because I think it is sweeter, however Toscano seems to be very popular at markets. The reason may be because of the appearance of Toscano which has bumpy looking leaves, hence its other name "Dinosaur Kale"! Make sure you try some Gator Perpetual Spinach in the next few weeks too. I have to say this is wonderful. It is similar to swiss chard in appearance, but tastes more like spinach that just melts in your mouth. If your feeling like something more spicy, then check out the mustard greens. With all these greens we like to saute them in the morning (with herbs of course) and eat them with eggs topped with sprouts.

Enjoy your first week of fresh veggies!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thousands of leeks and onions later....there all planted. This is just one of the many projects we are working on, now that spring has arrived at 6,700 feet! Before we plant, first we prepare the beds. We weed, add compost, rake and level out the bed and lay out the drip irrigation. Sounds quick but sometimes the weeds take over and we end up spending a lot of time weeding. We always add mulch after we transplant or seed and give the plants a good drink. Even though it's just spring, the sun will drain our soil of all the moisture.

Darren has been busy in the orchard. Here he is spraying a dormant oil on the trees. It is used to protect the trees from fungus, insects and other diseases. The fruit trees were pruned about two weeks ago. Its does not take us long because they are still young and small. We have also spent time weeding the base of the fruit trees and will soon fertilize them.

Our really big project this spring has been putting up another high tunnel. It has taken us a while because the weather has not been cooperating and planting is the main priority. We are close to being finished and are now waiting for a windless day to put the plastic on. The interns helped us dig out the beds last Friday and today we finished up with adding the amendments. I think we all need a trip to Orvis to soak our sore muscles.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just when you think, oh we can plant outside, sure enough more snow. Actually 8 inches! This was the dome on Saturday evening. However, by Sunday afternoon all the snow was gone. Now we are left with mud mania. The dogs, our boots, our pants and even my hair...MUD! All we need now is good day of Colorado sun.

While it was snowing out, we released some more
lady bugs. We use many different insect predators, but lady bugs seem to work the best. They are also entertaining to release because they end up crawling all over you. We order about 70,000 lady bugs and release some every week spread out over about 6 weeks. They are stored in the refrigerator where they stay dormant. The lady bugs are thirsty when they wake up so we release them after we water. They eat aphids, our most persistent bug problem in the green houses. We also grow flowers like alyssum because they feed on the nectar. Its always exciting after a few weeks when you start seeing the lady bug larvae (a.k.a. prehistoric alligator bugs). They actually eat more aphids then the adults.

Buckhorn would like to welcome Jesse Jacobson, our second intern to arrive for the season. He is a returning intern like Miss Kubly and is also from Wisconsin. He is planning to stay for the whole season, maybe we can convince him to become a farmer one day. If you are out here on the farm please give him a warm welcoming.