Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
             Wednesday, January 13th 2016
                       Volume 24 Issue 03

Please Donate to Our BarnRaiser
Campaign. Thanks!


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Helping the Next Generation.

     Caleb's BarnRaiser Crowdfunding Campaign Ends Next Week. He Needs YOUR Help NOW!  Outside today, the wind is howling and blowing around the 8” of light, fluffy snow that fell last night and this morning.  Schools were closed early to allow the kids to get home before winds really picked up.
     Firewood is stacked high adjacent to the wood stove which warms our entire house.  Inside we’re snug and warm taking orders and answering questions over the phone and downloading orders.  Organic seed potatoes are being sorted and pre-graded daily.  Vegetable and cover crop seed is being cleaned and packaged ahead.
     The first of our seed potatoes bound for early Spring plantings on farms and in gardens in Georgia, Florida, Texas and Southern California are boxed up and await pickup by the Fedex Ground truck.
    We mentioned in the last Wood Prairie Seed Piece, that Caleb’s BarnRaiser Campaign is designed to help with the generational transition of Wood Prairie Family Farm over to him and his brother and sisters.  His Campaign has been scheduled to be completed in record time, due to the looming all-consuming seed shipping season rush just ahead.  Please help him reach is goal!
    There are some wonderful Rewards offered to those who contribute to the Campaign.  So far, the Reward most often selected has been a delicious package of MOFGA Certified Organic Bacon - from our friends at Tide Mill Organic Farm – which is set to be delivered to mailboxes everywhere.  Our supply is good so please contribute and secure your Bacon today!
    Caleb’s $15,000 Campaign goal - with a looming deadline of next Friday night (January 22) - is achievable but Caleb needs your immediate help to get there.
    Please contribute and help assure the successful transition of Wood Prairie Family Farm down to the next generation.  Thanks so much for all your help!

 Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.

Intensive Culture of Vegetables. FREE download of 1913 classic.
FREE Book: Intensive Culture of Vegetables.

     Here is a classic book from 1913 which you will enjoy and want to add to your farm library, Intensive Culture of Vegetables on the French System by Aquatias.

   The book’s copyright has expired and it has been posted on the University of California website.   Intensive Culture of Vegetables is available for downloads (in a variety of electronic formats) and reading or printing out.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.

Special Offer: FREE Vermont Compost Organic Soil Mix.

     Soon it will be time for gardeners to start indoor seeding of important garden vegetables like Onions, Tomatoes and Peppers that have a long season.  Customarily, in Maine onions are seeded in February, with tomatoes and peppers following 4-8 weeks later.

    Get this year’s transplants off to an excellent start by using the same mix we use on our organic seeds on Wood Prairie Family Farm.  There is nothing better for this job than our friend Karl Hammer’s Vermont Compost Fort Vee Organic Soil Mix.
    We’ll help you with this year’s seed sowing.  Get a FREE 6-Quart Sack of Vermont Compost Fort Vee Organic Soil Mix (Value $12.95) when the amount of goods in your next order totals $55 or more. FREE 6-Quart Sack of Vermont Compost Fort Vee Organic Soil Mix offer ends Midnight Monday, January 18.

     Please use Promo Code WPF 479. Your order and the FREE 6 Quart Sack of Vermont Compost Fort Vee Organic Soil Mix must ship by 5/6/16. This offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Questions? Call Wood Prairie Family Farm   (207) 429-9765.

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed Section.

Vermont Compost. The gold standard in organic soil mixes.

Dowden One-Row Digger. More modern potato harvesters start with the same basic concept.
 NEW Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar Next Week.

     Folks are telling us they have been enjoying the series of Wood Prairie Potato School Webinars we are running this Winter.  These Potato Webinars are free, open to the public and allow you to join in potato chatter from the comfort of your own home via the internet.  Also, our Webinar’s Live Chat function allows you to ask questions of Jim in real time.

   Our next Webinar, Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #3: ‘Why All This Hullabaloo About Efficiency at Harvest?’ will be Thursday, January 21 at 1pm ET/ 10 am PT.  Please use the button at right to Register.           

   Here are a few of the Comments from our Wood Prairie Potato School Webinar #2 ‘So THAT'S How they Multiply Potatoes,’ held last week:

        Good Job…Good Information…

        Excellent.  What a great source of quality information.

    If you would like to watch it again or for the first time, you may click on this link to watch the You Tube video (1:15:40) of last week’s Webinar #2.

    Our series of Potato Webinars continues through the Winter.  If there is a particular subject you would like to see covered please email your ideas to us at: orders@woodprairie.com.

Jim & Megan

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Family Farm Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

Notable Quote: Willie Nelson on Food.

Recipe: Mini Potato Gratins.

Unsalted butter for muffin cups
4 medium Carola potatoes, about 6oz each
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 T heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. Thinly slice potatoes. Place 2 slices in each cup and season with salt and pepper. Continue adding potatoes, trimming as necessary to fit into muffin cups and season every few slices, until cups are filled. Pour 1 T heavy cream over each. Bake until potatoes are golden brown and tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes. Run a thin knife or spatula gently around each gratin. Place a baking sheet or large plate over pan and invert to release gratins. Flip right side up and serve.


Click here for our Wood Prairie Organic Seed Potatoes

Mini Potato Gratins, a Fun Variation.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Our Mailbox: Potato Texture Chart & Potato Scab Remedy.

Potato Texture Chart.

Dear WPF.

     I live in Southern CA (Claremont / near the Claremont Colleges).

     Question #1
     Please recommend a couple of waxy potato types that would grow well here.

     Question #2
     Please recommend a couple of good baking potato types that would grow well here.

Many Thanks!

Claremont CA

WPF Replies.

Megan created our Potato Texture Chart and that will help explain the why and the how.

     Waxy Potatoes for Southern California


Dark Red Norland

     Good Baking potatoes for Southern California

Yukon Gold


Good Luck!


Potato Scab Remedy.

Dear WPF.


     I get scab on my potatoes. Seems as though it is worse on certain varieties. Also seems worse the longer they are left in the ground. I have been adding organic matter every few years. Our soil is great Iowa topsoil that was plowed few times.
     Also I have been getting Hollow Heart in my Butte Russets and a few other larger potatoes. Too much water?? Anxious to hear your answer.


WPF Replies.

     Nice to hear from you. Hope you are well.

1. Common Potato Scab. Scab is worse in dry years or with alternating dry and wet soil conditions. The three important soil factors which can lead to problems with scab are:

- Shortfall of available Phosphorus.
- Shortfall of soil fungii.
- Low level of mychorizea fungus. Arden Andersen has said that Mycorrhizal Applications in Oregon has the best product and that is what we like and have been using for the last ten years.

2. Hollow Heart. Hollow Heart is generally a function of excessive growth, usually occasioned by too much water (rain or irrigation) during tuber bulking. It is more prevalent in some varieties (for example, Reddale, Yukon Gold) than otehrs (like Onaway) but most any variety can suffer from it in a very wet year. Here in the Northeast - where water soluable Boron levels tend to run only borderline in our moist climate - insuring the presence of sufficient Boron in the soil can be a big help in limiting Hollow Heart. Another trick is to decrease the in-row spacing in order to crowd tubers and slow down growth.

Good luck.


 Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm