Prairie Seed Piece
May 17th, 2018
27 Issue 10
Issue of The Wood
Planting is Here.
Wood Prairie's Katie Finemore
Filling Corn Seedling Trays.
co-worker Katie had left for the day to pick up her Kindergartner son
when we took photos of crew members a month ago (see April 20
issue of Wood Prairie
now, here is Katie working in the cool outside air this morning,
filling hundreds of tree seedling containers with Vermont Organic
Compost. We plant these deep cell containers with corn seed
kernels in order to grow commercial crops of organic corn
seed. After growing in containers in the high tunnel for
three weeks, we then plant the corn starts out in the field with our
tractor-drawn transplanter. This rigmarole is designed to
turn the tables and conquer crows which in the past have laid
considerable waste to our corn seedlings when the corn seed crop – such
- was direct-seeded. Back
then stealthy crows would pluck up many hundreds of corn sprouts to
feast upon that single corn kernel at the base. We
can appreciate the past validation that our pure, organic
open-pollinated corn is irresistible, but now it’s the crows who are
The ground is about ready and
first of next week we’ll begin planting our potato crop.
Before we’re done, we’ll go through about 25,000 lbs of seed
potatoes. We’re conditioning our seed now as the ground warms
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Prairie Family Farm
|Understanding Soil Temperature
and Its Role in Timing Potato Planting.
Maine May Soil Temperatures.
The arc of seasonal warm-up
is long but bends towards wound-healing.
The data in this chart, which summarize Soil Temperature in the Month of
May - going back twenty-one years - at the Potato
Experiment Farm in Presque Isle, Maine, is gathered and maintained by
one of the long-time Extension potato scientists, Dr. Steve Johnson.
Wound healing of a
potato does not occur at a temperature of less than 45ºF.
Therefore, a seed tuber which has been cut into seed pieces and placed
in cold soil below 45ºF will just sit there and not callous over, at
risk of becoming dinner for pathogenic fungus in the soil.
farmers have learned by experience to not push extremes. We
plan to start our planting potatoes when the soil temp, measured at
7am, and in our case measured at 4”depth (because we plant shallow at
about 2”) first hits 50ºF. As you can see from the chart,
planting around May 18-20 is the target we set our sights on.
Jim & Caleb
Here for our Wood Prairie Certified Organic Vegetable Seed.
Organic Maine Certified King Harry Seed Potatoes.
is a fairly new potato variety bred
and released by Cornel University. King Harry is famous for
its substantial ability to withstand insect pressure. While
not immune to damage caused by the big three insects – Colorado Potato
Beetles, Potato Leafhoppers and Flea Beetles – its bug resistance due
to its repelling “hairy leaves” is very impressive.
If you want to experience what it’s
like to have a green
, do grow this big, lush, vigorous potato which
produces loads of good-tasting round white tubers. You won’t
Here’s your chance to earn a FREE
1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified King Harry Seed Potatoes
(Value $11.95) when your next order totals $49 or more. FREE
1 Lb. Sack of Organic Maine Certified King Harry Seed Potatoes Offer
ends 11:59 PM on Monday, May 7, so please act right now!
Please use Promo Code WPFF427
. Your order
and FREE 1 Lb. Sack of Organic
Maine Certified King Harry Seed Potato Offer
must ship by
May 28, 2018. Offer may not be combined with other offers.
Please click today!
Here for Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop and Farm Seed.
Harry. A great potato deserving its crown now.
|Excellent MUST WATCH Video! How
Trees Talk to Each Other.
Tree Video. If you love trees, then watching this video
may be the most important thing you do this week.
remarkable TEDx video presentation (18:20) by ecologist Suzanne Simard
explains the miraculous workings of tree communities, how they
communicate and how they care for each other’s needs
ecologist Simard is an out-of-the-box thinker who has discovered there
is a stunningly deeper dimension to tree communities than previously
"Hub Trees" or "Mother Trees" nurture
their young through complex networks, exchanging carbon, nitrogen,
phosphorus, water, defense signals and hormones.
Imagine, then, the calamitous
impact on forest health when too high a percentage of these Hub Trees
are removed by logging. Please take the time to
pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this blockbuster talk.
Jim & Megan
Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop & Farm Seed
|"’A forest is
much more than what you see,' says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30
years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding
discovery -- trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more
about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare
to see the natural world with new eyes.”
|Wood Prairie Farm Photos.
Gerritsen ‘Breaking Ground.’ We got on the
ground harrowing for the first time at the end of last week.
The snow had left this field just ten days earlier. Within
days we’ll begin planting our first potatoes in this very spot.
Caught Imitating Carola.
One job involved in “grading potatoes,” aka “rackin’ ‘em over” is to
catch cagey rocks posing as potatoes. One of these Carola
tubers is really an imposter rock. Which one?
Rock Dressed in Camouflage Caught Cavorting With Adirondack
Blues. Aroostook County rocks have
faced a long, improbable quest to be accepted as part of Maine’s Potato
Empire. One has to admire their tenacity. The
answers to which-potato-is-actually-a-rock may be found at the end of
Oil Braised Spring Vegetable Recipe section.
Goldfinch and Male Purple Finch (r.). Yesterday,
daughter Sarah Gerritsen took this series of bird photos at the bird
feeder outside our kitchen window. An integrated covey of
feathered friends took turns feeding on sunflower seeds. Six
weeks ago, this bird feeder was encased in snow as depicted in our March
23 issue of the Wood
Prairie Seed Piece.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak. This dandy is back for
Rose-breasted Grosbeak. A plain-Jane maybe, but
|Upton Sinclair on Understanding.
|Recipe: Olive Oil
Braised Spring Vegetables.
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb baby carrots,
cut into bite-friendly segments
1/4 lb baby potatoes
cut into bite-friendly segments
2 baby fennel, trimmed and quartered
1/4 tsp fine grain sea
6 small spring onions
(or scallions), trimmed
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into segments
1 lemon, cut into small wedges, deseeded
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over med-low heat. The pan needs
to be hot enough to cook the vegetables, but not hot enough to brown
them. Add carrots, potatoes, fennel, and salt to the pan and allow to
cook for a few minutes. Add the onions, then cover and cook for another
10-15 minutes, until vegetables are just cooked through. A minute
before the carrots and potatoes are cooked, add the asparagus and a few
of the lemon wedges to the pan. Cook just until it brightens, and is
Remove from heat and sprinkle with thyme
and serve with remaining lemon wedges. The vegetables are good hot or
at room temperature.
- Megan & Angie
In the Potato
photos section above the imposter-rocks are both in the center.
Delicious From the Garden.
by Angela Wotton.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox