Farm Update | 12 chicks + 50 fish + 1 dog | Dutch Bucket | Microgreens

It’s been an exciting and eventful week!

We have our first chickens ever!  Picked up six Rhode Island Reds and six Ameraucana 2-week old chicks in Wildwood, FL on Thursday on our way back home from Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC this past weekend It was a traveling zoo after we picked up the next 50 Red Nile Tilapia fingerling in Clearwater, FL. Then it was the 12 chicks, 50 fish, and our 19-year old Jack Russell Terrier crammed in amongst the farm goodies and camping supplies for the last couple hundred miles. Not to mention, duckweed, 10 strawberry starts and a raspberry plant. 🙂


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A big shout out to our neighbor – Denny – for watching after the farm in our absence! THANK YOU Denny!  Everything is growing great!

Can’t believe we have cucumber blossoms a week after transplanting!

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And a big Thank You to Rob for uncovering the sunflower microgreens!

It’s HARVEST TIME!!

If you are interested in buying any of our wheat grass and/or microgreens,                     please pre-order at our online square marketplace.

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Farm Update | Sunflower Microgreens | DIY Dutch Bucket system build

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We have Sunflower Microgreens! Yummy!  Our microgreens are available for sale online as a pre-order for those in Lee, Charlotte and/or Collier counties at our square marketplace. Several other varieties are available as well, such as kale, radish, broccoli, pea shoots, and wheat grass for juicing! We offer farm pick up for the online pre-orders on Wednesdays from 4pm – 7pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Contact us if you need delivery or large quantities.

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In our greenhouse whole organic sunflower seeds are planted in a soilless mixture and grown for 7 days until they become baby plants, also referred to as microgreens. These  microgreens provide us with incredible health benefits and are delicious eaten as snacks on their own or can transform even the most ordinary of salads, sandwiches or wraps into a presentation that is equally impressive and nourishing. Simply put, sunflower microgreens are one of the best foods you can add to your diet for overall health and well being.

Unfortunately, like all microgreens, it is virtually impossible to find them fresh on the market. This is why we have set up a system that allows you to pre-order your sunflower microgreens to receive them the very same day that they are harvested.

Health Benefits:

  • Sunflower greens are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins A, B complex, D, and E; they also contain minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
  • They are a perfect source of complete protein. In fact, they are considered to be the most balanced of all of the sources of essential amino acids. Protein is well-known for its ability to repair muscle tissue and aid in enzymatic functions in the body.
  • Sunflower microgreens may activate every cell in the immune system.
  • They are high in B vitamins, especially folate. Folate (or folic acid) is a necessary B vitamin for pregnant women. Folate helps to protect babies from developing neural tube defects (NTDs). The combination of B vitamins also assists in the mother’s circulation as well as aids in stress relief. In fact, sunflower microgreens are rich in all of the nutrients that are important during pregnancy such as iron, calcium, essential fats, and folate.
  • Sunflower microgreens are a rich source of lecithin, which helps break down fatty acids into an easily digestible water soluble form.
  • They are rich in chlorophyll, which benefits many functions within the body, including building blood supply, revitalizing tissue, calming inflammation, activating enzymes, and deodorizing the body.
  • Sunflower microgreen is a natural expectorant for chest congestion: In Ayurvedic medicine, these greens are thought to have the ability to encourage clearance of the lungs. Natural expectorants may also be used as a preventative measure against lower respiratory infections to deter the invasion of pathogens.
  • They may boost your antioxidant capacity since these sunflower microgreens contain high amounts of vitamin E. Vitamin E works synergistically with vitamin C and selenium to reduce blood pressure, increase the elasticity of arteries and prevent heart disease.
  • Sunflower microgreens may build the skeletal, muscular, and neurological systems.
  • They may boost your fertility since they contain high amounts of zinc. Zinc is a well-researched mineral that is essential for the development of sperm.
  • Sunflower microgreens are low in calories and high in nutrition, making them ideal for any natural and healthy fat loss program

DIY Dutch Bucket System for Aquaponics

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Our dutch bucket system is based on the one in this YouTube video by mhpgardner with some improvements to make it work in our aquaponics system. Make sure if you are using recycled buckets that they are food grade or had something food grade stored in them. We planted ours with field peas and cucumbers. Let’s see how they do.

Farm Update| Tomato Seed Saving Tips | Aphid IPM | Parking Lot

Saving tomato seeds from the Roma and Grape tomatoes from our aquaponics system! Seeds that we save from our farm can be purchased online at our square marketplace.

HINT: Don’t use a flat paper towel, like Viva. The seeds will not come off. Use a textured paper towel or a dish cloth for easier removal. Or ferment your seeds in a jar of water for a few days and rinse, then dry. Make sure they are completely dry before storing and use a food grade desiccant. 

