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 28, 2010

Our first harvest day of the spring CSA has been busy and windy. Once again we have to thank the volunteers for getting that inflated double layer of plastic on the greenhouse -- we are getting gusts of 60+ mph today but the high tunnels are holding steady! Through the wind we've been picking, washing, and bagging goodies all morning for the CSA pickup t0morrow. The share this week will consist of your choice of greens (choose from kale, chard, spinach, arugula, and perpetual spinach), root vegetables (choose from scallions, radishes, parsnips, green garlic, and leeks), asian greens (choose from Chinese cabbage, bok choi, mizuna, and tatsoi), and herbs (choose from oregano, thyme, rosemary, lemongrass, sage, and marjoram).

Don't forget to bring a bag or two to take it all home! The share also contains a great salad mix including mustard greens, pea shoots, vitamin greens, arugula, minuta, cress, mixed lettuces, and baby greens of spinach, kale, chard, and beet greens.

We'll also have some of our eggs for sale for $4.50 per dozen. Our chickens are fed only non-GMO feed along with plenty of weeds, vegetable scraps, and grubs from the gardens. This highly varied diet gives their eggs the bright orange yolks and great flavor that are often lacking in eggs from the supermarket. The turkeys get all that plus an extra treat -- since turkeys don't scratch up the soil, as chickens do, they are allowed to roam in the garden during the day and eat as many grasshoppers as they can catch! Grasshoppers are chewing holes in the greens, so we appreciate the turkeys helping us to keep down the pest population. Our other form of grasshopper control is to set out dishes of NoLo Bait near where the grasshopper damage is the worst.

NoLo bait is not harmful to humans or any animals other than those in the grasshopper and locust family. It's not a poison, so it takes time for the grasshopper population to dwindle, because it works by infecting grasshoppers with a spore that will only grow inside the grasshopper's body, decreasing its appetite and eventually killing it. The spore is transmitted between grasshoppers and eventually takes hold of the population enough to keep the damage down.

Our other main pest problem right now are the flea beetles snacking on the smallest and most tender leaves in the greenhouse. We are addressing this problem by mixing flour and cayenne pepper and sprinkling it lightly on the greens.

The flour deters the beetles from eating the leaves since it gums up their mouths when they take a bite, and the cayenne gives it a kick to make it even more unpleasant for them. Hopefully they will get tired of it and leave our tatsoi alone. We do rinse the greens twice after harvesting, but you may see a small amount of flour left on some of the arugula and salad greens. Don't worry! It is perfectly edible, though you may want to give the greens an extra rinse if you are unable to eat wheat.

Belle's second baby finally got her name -- Blue and Creme are our two newest dairy goats! We hope you will come say hello to them at the Crop Mob this Saturday. Please get in touch with John if you are interested in coming. There will be good food and some good hard work! Hope to see you there,


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Calling all locavores, foodies, wanna-be farmers, csa members, sustainability activists, local community members, local community builders, and food activists to the first...
Western Colorado Crop Mob!

While not everyone can start their own farm this is a way to become an active participant in the local food movement. Some people may decide to plant a garden, others will buy organic, or shop at the farmers market, but if you want to be more involved this is your chance.

What is a crop mob?

A crop mob is a group of people that descend on a local farm and knock out large projects while, at the same time, meeting others interested in local food and ultimately having a good time. My friend Stu calls it an "old fashioned Amish Barn-Raising but without the barn" - though we're not ruling out a future actual barn raising. We are forming a loose group of mobbers, there is no commitment involved, just come when you can and be ready to get your hands dirty. Join the group by sending me an email or becoming a member of the Western Colorado Crop Mob facebook group http://www.facebook.com/?sk=2361831622#!/group.php?gid=114351791921970&ref=ts.
These are the tenants of a crop mob:
No money is exchanged..
Work is done on small-scale, sustainable farms and gardens.
A meal is shared, often provided by the host.
This is not a charity. We crop mob for crop mobbers

This is not my idea, it is happening elsewhere in the country- check out cropmob.org or a ny times article about it at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/magazine/28food-t-000.html

So now the gritty details on the first crop mob.

May 1st
Buckhorn Gardens
Buckhorn rd.
Bed Digging Party
Lunch will be provided, please rsvp at jon.clayshulte@gmail.com

Hope to see you there


Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Spring!

We've woken up to snow on the ground for the last few days, but spring is still here on the farm -- and with it, spring projects! A huge thank you to everyone who came out to help with doubling the plastic on the greenhouses. With the help of many friends and community members, we were able to add a second layer of plastic to the two high tunnels (not a small feat in the high wind!). Inflating the space between the two layers with a small pocket of air helps slow down wear and tear on the greenhouse and will keep our high tunnels in good shape for years to come. The air pocket also helps insulate the greenhouse further, elevating the minimum winter temperature an additional four degrees. Those four degrees will protect the crops and extend the growing season, which will pay off in the winter and spring CSA boxes! We couldn't have done it without all our wonderful volunteers and neighbors, and we are so grateful for your help!

Springtime is full of babies, and we have got a ton. Baby chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese are living under heat lamps inside the dome, and are being transitioned to a heated chicken tractor outside as they grow feathers. In addition to their chick feed they also get snacks of pond weed, weeds, and grubs from the garden -- it is amazing how quickly they grow! We also have four baby goats this year. Belle, the herd matriarch, had two baby girls who we will be keeping as milkers for next year. Her older daughter is named Chevre, so we'd like to name these two girls after cheeses, too. The black and white doe is going to be called Blue, but we're still trying to think of another good cheese name for the white doe. Any suggestions?

With a full barn, we've got a full intern house to match. Jinelle has returned to pass on her knowledge to the new interns, and John is also back to take on new projects. The new interns are Alyssa (the new blogger! Hello!), and Evan, whose culinary degree will come in handy as he contributes recipes and cooking hints to this blog in the coming weeks.

We interns (and Breigh, of course!) have been working to dig out the outside beds and prep them for planting. So far we've got onion, leeks, shallots, spinach, and peas planted outside, and are hoping to get in broccoli and cabbage soon. In the meantime, our high tunnels are bursting with greens, so look forward to your first CSA box of the spring next week!