Crisp Mint Lettuce
Wood Prairie Farm

   Here on Wood Prairie Farm we are finally getting summer weather!  We had good weather but cool for planting in May; then June and July turned cold and wet.  Now since August arrived the weather has turned dry and we've had more hot days than we typically see in an entire summer.  Our Spring wheat is almost ready for combining, standing golden in the field.   

So we're now eating a lot of salad, and replanting lettuce for continuing fall greens.  In many areas it's time for planting Fall gardens and folks are ordering seeds for Fall greens for the cooler weather ahead.  Others are improving their gardens by purchasing and planting our soil building organic cover crop seed as soon as a plot is harvested.  

 Below is Wood Prairie's best kept secret Recipe: Ginger Garlic Salad Dressing  , especially good, easy to make, and the best you will ever taste on Crisp Mint Lettuce. Click on the link to find the recipe.

Our potatoes will soon be done growing and in mid September the schools will close for Harvest Break and we'll  begin our annual Harvest.  We're getting our Harvest Catalog ready to mail to you. In the meantime we wanted to send you some special offers (see below).

Harvest

We now have a Wood Prairie Farm BLOG and Facebook page to keep you up to date on Wood Prairie Farm and  to answer questions and to help you grow and enjoy your garden with even greater success.
        Find last night's full Wood Prairie Farm supper menu on Facebook!
The Tomato Famine:  Below is an interesting article about the effect of this summer's weather on our gardens in the Northeast:
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Thoughts on "The Tomato Famine"

by Jim Gerritsen

Wood Prairie Farm

  Linked below is an interesting article "The Tomato Famine" written by George Ball, who is the head of the iconic W. Atlee Burpee Seed Co located in Warminster PA.    George writes about troubles the Northeast has faced with tomatoes and details the Irish Potato Famine.

 .  While the article is correct that there were several dozen potato varieties grown in Ireland in the 1840s my understanding is that the vast majority of the acreage was "Lumper" preferred because of its big yield.  For a couple of years we grew Lumper in our organic variety trials here on Wood Prairie Farm in northern Maine.  Our results: vigorous plant and large pretty homely lumpy tubers with a bland taste.  

 

  While George and our friends at Burpee do love their hybrids (there is an undisputed marketing advantage with hybrids in that customers must purchase seed annually) I think open-pollinated (op) varieties are unfairly maligned.  In my work as President of Organic Seed Alliance I know organic seed growers and breeders often prefer op varieties because type selection is fully within their control.  This allows a practical and decentralized way of developing regionally adapted varieties that excel and resist disease pressure and certainly that's what we need as was made very clear by this year's cold wet conditions in the Northeast.

   The trouble wasn't just because it was cold and wet.The early introduction of massive widespread late blight inoculum into the Northeast this year from tomato plugs sent north from a large Alabama greenhouse to eventually be sold in big box stores was an essential link in completing the disease triangle (host/environment/inoculum) in a magnitude of severity nothing short of a perfect storm.  Michael Pollan has made us all aware of the dangers of food industry consolidation.  We should also become aware of the very real parallel dangers of seed industry concentration and its cousin, planting stock concentration.  Had everybody started their own tomatoes or purchased plants from a local family farm, the Northeast wouldn't be in this pickle.  

    Farmers and gardeners are on the front lines of global climate change. Areas like New England that are increasingly prone to stubborn wet stretches may need to adapt production techniques to succeed in the face of weather variation. How do we do this?  Anecdotally, field grown tomatoes this year seem to have taken the biggest hit.  Hoop houses, high tunnels and greenhouses are recognized as favorably modifying the growing environment and can potentially bring about a crop success (plus extended growing season and higher yields) where adverse field conditions could reap a crop failure.

Over twenty years ago we had another cold Maine summer in which we didn't harvest a single ripe tomato from our large market garden. We decided to get out of the field tomato business and built a simple portable four-section 11' x 92' homemade hoophouse. We used 21-foot-long half-inch metal water pipe bent in a homemade pipe bender (a triangle alignment of three one-foot diameter pulleys off an old potato harvester) into quonset-shaped bows which were spaced at four foot intervals and welded to stout 1” pipe runners.  Over the years we've harvested many thousands of pounds of blight-free tomatoes plus peppers, squash, melons, cucumbers, basil, greens and even strawberries, sweet potatoes and peanuts!  That utilitarian hoophouse has paid for itself many many times over.

Click here to read about

The Tomato Famine


FREE 2.5lb bag of Organic Hull-less Oat Cover Crop Seed

Any order over $35!

Use Coupon Code XXXXX
Cannot be combined with other coupons
Offer expires 10/14/09

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FREE Wood Prairie Gift Certificate

Prairie Blush

Sampler of the Month gets a FREE Gift Certificate

Five Month Club gets a FREE $50 Gift Certificate!

Eight Month Club gets a FREE $75 Gift Certificate!

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Offer expires 10/14/09, First Sampler must ship by December 8, 2009

Get 5 Organic Garden 

Seed Packets FREE

Buy $50 get 5 FREE seed packets

Buy $50 worth of Seed Potatoes or other products

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coupon cannot be
combined with other offers.

Ginger Garlic Salad Dressing
In food processor (we prefer all organic ingredients):
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Tamari (soy sauce)
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 clove garlic
1/2" length of Fresh Hawaiian Organic Ginger
   (thank you Hawaii !)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Blend well until smooth.  Add a Tablespoon of tahini for a richer dressing.   You may peel the garlic and the ginger before adding them to the food processor.
You will never buy salad dressing again.
I keep my fresh ginger in the freezer.