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Cuttings for propagation from the leftover tomatoes from October’s grafting class.

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Ugh….Aphids in the cilantro!  For small infestations like ours, simply spraying the plants thoroughly with a strong water jet would sufficient protection. But we are going to make today removal day before they spread to other crops in the greenhouse. Other integrated pest management options would include  predatory ladybirdshoverfly larvae, parasitic waspsaphid midge larvaecrab spiderslacewings and entomopathogenic fungi like Lecanicillium lecanii and the Entomophthorales.

Or neem oil would be another option. Neem is a key ingredient in non-pesticidal management (NPM), providing a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. Neem seeds are ground into a powder that is soaked overnight in water and sprayed onto the crop. To be effective, it is necessary to apply repeatedly, at least every ten days. Neem does not directly kill insects on the crop. It acts as an anti-feedant, repellent, and egg-laying deterrent, protecting the crop from damage. The insects starve and die within a few days. Neem also suppresses the hatching of pest insects from their eggs. 

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Parking Lot is being demarcated with some recycled electrical poles and recycled dock pilings with caps!

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This week the last of the micro green system is the 150 gallon tank and the automatic timer….installed!  Time to start seeding!

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Farm Update | Tomatoes and Water Testing

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Tomatoes are growing well. A few large Roma and some grape tomatoes starting to ripen. Lots more flowers, so more to come!!IMG_4283

 

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Water testing for pH, Ammonia, Nitrites (already gone) and Nitrates (already present). This is the easy part…system has cycled. No nitrites left. Yipee! Time for fish!

One of our aquaponic friends, Rob Torcellini of Bigelow Brook Farm in Connecticut, has a great video on water testing for aquaponics. Check it out! As he notes in the video, you should use the caps and not your finger when mixing your test tube contents. He built a really cool solar geodesic dome too.

Farm update | Seeds, seeds and tomato update

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Organic seeds were planted in our float trays using blend of coconut coir, vermiculite and earthworm castings. We make the mix ourselves, so we can be sure what is in it.

We use organic seeds to make sure we don’t have any that are GMO (genetically modified organisms). GMOs are in large part the reason our family farm was born. We are truly disheartened that 70-80% of the foods in grocery stores today is contain GMOs.  To learn more about GMOs, you can start here. Then simply google monsanto or gmo and you’ll find more information that you never wanted to know about how the government is involved, along with big biotech and big Ag. Ah, but then maybe you will start your own organic farm and we can all start to make a difference together! Even if you decide that you don’t want to grow your own food, then PLEASE vote with your grocery dollars by supporting the small local family farms and take the time to know your farmer….

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Tomatoes are blooming and starting to fruit…these were transplanted from the grafting class back in October. They had a rough start, but are coming along quite nicely.IMG_4223

Florida Farm to School Week

We are very excited to be invited to participate in Florida Farm to School week and engaged with approximately 144 second graders at Gulf Elementary PLC in Cape Coral.  Bring on Farmer Tim and the sunflower microgreens!

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Florida Farm to School Week 2013 – Bring a Farmer to School Day

IMG_4163 The Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness is working diligently to connect Florida’s farmers and schools together to increase access to healthy foods and support our local economy. A new component of their Farm to School Program is Florida Farm to School Week, which occurs November 18-22, 2013. This week is reserved to celebrate Florida’s amazing bounty of fresh crops. Florida Farm to School Week is a great opportunity for us to talk to our students about agriculture, nutrition and economics.What is a better way to teach children about the food they eat than by the people who grow it?

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Tomato Grafting update | 4 weeks

Growing and growing and growing…

IMG_6319IMG_6321We found that the tomatoes with the pink clips (below left) all grafted perfectly….all those with the clear style (below right) failed. They were not tight enough for the growth. Those where we could change clips, we did; but most were rooting above the graft, so we simply replanted in the same potsTomatoGrafting 4 weeks - 6

The Farm Revolution! | Brooksville, FL

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The Farm Revolution took place once again at Green Acre Organics in Brooksville, FL. The whole gang was there: Gina Caveliero, Tonya Pennick, JD Sawyer, Sylvia Bernstein and Dr Sarah Taber. To our delight, Chris Schup was there as well doing some photo documentation. We were privileged enough to be able to attend a hands-on session and Sarah’s talk on plant care and pollination, insect and disease control and integrated pest management. We are graduates of the Green Acres Commercial Course and were excited to be back for a quick visit. The next Farm Revolution will be in February in Denver Colorado. Join them if you can.

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Visit Herban Farms | N Ft Myers, FL

We had the pleasure of meeting with Ken Ryan of Herban Farms. A grower with an upscale market that grows entirely in containers and in a very small footprint successfully.

His secret is his soil and his philosophy to “do one thing and do it well”. His garnish quality microgreens and herbs are a sought after product in the local restaurant world.