Spring is finally upon us – I was beginning to think it would never come. The Dutch Iris, daffodils, narcissus, and now the beautiful dogwoods are blooming with such intensity this year. Our gardens really love the longer days and warmer temperatures. I just wanted to write a little about our first market of 2014. Our new CSA members are in for a real treat. We open Saturday, April 26th at 8:00am and run till 1:00pm at The Fatt Apple and behind the Lindale Community Theater. We will set up next to the actors’ stage door and on the concrete loading dock behind the theater. There is plenty of parking back there and we won’t have to unload the trucks. We will also be inside Darla’s Fatt Apple right there on Main Street across from The Pink Pistol. You CSA members will be able to pick up your totes or let me know if you want to get them early. Just email, call or post on Facebook with your wishes.  We will also be set up on Tuesdays beginning April 29th at Denise’s Pavilion in Mt Sylvan. Most of you remember where her wonderful Mt Sylvan Coffee House is. We have maps of both Saturday and Tuesday locations available on the Market page of our website. Our wish is to run through the end of September and perhaps beyond with offerings of fall produce, ornamentals, and canned goods, . We have planted some beautiful gourds, broom corn and lots of flowers that dry well. Of course we will have my pickles and jams & jellies, too.

Now, back to information about the first market. Most of you gardeners know that everything is not ready all at once! In other words, we won’t have watermelons, tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra, etc. right away. We will have, however, lettuce, radishes, asparagus, green onions, spinach, basil, and greens. In a few weeks we will add kale, cilantro, and baby elephant garlic, among others. The blackberries & strawberries are blooming and starting to set fruit now, and should be ready mid-May. We should have cut flowers hopefully starting the end of May. The “Icemageddon” cold front from a couple of months ago managed to set back a lot of produce and we have some farmer friends who lost thousands of seedlings to the extreme cold. Tyler has seeded some interesting plants he brought back from our Japan trip. He might even share!

Terry thinks we may have gone overboard with the variety of plants we are growing this season. Tyler and I just want to make sure we have enough diversity as well as quantity of this beautiful produce. Most of the varieties we grow are heirlooms and don’t ship well. That’s the beauty of buying locally; you won’t find our now famous heirloom watermelon, “Orangeglo” in any grocery store! The ground cherry is a new item for me. Tyler grew them at Mountain Dell Farm last year and I am pleased that they are doing so well. The plants are getting bushy and are about 6” tall.

Terry plowed up more pasture and we have a new “red gizmo” to help us with the irrigation and plastic mulch. It’s really fun to plan, plant, and care for and enjoy the new gardens. One thing I did this morning (was really hard) was to thin the purple top turnips. I’ve always had a real problem thinning the baby plants for correct spacing. It’s a Mother Earth thing, I guess! The babies are so small and they really were crowded. I ate as many as I could, and then just made little piles of the seedlings to dry in the wind and sun. The process kinda reminded me of cutting down the giant bamboo invading the terraces at the farm in Japan. The boys used chain saws to cut them down, and then burned them! They were 50-65’ tall and 8” across. HUGE.

Speaking of bamboo, we have friends who have it invading their property and said we could cut as much bamboo as we needed. We will be using it for stakes for the tomatoes, climbing beans, cucumbers and a trellis for winter squash and gourds. Terry, Tyler, and I worked for about an hour and filled the 20’ flatbed trailer. As I type, they are out back cutting it into stake lengths. It’s fun to dream up creative uses for the bamboo. In Japan they made brooms from the side branches and smaller pieces. We saw the bamboo brooms everywhere. Even the street crews and construction crews had several bamboo brooms on their work trucks! I’ll keep you posted on how ours turn out.

Our first market opens the same weekend that our Lindale Community Theater opens with the funny comedy “Dearly Beloved”. So come see the show opening night (Friday April 25) when Darla at the Fatt Apple will be catering the Opening Night Gala. Then on Saturday morning, come back for Beth’s Little Farm Market! We will have the produce I mentioned earlier as well as T-shirts and shopping bags with our logo on them. The shirts are $20 and the forest green bags are $2.

Thank you so very much for your support and I wish you all good health, good food, and good times!
 

    Authors

    Tyler Cullender is a young farmer with a passion for growing delicious food using sustainable and healthful farming practices. With a PhD in microbiology and past internships at organic farms in New York and Japan, his current goal is to share the bounty at Beth's Little Farm Market with the Lindale community.

    Beth Walker absolutely loves growing anything. She looks forward to the Spring with a childlike enthusiasm and she can't wait for the reemergence of perennials and bulbs, like friends reuniting after a shower.  Beth loves her family, gardening, yoga, creativity, the theater, the color red and anything blooming. Her hair is now gray, and everything else changes without notice.

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