Monday, October 22, 2012

it's fall!

 It's fall.. and beginning to feel like winter. It's all happening so fast! While it seems that the farming season is coming to a close and rest is on its way, there is quite the flurry of activity happening at Blue House Greenhouse Farm to get ready.

We had our last farm stand of the year this past Tuesday which concluded a great season! I'm super thankful to the great volunteers that help with the harvest: cutting, picking, washing, scrubbing, bunching, bagging, listening to NPR, and wondering if we'll get it all done in time. There is absolutely no way I could get it done without them! I am also thankful to all of you who come to the farm stand- I've really enjoyed getting to know the folks that live and work nearby! It's funny to think back to the start of the farm stand. It began almost as an afterthought: I had more vegetables than I could sell to restaurants so why not try to sell just off the farm? It's grown quite a bit in two years, in fact we sell more through the farm stand than to restaurants! And it's definitely one of my favorite things about the farm! 

In other news, last weekend Blue House Greenhouse Farm participated in its very first bit of catering. A huge thank you to Quinn for helping with the cooking! We harvested, prepared, and served lunch to participants of a the "Joy of Mindful Eating" workshop put on by Caverly Morgan of One House of Peace. I was also able to participate in the all day workshop which was very informative as a person who spends the majority of her day thinking about food! What did we make, you might ask? A roasted tomato and cilantro soup, zucchini corn bread muffins, a chard-onion- lemon squash fritatta, a raw kale salad, a farro-tepary bean-parsley salad, and for dessert- a flourless chocolate cake. We were pretty proud of the outcome! Stay tuned for other catering opportunities that come up for Blue House Greenhouse Farm.

On the farm we are getting the farm ready for winter. Last Thursday Adam, the star volunteer of the farm, and I hand dug five 2.5ft x 70ft beds. It was amazing. I don't think I've ever been so sore. On Friday Jeff and I chopped in amendments and planted a fava bean cover crop. We continue the bed prep this week to plant a crimson clover cover crop and GARLIC! It's always an exciting time.  Check back soon for more updates on the farm, maybe I'll even write more often!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

...and summer continues!

green zebra, jaune flamme, and striped roman tomatoes

It's a funny thing about writing a blog: the more time you let pass since your last post, the more stuff happens, and the harder it is to write a new post! I decided to just go for it. Blue House Greenhouse Farm is doing great! Let's try to fill in with what's been happening the past month and a half. 

As I mentioned in the last post, with help from my dad, we harvested and hung all the garlic. Two to three weeks later, with lots more help from volunteers and my sister in law, we laboriously cleaned all the garlic. By cleaning the garlic, we just cut the tops, cut the roots, and took off a couple layers of skin to make its beauty shine. We still have a ton of Kettle River Giant and only some of the Asian Tempest left- and you can find them at the farm stand!  We also harvested potatoes! This was my first year growing potatoes in the Pacific Northwest and now I'll definitely grow them each year. They are super easy to grow and super fun to harvest. We grew Blue, Kennebec, and Russian Banana Fingerlings. The later two varieties I'd purchased from Concentrates, but the Blue where just potatoes we'd gotten from the store that had begun to sprout. And they all did great! So great, that they've all since sold at the farm stand. 

garlic hanging under the tent

Tomatoes are doing splendidly. I get many questions about the Fahrenheit Blue cherry tomatoes because they look so striking and black! The variety is from a plant breeder, Tom Wagner, from Everett Washington. I got the seeds from Project Grow, a great non-profit just down the street, who coincidentally have a tomato showing (all real tomatoes!) at their gallery until October 11. Check it out. It's amazing. My tomato highlights this year (aside from the blue tomatoes, which are delicious) are the Striped Roman (a prolific and incredibly sweet paste tomato that makes excellent sauce), the Stupice (a mid-sized red tomato that have a dense flavor and are excellent for salads) and the good-old standby, Sungold Cherry (I hadn't grown them in a while and now I remember that nothing beats their burst of sweetness)!

the excellent volunteer, Quinn, with a blue potato

We've also started harvesting the late summer/fall greens- spinach, mustards, and arugula- and the fall beets and carrots are coming in nicely. I am also still planting for the winter. Since I cover a number of rows with plastic, I get more time to get some winter crops in! And then comes planting garlic, shallots, and cover crops... and the saga continues!

a part of the potato and onion harvest

Those of you who are wondering about the how late into the fall the farm stand is going, weather permitting, it will remain open until the last week in October. October 30th to be exact. Here's to hoping it won't frost before then!

