Posts Tagged ‘cover crop seed’

Sunday, April 21st: Happy Earth Day Tomorrow! Let’s See What Lessons We Can Learn From Our Vendors About Respecting Mother Earth!

April 20, 2013
Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Oysters on the half-shell, on the beach at Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo courtesy Hama Hama Oyster Company.

Happy Earth Day! Most of us have a sense about your Ballard Farmers Market helping us tread a little lighter on our Mother Earth, but today, let’s take a look at many of the ways the Market’s vendors teach us about living more in harmony with our environment. Take oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company, for instance. Oyster farming in our local waters requires clean water, and as such, this industry actually encourages us to keep Puget Sound cleaner. But did you know that our environmental sins from years ago, and seemingly unrelated to water pollution, are actually threatening our beloved bivalves today? You see, all that carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere from our coal power plants, our cars and our furnaces has to come down somewhere, and a lot of it is being absorbed into our oceans, where is settles to the bottom in an acidic soup. Now, the North Pacific currents are pushing all that acidic water right up into Puget Sound and Hood Canal, where it is beginning to dissolve oyster larvae and other shelled species before they can even get settled in the mud. It is called Ocean Acidification, and we all need to learn about it, change our habits — drive less, get more efficient cars, switch to electric heat pumps, etc. — and we need to Stop The Coal Trains from shipping more coal to China, where it will just make matters worse. If it isn’t good to burn here, we shouldn’t be giving it to them to burn there!

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Terry Meyer of Stoney Plains Organic Farm stands alongside garden starts. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Plant a garden with local, organic veggie starts from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Sure, we want you to visit us every Sunday all summer long for the best fresh, local produce anywhere, but if you are planning to plant your own garden, get your veggies starts here, too. That way, you’ll know how they were raised, and using what kind of seed. And the more food we can grow right here in Puget Sound, the less we have to import from other parts of the country and world!

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden’s soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Skip the nitrogen chemicals in synthetic fertilizers, and enrich your soil naturally with nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Nash’s Organic Produce offers a nice cover crop seed mix that you can toss about your garden to help draw the nitrogen your veggies will need right out of the air and ground. Then, when you turn it into the soil before your planting, it will breakdown, leaving all those nutrients right there in your garden to feed all your plants!

Pink Beauty radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pink Beauty radishes from One Leaf Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

One Leaf Farm will have these lovely Pink Beauty radishes today, as well as Tom Thumb & Little Gem lettuce, at your Ballard Farmers Market. Did you know that One Leaf is only in its third year of operations? Yup. We are adding farms to King County — they are located in Carnation, for instance — and that means less need to import. During the WTO protests in Seattle back in 1999, visiting farmers from around the world taught me that the best thing we can do to help them in their countries is to buy local food here. That’s because when we buy imported produce, we are supporting a system of corporate agribusiness that takes over local farmland in other countries to grow large amounts of mono-cropped foods for the U.S. market. In the process, they force the local farmers, who are growing culturally relevant and organic foods for their local communities off of their land, resulting in lost crop diversity and food insecurity in regions of the world with very fertile farmland. So, Think Globally. Eat Locally!

Wild morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild morel mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat wild foods! Before European settlers came to Puget Sound, local Indian tribes practiced a form of agriculture that would be almost invisible to us today. They managed the native, wild edible plant and animal species on a grand scale, so that come berry season, mushroom seasons or time for a clam bake, they knew right where to find dinner. In that spirit, folks like Foraged & Found Edibles today try to protect their harvesting grounds, as their livelihoods also depend on them. So enjoy some wild morel mushroomsstinging nettles or fern fiddleheads this week from your Ballard Farmers Market, and get back in touch with your wild side!

Andrew Your Knife Sharpening Guy. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Andrew Your Knife Sharpening Guy. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Keep your knives and tools sharpened and healthy, so they last longer, all while supporting an ancient artisan trade that does not required electricity! Your Knife Sharpening Guy will put a fresh edge on your kitchen knives, garden sheers, shovels and even your reel lawnmowers, all with a zero carbon footprint. There is no need for you to buy new stuff. Your old stuff can be made new again!

Ikura from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ikura from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Support your local fishery! Washington does a very good job managing its commercial fisheries. So you know, when it’s caught in Washington waters, it is done so sustainably. Loki Fish catches Keta salmon, from which comes this Ikura, right here in Puget Sound. And this summer, they will also catch Pink Salmon here, too. Wilson Fish catches King Salmon along the Washington Coast. Your support of these local fishing vessels at your Ballard Farmers Market ensures their ability to keep catching the best fish around, and keep family traditions — and wages — alive, as well!

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wines from Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Support Puget Sound Appellation wineries, like Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery. Most folks think all the wine grapes in Washington grow east of the Cascades, but the truth is that there is a robust grape-growing region right here in Puget Sound! Lopez produces three certified-organic estate wines from their island-grown grapes, including Madeleine AngevineSiegerrebe and Wave Crest White. These wines win many awards, and we are lucky to have them right here at your Ballard Farmers Market!

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh kombucha from CommuniTea. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cleanse your body, rejuvenate your soul, and reuse your bottle! Communi-Tea Kombucha let’s you do all three! This fermented tea beverage will give you a boost of energy, cure what ails you, and when you are ready for your next bottle, they will even take your old bottle back, wash it, and reuse it! Unfamiliar with kombucha? Try one of these handle 250 ml. bottles. This is the finest, freshest kombucha you will find anywhere!

Sunshine rings from Itali Lambertini. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sunshine rings from Itali Lambertini. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Reuse your gold… or someone else’s, at least. That’s what Port Townsend jeweler Itali Lambertini does. Gold mining around the world is very toxic and destructive, and many of us are familiar with the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, that threatens to destroy the largest wild salmon spawning grounds left on earth — home to more than half of the planet’s remaining wild salmon. And yet, there is plenty of gold already in circulation, mined decades and even centuries ago. So why go to some generic jewelry store in a mall to get a ring made of virgin gold that is the same as a thousand other rings, when you can get a unique ring, made with recycled gold, made by a local artist, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market? I mean, it’s not just the thought that counts. The materials and craftsmanship count, too!

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Oxbow Farm & Education Center is another King County farm, and besides bringing us amazing local veggies, like these pea vines, in season now, they also operate an educational program that teaches children and adults alike all about organic farming and its benefits, right in Duvall! Of course, supporting them also means you are keeping your dollars recirculating in our local economy, thus creating local, living-wage jobs, instead of exporting your dollars to another state or country. Your support of local jobs means that local farmers are able to support you right back, as they, too, support local businesses. You see, a rising tide floats all boats. We all succeed together… or the alternative.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Kale, zucchini & collard chips from House of the Sun. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat lower on the food chain! House of the Sun produces delicious, nutritious raw and vegan foods, like these awesome kale chips! They get their ingredients from Market farmers. They have a smaller carbon footprint, because they aren’t heating things to cook them. Not cooking foods preserves many nutrients that can be destroyed by cooking them. And you can get your savory and sweet snack on without having to go to the Big Box store to buys some over-packaged “food” made who knows where with who knows what!

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Golden Harvest Bee Ranch. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat local honey! Local honey, like from our own Golden Harvest Bee Ranch, supports to protection of local bees, which do a lot of the heavy lifting around here, pollinating most of the crops we know and love here at your Ballard Farmers Market. But did you know that the bees themselves are in trouble? And if they are in trouble, we are in trouble. There’s a thing called Colony Collapse Disorder that has devastated honey bee populations far and wide. So remember, while supporting your local bee can help you will allergies and sweeten your tea, you should also learn more about CCD and what you can do to stop it.

Pumpkin bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pumpkin bread from d:floured gluten-free bakery. Photo copyright 2013 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat gluten-free! More and more Americans are finding they have gluten sensitivity. But that is no longer a life-sentence of really crappy baked goods. Not at your Ballard Farmers Market, at least. That’s because we have d:floured gluten-free bakery, makers of all manner of sweet and savory gluten-free deliciousness that does not skimp on flavor in its pursuit of gluten-free goodies. Take this pumpkin bread, for instance. I beseech thee to find another pumpkin bread around that is better than this! Quite simply, whether or not you are avoiding gluten, you will love everything on d:floured’s tables.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Julianna from Ascents Candles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Detox your home! Ascents Candles makes their candles with natural oils, not petroleum products, which means you are not filling your home with toxic fumes when you burn them. Plus, they are scented with various natural essential oils that will help set the mood, whatever mood you are aiming for. And if you’re eating dinner and want no scent at all from your candles, they’ve got them, too. Because after all, Earth Day ultimately starts at home!

One more way to celebrate Earth Day every Sunday is to remember bring your own bags every Sunday, as Seattle’s single-use plastic bag ban is now in effect. Also, please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Ballard Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.

There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Sunday, January 30th: Bluebird Grains, Phocas Succulents, Beets, Butter & Bedding (for you garden), and Some Suh-weet Potatoes!

January 29, 2011

Grain products from Bluebird Grain Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Bluebird Grain Farms returns for one week to your Ballard Farmers Market today! So stock up on whole grains, flour, cereal and mixes now to last you through the next month, when they come again. See, there is a lot of snow up there in Winthrop right now, and it takes some doing for Bluebird to come over to Seattle. Thus, they come over once a month in winter, instead of weekly. Personally, I think they need to get tougher and show us Big City yahoos how Eastside farmers can brave any weather, but hey, what do I know? (I heard that!)

Flowering succulents at Phocas Farms in Port Angeles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hey kids! Big Jim from Phocas Farms is back this week, too… as he will be for many weeks to come. He has those spectacular succulents, remember… and saffron! Local saffron!!! And this is an awesome time of year to plant succulents, while they can develop healthy root structures so they can carry on through the summer, happily neglected by you! Woohoo!!!

Beautiful beets from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With our spat of warmish weather lately, our buddies at Full Circle Farm have beautiful beets on the rebound with equally beautiful, fresh, tender greens! Yeah, baby!!! Not only do you get two dishes for the price of one, but you get GREENS!!! Now, if you are not as excited as I am about this, you clearly have been on vacation in Barbados for like the last two months. Cuz greens anything is kind of a big deal right now.

Many butter flavors from Golden Glen Creamery. Photo copyright 2011 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Butter. It’s what’s for dinner. And did you know that Golden Glen Creamery as pretty much the only farmstead butter maker in Washington? And it’s some gooood butter, too. And lately, the ladies up at Golden Glen have been tinkering with all manner of flavors for their butter. There are seven different flavors in just the photo above. So get your butter on today, at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Sweet potatoes from Lyall Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart sweet potatoes, but for the longest time, I couldn’t get them at a local farmers market around Seattle. Surprisingly, very few farmers in Washington grow them. But lucky for us, Lyall Farms began growing these tuberous delights a year ago and sharing them with us here in the Peoples’ Republic of Ballard. Thank you, Lyall Farms, for broadening our root diet this time of year.

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now is a good time to lay down some cover crop seed from Nash’s on your vegetable gardens to help restore nutrients in the soil in advance of the growing season. Cover crops help restore nitrogen and other vital nutrients your veggies will need to grow well and make you look like Popeye. Read more about cover crop seed here.

Michaele Blakely of Growing Things showing off her prized eggs. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When she’s not watching the Snoqualmie River rising around her house, Michaele Blakely of Growing Things Farm in Carnation is out tending her chickens. Those chickens reward her with some of the best darned eggs I’ve ever tasted. And the good news is that, even this time of year, Michaele has a healthy supply of eggs for us at Ballard Farmers Market. Mmm. Eggs.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

People of Ballard: Olsen Farms has your Viking purple potatoes. So grab some, steam them and slather them with some of that Golden Glen butter, scarf them down with a smile on your face, and then go conquer and pillage like your Viking ancestors. Well, not really. The authorities might not be happy about that. Wait, everyone, maybe we just secede from Seattle. Woohoo! Who’s with me?!? (Sorry. Them spuds just carried me away for a minute.)

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, March 21st: Happy Equinox! It Is Officially Spring Now.

March 21, 2010

Herb starts from Prana Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With the passage of the vernal equinox, there can be no more debate. It really is spring. So get out there and plant something! Fortunately, a number of farms at your Ballard Farmers Market have stuff for you to put in your garden(s). For instance, even if you depend on the Market for your fresh veggies, fresh herbs are something you will love having right in your yard for whenever you might need them, and they are really easy to maintain, too. Check out these lovely herb starts from Prana Farms, just waiting for you to give them a good home.

Raspberry canes from Cascadian Edible Landscapes. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cane berries, like raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, etc., are another fairly low-maintenance crop you can grow in your yard that will come back, with a vengeance, year-after-year. Cascadian Edible Landscapes, new at Ballard Farmers Market, has a variety of cane berries from which you can choose.

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Perhaps you have a patch of dirt that needs a little nutrient rebuilding, so that you can turn it into a nice vegetable garden down the road. Sow it with Nash’s cover crop seed. It’s nitrogen-fixing plants will give your soil a boost, and then you turn it all back into the ground so it composts even more nutrients back into the soil.

A vast selection of succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Now is a good time to get your drought-tolerant ornamental gardens going. To that end, Phocas Farms offers literally hundreds of different types of beautiful succulents from which to choose. Plug them into that plain rock wall of yours. Your neighbors will thank you!

Various cuts of goat meat from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

With Passover and Easter fast approaching, you’re probably looking for an appropriately large piece of meat for that big holiday gathering. For Easter, you’ll find hams and turkeys from Skagit River Ranch, and these tasty goat roasts from Quilceda Farm. For Passover, pickup a brisket or some lamb from Olsen Farms. Olsen is also running a special on lamb loin and sirloin chops this week.

Fiddlehead ferns from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s fiddlehead fern season. Pick some up for an early spring treat from Foraged & Found Edibles.

Yogurt and feta cheese from Samish Bay Cheese. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Perhaps you want to take a Greek route with some that aforementioned lamb. Samish Bay Cheese offers fresh feta cheese, as well as regular and Greek-style yogurts. Just think of the possibilities!

Cans of albacore tuna from Fishing Vessel St. Jude. Copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fishing Vessel St. Jude is back this week with their vast array of delicious, local albacore tuna products. From frozen tuna loins to smoked tuna to a great selection of canned tunas (above), this stuff is low in mercury and high in omega fatty acids, and it will be the best tuna you’ve ever tasted.

Meredith Clark of the Poem Store being interviewed by KOMO-TV. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Meredith Clark operates the Poem Store regularly at your Ballard Farmers Market, where she crafts fresh poetry on demand to feed your soul, while all our farmers are feeding your body. What she is doing is so unique that KOMO-TV featured her on their 5 & 6 p.m. newscasts last Sunday.

Alexandra Kruse interviews Kyra Hedman while Kruse and Jenny Rodenhouse film her. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Indeed, Ballard Farmers Market seems to attract all sorts of creative spirits these days, such as amateur filmmakers Alexandra Kruse (above left) and Jenny Rodenhouse (foreground). They and a group of friends were carrying out a challenge to create zombie-themed short films for a backyard movie party later this year. They interviewed many Market shoppers last Sunday, asking the question, “What would you do if you were the last human being alive on earth, and everyone else had become zombies?” Hopefully, they will load their film onto YouTube so we can share it with you.

New cinnamon rolls from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You know and love their crusty, artisan breads. But have you tried Tall Grass Bakery’s new cinnamon rolls? Treat yourself to one or three today.

Spicy and delicious paprikas from Some Like It Hott! Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

We can all use a little extra spice in our lives, and trust me, a little of this spice goes a long way. Some Like It Hott! is growing a great variety of peppers in its greenhouses in Port Townsend, then carefully smoking and drying them, then grinding and blending them into great paprika. They have many different flavors and heat levels. Why buy paprika with thousands of frequent flier miles when you can get great local paprika right at your Ballard Farmers Market.

Josephines from Hot Cakes. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, don’t forget to pick up dessert at Hot Cakes. Of course, these gorgeously luscious Josephines might not make it home, but that is why you will be getting several molten chocolate hot cakes to pop in your oven for later. And don’t forget the caramel sauce!

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.

Cover Cropping for Home-Garden Success

April 22, 2009

From the good people at the Tilth Producers of Washington and Nash’s Organic Produce:

Cover cropping is a method used by organic growers to increase the biological activity and health of soil. A critical tool for soil fertility management in any size garden or farm, cover crops are fabulous nitrogen fixers and are an integral part of the natural cycling of nutrients.

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash's cover crop seed blend returns nutrients to your garden's soil naturally, without the need for harsh chemical fertilzers. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When planted in the fall, cover crops hold nutrients that are otherwise leached away in the winter, while protecting the soil surface from erosion. If used in the spring and summer, cover crops are ideal for fixing atmospheric nitrogen and building the soil’s organic matter. If your soil is particularly poor, begin cover cropping in the spring and apply two to three rounds, ending with a final planting in the fall (mid-September to early October).

  • Gardeners should use about 10 pounds of seed to cover crop 500-700 square feet.
  • Plant 1/2-1 inch deep and water as needed. If soil is not too wet, the seeds will germinate in cold soil, so cover crop seed can be planted in the cool spring.
  • When it is mid-calf height, turn the cover crop in with a space or shovel, inverting the top two inches of soil.
  • 2-4 weeks after turning it in, the cover crop should mostly be broken down, and you’re ready for a second round, or to plant your garden. Allow more time in the spring for the rye/vetch to break down. The ease with which it breaks down is directly related to its height, so don’t let it get too big before you turn it under.

Find a cover crop seed blend of rye and vetch at Nash’s Organic Produce at Ballard Farmers Market.