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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greetings from Buckhorn Gardens! August is moving right along and so are our projects. We spent the last week getting transplants of spinach, kale, chard, and scallions into the dirt. We continued preparing beds for the planting of more fall crops and spent plenty of time chasing the turkeys out of the lettuce beds. Progress is also being made on the construction of our new storage sheds.

This week, as promised, the rest of our blog will be devoted to helping you determine which varieties of fruit and veggies you selected at the CSA pick-up or at the market. We'll be identifying tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and melons.

In the first image we have three varieties of our largest, knobbiest tomatoes. From left to right, you're seeing a Goldie, a Soldacki, and an Italian Heirloom. From left to right in the second image, we have an Abrason, a Black Grim, a Green Zebra, and a Tigerella.

Next we have several varieties of cucumbers. The large pale green cucumber, a close relative of the Honey Dew melon, is called an Armanian cucumber, and this is actually a small example of one such fruit. We grow these up to two and a half feet! Don't be shy about them, give one a try sometime and make yourself an epic cucumber salad. The long dark green cucumber in the image is called a Japanese Long. The shorter light green one is a Poona Kheera, which is an heirloom variety originally cultivated in India. Both of the latter are characterized as crisp, sweet, and mild.

Next we have a couple of rounds of squash and zucchini. The yellow team consists of Saffron, Zephyr, and Lemon squashes, from top to bottom. The green team consists of the little round White Scallop Patty Pan on the far left, and Sultan, Raven, and Cocozelli from top to bottom. Note the nutty flavor of the Zephyr squash. The Saffron is an open pollenated variety. The White Scallop is a very ancient Native American heirloom squash grown by northern tribes for hundreds of years and is very tasty fried or baked. Don't forget that if your squash has darker skin it is better for your health because darker skins contain higher levels of antioxidants!

In our last ID category, we're addressing some of the tasty heirloom melons you may have selected at the CSA pick up or at market. From left to right you're seeing a Kansas, a Charentais, and a Cochiti Pueblo. The Cochiti Pueblo is an ancient variety of melons originally cultivated by the Native Americans whose name they share outside of Santa Fe. These and the Kansas, which is a rare variety, are similar to what you'd think of as a cantaloupe. The Charentais (pronounced "share-on-TAY"), a sweet, firm French melon, is slightly more fragrant and toothsome.

That does it for our produce ID! Be sure to let us know if there is another type of fruit or veggie you'd like some help identifying. Keep an eye out of recipes and more pictures in the weeks to come. Take care!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I am pleased to announce an end to the Buckhorn Blog hiatus! My name is Alison, I'm from Seattle, and I'm the newest intern here at Buckhorn Gardens. I've been here for about two weeks and have loved every minute of it. Now for all the summer updates!

Summer has just truly begun in our neck of the woods. We are finally harvesting tomatoes; today we picked 72 pounds! Summer squash and cucumbers are also booming right now. We have two types of reasonably-sized cucumbers, one for slicing and one for pickling, and one type of unreasonably-sized cucumber, the Armenian, which some of you have ventured to try at your CSA pick up or at the market. Our hot peppers are heating up as well, some choice varieties being Beaver Dam (light green and short), Anaheim (light green and long), and Jalapeno (dark green and short). Next week we will be posting pictures of all our different types of tomatoes and squash, to help you identify what you picked up at CSA or market.

Last week we pulled up the entirety of our garlic crop and it is currently drying in the goat barn. You had the opportunity to pick up some of our varieties last week at CSA and market, such as Red Russian and Purple Crystal. This week we weeded and mulched the former garlic beds to prepare them for a cover crop of Buckwheat, which will help improve the soil for the next crop we decide to plant.

Speaking of seeding, we planted several autumn crops this week that you can start looking forward to, including broccoli, cabbage, spinach, Asian greens, beets, and radishes. And maybe it's a bit too early to start talking about this, but don't forget to consider becoming a member of our potential Winter CSA. We intend on featuring one or two bags of greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard per week, as well as garlic and an onion and winter squash option. Don't hesitate to talk to any of us about this possibility, as we'd like to gauge the level of interest amongst our current members before setting anything in stone.

Farm projects have, of course, carried on throughout the summer. We just finished installing a walk-in cooler which greatly expedites the process of packing to go to market on Friday and Saturday mornings. We are now gearing up for the construction of the third hoop house, which has yet to be named. Any suggestions?

Thanks for checking in with us even after such a long break. We'll get some pictures up next week. See you this weekend!