There. I did it! I promise there will be more to come soon!

Friday, July 20, 2012

summer time

It's been a long time since there has been an update from Blue House Greenhouse Farm. I know how you must have waited! It's been a busy time for the farm and us personally, hence the hiatus from the blog. 

The farm is doing well- summer is here!  We've been harvesting garlic- Kettle River Giant, Chesnok red, and Asian tempest- and they look and smell delicious! They are now hanging under a tent for protection from the sun and rain, awaiting cleaning in a couple weeks. 

Summer crops are coming along nicely. Looks like we will have french filet and dragon tongue snap beans at the farm stand this Tuesday! This is a nice time when the sugar snap peas are on their second flush, so you can find both peas and beans, the remnants of spring and the beginnings of summer, on the same table. Come see for yourself! The farm stand is on TUESDAYS 4-7pm right at the farm!
See the photos below for more tastes of what's to come this summer! 

jaune flamme tomatoes!

sweet italian peppers

verdolagas (purslane)! my little homage to Tucson. I did have
 a family come to the farm stand last week from Guanajuato
who were totally psyched that I had them! made my day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

so much is happening it's hard to know where to start...

photo credit: Mollie Firestone
It is spring! The kind of spring that turns to summer- the sun blazing only to have the sky turn dark with clouds and pour. Did you know that there was an all time record set in Portland this past Saturday evening? The most rainfall ever to fall in one hour. One inch in one hour. Amazing. Read this blog to learn more. So much is happening. Such as... the farm stand! Tomorrow will be the fourth week of the farm stand this season. What will you see when you come by? As always, lots of greens: salad greens, kale, chard, spinach, and delicious butter head lettuces (ONLY $1.50 per head!). AND you'll find PEAS! First of the season. Peas are always a treat. Another treat is that my mother, Jane, will be at the farm stand! She is visiting from Arlington, VA and would love to see you! So come TUESDAY 4-7pm, get your veggies and meet my mom.

wrestling with the tiller.
photo credit: Brian Rae
A lot of work has been happening on the farm. I want to thank the guys at Project Grow for generously letting Blue House Greenhouse Farm use their tiller. It's incredible the amount of time some machinery and gasoline can save. I was able to prep seven beds in the time it would've taken me to prep one. It was certainly a blessing. Thank you Tim and James! What else? We've planted part of summer- tomatoes and beans. Peppers, cucumbers, and squash are on the way this week. We are continuing to plant radishes, lettuce, beets, and carrots through the season. And we continue to fend off leaf miners, slugs, cabbage loopers and try to keep the bind weed at bay.  I am amazed by the wonderful volunteers that help each week- harvesting, at the farm stand, planting, weeding, doing whatever needs to get done. The farm wouldn't be where it is without them, that's for sure.

Henny, volunteering and ready for anything in rubber
coveralls, and me.  photo credit: Jeff Ramsey
I also wanted to share an incredible new addition to the farm- some inadvertently invited guests. Bees! So here's the scoop. Jeff and our friend, Brian, have been talking about keeping bees at the farm for months. They planned on making their own bee boxes, but hadn't gotten around to doing it when Jeff was offered a box from someone he works with. Lucky.  He left the box at the farm near the shed, where I do my post-harvest washing and packing. The plan was to clean the box and get some bees. However, things don't always happen by plan. About a week and a half ago, while Quinn, a lovely volunteer, and I were getting produce ready for sale, a swarm came. Thousands and thousands of bees filled the sky. For about an hour and a half they made their way to this box that had invited them here! And after moving the box to a more comfortable distance away, they are still here!  Check out the photos below and get ready for some blue house greenhouse honey.

bees in the sky! photo credit: Quinn Emerson
bees making their way in the box

After Jeff and Brian moved the box,
they put new frames to be able to clean the old ones

This is the comb the bees made in place
of a missing frame in only five days!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

farm stand tomorrow! tuesday May 8

Just a reminder to you Portland folks, come to the Blue House Greenhouse Farm grand reopening of the farm stand! 

Tuesday, May 8th 4-7pm. 

It's supposed to be a beautiful afternoon and what better way to spend it than getting delicious veggies (salad greens, kale, chard, arugula, mustards, turnips, and more) and healthy plant starts (a variety of tomatoes- stupice, sungold, isis cherry, persimmon, green zebra and some varieties from Project Grow seed! AND kale, onions and more starts- always more)! See you there and tell your friends, please.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

farm stand opening Tuesday May 8th!!

The long awaited 
farm stand will be reopening TUESDAY MAY 8th! 

Come by between 
4-7 pm 
and see what's growing! 

There will be radishes, salad greens, kale, mustard mix, salad turnips, spinach, and a variety of starts-kale, 
collards, lettuce, onions, AND tomatoes! If you are looking for starts before that time- contact me. Let your friends know and hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

starts for sale!

That's right! Starts are for sale.  They are small, but hardy plants- perfect to transplant in your garden now! Kale: Lacinato, Red Russian, and Rainbow Lacinato, Flash Collards, and Lettuces: All Star Mix and Wild Garden Mix.  How can you get these starts?  Come by the farm today (Wednesday) 9:30-5, Friday 9:30-4, and next week Tuesday 9-5, Wednesday, and Friday (same times). Or just contact me and we can figure something out!

Lacinato kale

Red Russian kale

Wild Garden Lettuce Mix

All Star Lettuce Mix

Sunday, March 18, 2012


It's just a few days before the official start of spring! Here are a few images of what is happening at Blue House Greenhouse Farm this time of year- in photos!

rocky top lettuce mix starts- planted out in the field just a few days ago

hakurei turnips!

garlic going strong


ragged jack kale- seeds given to me by my sister, Jen!

over wintered chioggia and detroit dark red beets

fava cover crop by my favorite graffiti 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

new beginnings

Jeff, planting peas
There are beginnings of all sorts happening at Blue House Greenhouse Farm. Jeff and I planted peas on a  showery mid-February day. Super Sugar Snap from Territorial Seed- delicious.  In the spirit of optimism for a warmer spring than of the past couple years, we also planted- pink beauty radishes, hakurei turnips, arugula, mustards, and a variety of asian greens. We covered the planted rows with agribon, a light-weight, permeable row cover, to insulate the seeds a bit.  We also started seeds in our greenhouse- and they began to germinate last week! We started lettuces and brassicas, both of which are coming up well.  The onions have yet to make an appearance, but that was anticipated as they are normally slower to germinate.

rocky top lettuces beginning to make their way in the world
Another beginning for the farm (as well as for myself), I began working at Concentrates, a farm and feed store! I expect that this job will be a great complement to the farm. I've already been learning a ton that I am interested in applying to the Blue House Greenhouse!  Come check us out!

Monday, January 16, 2012

a new year!

Happy New Year! I've always loved this marking of time where we all agree that we can start anew. Isn't it so promising to begin again? All the promise held as growth keeps still in low light and cold temperatures- there are so many possibilities of what can come.  It is nice to have a winter. 

salad greens under a cloche

I wanted to share an article that was written about Blue House Greenhouse Farm in Catlin Speak- the school paper for Catlin Gable school! Two high school students who had come by the farm on a class field trip were interested in learning more about the farm. Thanks Layla and Anaka! It is a good article (name misspelling aside)!

garlic, beginning to make its way out of the ground

In another bit of news, it looks like the rumors were true that New Seasons has bought the lot across Cook St. from the farm- where the old wonder bread factory used to be. Here's an article from the Mercury. I don't know what it will mean for Blue House Greenhouse Farm after 2012- but I do know that I will be farming there this year! I will keep you all updated, for sure.

Happy winter and check back often to find out what new exciting things are happening at the farm and  when the Farm Stand is reopening this spring!