The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
             Organic News and Commentary
                   Friday, June 23rd 2017
                     Volume 25 Issue 10


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

    Summer Beauty.

     Lupine Hill Looking Westward Across the 'Big Pond' on Wood Prairie Family Farm. Sales have remained unexpectedly brisk this Spring across the country for businesses involved in the garden and plant trade. So we've found ourselves extra busy both keeping up with seed orders and getting our own planting completed.
     Crops are in, potatoes have emerged from the ground and the area's beautiful Lupines are in full bloom. Caleb's younger sister, Sarah, just graduated from high school in nearby Mars Hill as Salutatorian. Sarah's graduation-gift-Nikon-camera is getting an extensive workout and all of us are being rewarded with photos like that of the Lupin above and the baby ducklings you'll see below. She'll be attending the University of Maine campus in nearby Presque Isle beginning this Fall, majoring in Biology.
 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.
New Study: Organic is Great But Pesticides Are Way Worse Than Imagined.

Paul Adam's Potato Production. Novel way of growing potatoes - imagine the ease of harvesting!

     A new landmark study commissioned for the European Parliament has dramatically raised concerns that toxins used in conventional agriculture are far more dangerous than previously imagined and causes damage to the human brain. 

     The research characterizes current levels of exposure to pesticides as a major concern, particularly to children and pregnant women.

     The study concludes organic food on the other hand offers a safe alternative to pesticide-laden conventionally grown food.

     Learn more about the study in the article in the UK’s Telegraph.


Click Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Certified Seed Potatoes.
Special Offer: FREE Heirloom Organic Turkey Red Wheat Seed.

        Organic Turkey Red is a Hard Red Winter Wheat (when grown for grain, it’s planted late Summer for harvest the following Summer).  In 1874 Turkey Red was brought from Russia to Kansas by Mennonite farmers and before long this phenomenal wheat was grown on millions of acres.  Over time the landrace Turkey Red wheat faded from the scene and was nearly lost as farmer shifted to more modern varieties. 
     Over the last twenty years, organic farmer Bryce Stephens and his fifth-generation farm in western Kansas came to Turkey Red’s rescue and saved the excellent variety from near extinction.   
     Now here’s your chance to take part in history and grow some Turkey Red for yourself with our offer for FREE Organic Turkey Red Seed.  Receive a FREE 2.5 Lbs. sack of our Organic Turkey Red Seed (Value $9.95) when your next order totals $39 or more. FREE Organic Turkey Red Seed Offer ends 11:59 PM on Monday, June 26, 2017, so better act now.

     Please use Promo Code WPFF410. Your order and FREE Organic Turkey Red Seed must ship by July 3, 2017. Offer may not be combined with other offers. Please call or click today!

Click Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop Seed.


Organic Turkey Red Hard Winter Wheat. Have fun and grow a slice of history.
Feature Photo: Family of Wood Ducklings.

Family of Wood Ducklings. This young family of Wood Duckshas found refuge and quiet in the Big Pond on Wood Prairie Family Farm.
Notable Quotes: Benjamin Franklin on Responsibility.

Recipe: Potatoes with Swiss Chard.

3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 lbs Swiss chard
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the chard by trimming ends from stems. Cut into 1/2-inch lengths. Wash the leaf and stem pieces thoroughly, then drain well. Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add the potatoes and cook 15-20 minutes, until tender. Add the Swiss chard for the last 5 minutes. Drain. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook garlic for 30 seconds. Add potatoes and chard and season them lightly with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes, until liquid is evaporated and potatoes are coarsely mashed.  Add the remaining 2 T olive oil, season to taste with sea salt and pepper and serve hot.


Potatoes with Swiss Chard.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

Mailbox: Tricking Colorado Potato Beetles.
Tricking Colorado Potato Beetles.

Dear Megan,

I read your newsletter from beginning to end, and buy the majority of my organic garden needs from you folks. One article that is near and dear to my heart is the one on the Colorado Potato Beetle. One year I volunteered my time working on a certified organic farm just up the road from me, and saw, firsthand, how those potato beetles infested everything. We first tried squishing the larvae by hand, but it was an overwhelming task, and the owner finally broke down and sprayed the plants. End of beetles.

The following year I spent my time working in my own organic garden, especially trying my hand at growing potatoes for the very first time. I expected the potato beetles, but they never came. That was 5 years ago and I've been growing potatoes ever since.

Quite some time ago I read an old farmer's instructions not to plant potatoes until after the dandelions bloom. The theory being that planting early draws the beetles because there's not much else to eat, and they die before they can procreate.

For several successive years I've not had to plant potatoes because I always have what I cal "surprise" potatoes. Invariably I mistakenly leave some spuds in the ground and they come up by themselves. What I've noticed is that the shoots do not appear above ground until after the dandelions bloom.

It's been 6 years since that memorable day working on the farm and seeing the overwhelming number of bright red Colorado Potato Beetle larvae. Each year the farmer's potatoes are infested with the beetles, but not once have I seen a potato beetle on my plants. No need for insecticide or any other product. Just wait for those dandelions.

I've also noticed that the tiny black leaf hoppers do not like buckwheat, and I always make sure I plant buckwheat in my potato plants. I also like that the buckwheat is a bee magnet.

I'm sure you know all of this already, as I'm just a novice, but thought I'd share my experience.

Colebrook, NH

    Very interesting to hear your experience. Thanks for writing.
     Within their range CPBs are a problem with localized variations. Meaning, in any given area where they are present, they can in the same year range from a very minor problem to a crop-threatening potential disaster. Also, over time the pendulum swings. In the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s CPBs were by-and-large horrible in Aroostook County. Beginning in 1995, with the first use of neonicitinoid Admire insecticide, their populations were decimated for about five years. Then CPB numbers began once again to grow, seemingly parallel to issues of developed resistance to Admire. At this point in time depending on the year (and the severity of the preceding winter) they have the capability of being a serious problem once again.
     As to delayed potato planting, we have friends in New Brunswick, Canada who swear by your technique and have great success planting their potato crop at this time of year - late June - and foiling those CPBs.


 Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox