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How to Grow Peas!

Mouthwatering, tender, sweet fresh peas are a culinary delight and one of the very best reasons for having a garden. Fresh peas have an unparalleled sweetness and are among those vegetables that can never be equaled by supermarket produce.

Growing peas are perfect for the beginner gardener, plant them in minutes and come back weeks later to harvest them.

WHICH PEA TYPE IS FOR YOU?

Shell Pea or English Pea: The tradition pea has a tough usually inedible outer pod with delicate, sweet, tender peas inside.

Snow Pea or Chinese Pea: When you think of stir-fry these sweet-tasting, flat, tender pods come to mind. They are best when harvested will the peas inside them are quite small and undeveloped.

Snap Pea: These sweet, crunchy peas have both a delicate edible pod and full-size peas inside with the sweetness of the best garden pea. They are wonder eaten raw, lightly steamed, or stir-fried.

  • When to Sow: Plant 4-6 weeks before last spring frost.
  • Sun/Part Shade: Full sun, but will tolerate part shade.
  • Seed Spacing: 1 inch
  • Row Spacing: 14 inches
  • Planting Depth: 1 inch
  • Days to Germinate: 6-15 days
  • Days to Maturity: 55-60 days

Soil and Fertilizing

Peas thrive in deep, rich, well- drained soil in a sunny location. The plants do best in soil with a pH ranging from 6.0-7.0. We recommend testing your soil in the fall and adjusting the pH range, if needed. Fall is also a good time for deep spading or double digging (to a depth of 8-12 inches) and for incorporation organic matter into your soil.

Peas don’t require much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, but to help them along, when seedlings are 2-4 inches tall you can fertilize them with a complete organic fertilizer.

Watering

Consistent moisture is important in growing peas. Never let them dry out.

Trellis

All Peas benefit from support. It keeps them from rotting on the ground and lets the pods hang straight down, making them less misshapen and easier to pick. When peas are trellised the vines have air circulating freely around them thus they can’t be easily infected by disease.

 Harvesting

Pick peas each day during the harvest season to harvest the best quality pods and encourage further productions especially with pole types.Pods are ready for picking when they are plump, smooth, and bright green pods. Start harvesting at this stage, beginning at the bottom of the plant and working upwards.The best time to pick is early morning when the pods are crispest. If you can’t pick in the morning, the cool of the evening is another good picking time.

Cooking

Pea’s versatility is limitless. They are delightful raw. They can be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried.  Peas also freeze beautifully. This way you can enjoy them well after summer.

 

 

 

 

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Planting Guide

This spring I have had a ton of questions on when to plant seeds indoors? When to transplant them outdoors? What should be planted directly in the ground? There is no exact answer as we all live in different climates and each have our own micro climate. I have come up with a planting guideline that should help you gardeners out. First things first! You need to find out what your last average spring frost date is. You can get this from senior gardeners in your area or you can call your local state extension agent and they will have an answer for you. For example Ellensburg’s average last frost date is about May 1st.

Planting Guideline


BEANS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 52 degrees.

BEETS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 50 degrees.

BROCCOLI: Seed indoors. Seed indoors 4-6 weeks before you want to plant outdoors. Transplant outdoors 2-3 weeks before average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS: Seed indoors. Start transplants 8-10 weeks before last frost. Set out transplants 2-4 weeks before average last frost.

CABBAGE: Seed indoors. Start transplants 6-8 weeks before average last spring frost. Transplant outside 2-3 weeks before the last expected frost date.

CARROTS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 3-5 weeks before the last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.

CAULIFLOWER: Seed indoors. Start transplants 4-5 weeks before the plants are needed to go outdoors. Plant transplants outdoors 2-3 weeks before the average frost date in spring.

CHARD: Sow seeds indoors or outdoors. Plant outside 2-3 weeks before last spring frost date. Continue planting seeds at 10 day intervals to have all summer.

CORN: Sow directly outdoors. Plant seeds 2 weeks after last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 60 degrees.

CUCUMBERS: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 3-5 weeks before spring frost date. Transplant outside no earlier than 2 weeks after last frost date.

EGGPLANT: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before soil warms up to 60 degrees. Transplant outside when soil warms.

KALE: Seed indoors or sow directly outdoors. Extremely frost hardy. Plant as soon as ground thaws.

LETTUCE: Sow directly outdoors or seed indoors. If seeding indoors start seeds 4-6 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant seedlings 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost. If sowing directly outdoors seed as soon as your ground can be worked. Light frost is okay.

MUSKMELONS: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Muskmelons need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.

ONION TRANSPLANTS OR SETS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil can be worked.

PARSNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Sow as soon as soil is workable. Cold hardy crop.

PEAS: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors 4-6 weeks before last spring frost.

POTATOES: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors when soil temperature has reached 52 degrees. 2-3 weeks after average spring frost.

PUMPKINS: Sow directly outdoors or sow indoors. If you have a short growing season sow indoors 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Be sure to harden off seedlings before transplanting.

PEPPERS: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.

RADISH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date.

SPINACH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the soil can be worked. Spinach need 6 weeks of cool weather. Minimum soil germination temperature 35 degrees.

SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI: Sow indoors. Plant 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant outside 1-3 weeks after spring frost.

STRAWBERRIES: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the ground can be tilled.

TOMATOES: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.

TURNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil is tillable.

WATERMELON: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Watermelon need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.

Here is a great resource to find your local extension agents information.

http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services

 

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5 Easy Spring Vegetables to Plant Now!

Spring has finally emerged, and we are just dying to get our hands dirty! Even with a little colder temperatures there are some vegetables that are ready to get in the ground now!

Peas

Mouthwatering, tender, fresh sweet peas are a culinary delight and one of the very best reasons for having a garden. Fresh peas have an unparalleled sweetness and are among those vegetables that can never be equaled by supermarket produce. Growing peas are perfect for the beginner gardener, plant them in minutes and in a few weeks they are ready to harvest. Peas are a cool weather crop that can be planted early and harvest heavy yields into early summer.

Spinach

Spinach is one of the healthiest green vegetables you can grow. It’s packed with iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, various B-complex vitamins, and a variety of other nutrients, all in a leaf that tastes delicious in sandwiches, salads, and cooked. Spinach loves cool weather, seeds will germinate in soils as cold as 35 degrees. Best planted in early spring or fall before the ground freezes. Spinach usually bolts with onset of hot weather.

Strawberries

Sweet, succulent, melt in your mouth goodness! Homegrown strawberries are a must in your home garden. These sweet berries don’t even compete with store bought strawberries.  Plant strawberry roots in spring, in a place with full sun. These berries are easy to grow, tolerate a wide range of soil types and come back year after year!

Onions

Onions are one of the first vegetables that you can plant in your garden. Onion transplants are quite frost hardy and can withstand 20 degree frosts. They should be planted 4-6 weeks prior to the last expected spring frost. The earlier you get your onion transplants in the ground the bigger onion bulb you will harvest! Plant this tasty allium and enjoy them all year long! Perfect for the garden cook!

 

Lettuce

Lettuce, a cool season vegetable, is one of the easiest to grow and the fastest to mature—an ideal combination! Plant some in the spring for mid-summer harvests, and again mid-summer for fall yields. Lettuce is easy to direct sow, and it can grow in many different variations of sun and shade, or directly in the ground or in a container. This is a great way to have fresh lettuce for months.

So gardeners what are you waiting for?! Get in the garden and start planting!

Happy Spring Y’all!

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Soil Testing

Testing your soil

The first and most important thing you can do for your garden is to start with a soil test. I test my soil with a at home kit every spring. Your soil nutrients can change from year to year. I prefer to just use an at home soil test but you can also get a soil sample and send it to a lab or your local extension agent.

To get an accurate soil test you will need to take 8-12 soil samples with a shovel digging from a range of one inch to twelve inches deep. Making sure each soil sample is in a different area of your garden. Dump these samples into a bucket and mix.  Some helpful tips to remember when taking a soil sample.

  1. Follow the test lab or at home test kit instructions.
  2. Take samples before working the soil.
  3. Use a clean shovel or trowel and wear clean gloves so you do not contaminate the test results.
  4. Soil samples should not be to wet or to dry.
  5. When using the at home soil test use distilled water.
  6. Do not take any soil samples if you have fertilized, wait for about 2 weeks.

The results are in! What do you do with them now?

At home soil tests give the values of your soil nutrients for your pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.

Nitrogen:

Low on N: Yellowish and light green foliage, stunted growth.

Sources for N: bonemeal, fish, chicken, and steer manure.

Phosphorus

Low on P: Leaves look dark green or have a reddish purple tint to them.

Sources for P: rock phosphate, fish bone meal, chicken manure

Potassium

Low on K: small fruits, older leave may wilt or look scorched on the tips.

Sources for K: seaweed, greensand, wood ashes

Calcium

Low on Ca: Leaves on the top of the plant are distorted, also causes blossom rot.

Sources for Ca: oyster shells, gypsum, limestone

Magnesium

Low on Mg: Older leaves turn yellow on their edges, yield can be down.

Sources for Mg: Epsom salts, dolomite

 

 

 

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New Potato Varieties!

Its 14 degrees outside!! Yes my nose hairs are freezing! It a cozy winter day here at the farm. Today I’m in our homemade studio shooting new potato pictures for some new varieties we are introducing for Spring 2017! Some of you may have already seen some of these new tasty tubers on our website but here is another look! I’m really excited!!

Belinda- Early season. Smooth yellow skin with yellow flesh. Long oval tubers with shallow eyes.High yielding and good store-ability. Great for boiling, roasting, and steaming! High resistance to tuber blight.

Blue Belle- Mid season. Yellow skin with purple splashes around the eyes with medium yellow flesh. Oval tubers with shallow eyes. Medium storage. Tasty when roasted, boiled, baked, or mashed. This a a great all round culinary potato. Resistant to powdery scab, splitting and silver scurf.

Ciklamen- Mid-Late season. Red skin with creamy white flesh, oval shaped and uniform tubers. High yielding and good storage quality. Great for salads and roasting. Resistant to PVY, Blackleg, and common scab.

Cheshire- Early season. Dark red skinned potato with yellow around the eyes and deep yellow flesh. Round uniform tubers. Roast, steam, or bake these tasty potatoes. High yielding but low storage.

Jester- Early season. Purple skin with yellow around the eyes and variegated purple and yellow flesh. Small round tubers. perfect for the home gardener. Good for salads, or roasting. Sensitive to common scab.

Smiling Rose- Early- Mid season. Light pink skinned potato with yellow around the eyes and deep yellow flesh. Uniform oval shape. High setting and high yielding. Not a great storage potato. This is a good all around cooking potato.

 

There you have it our new and did I mention EXCLUSIVE potato varieties. This varieties are only available here at Irish Eyes Garden Seeds!

 

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Companion Planting….Friend or Foe?

Y’all are itching to get out in the garden aren’t you?? If your anything like us you till have 6 inches of crusty snow on the ground or it is muddy! Sooooo not going to happen for awhile. A girl can dream right? Well I’ve been dreaming about my garden and where I am going to plant all my lovely vegetables! Did you know that some vegetables love each other and some just darn right can’t stand to be together!  Who knew vegetables and flowers were so picky! Vegetables also like to be planted in different spots every year. Remember to rotate your vegetables and never have them growing in the same spot twice. I’m on a 3 year rotation. So while you are itching to get in the garden lets do some garden planning first! I would hate to have my garden not getting along.

Friend or Foe….

Asparagus

  • Friends: Tomatoes, parsley, basil, & nasturtiums.
  • Foes: Garlic & onions

Bush, Beans

  • Friends: Beets, corn, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, leek, parsnips, pea, potato, swiss chard, radish, rosemary, summer savoy, strawberry, & sunflower.
  • Foes: Basil, fennel, kohlrabi, & onion family

Pole, Beans

  • Friends: Corn, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, marigold, pea, potato, swiss chard, summer savoy, strawberry, & rosemary
  • Foes: Onion family, beets, cabbage, fennel, kohlrabi, radish, & sunflower.

Beet

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, corn, leek, lettuce, lima bean, onion, & radish
  • Foes: Pole bean, mustard

Broccoli

  • Friends: Aromatic herbs, beet, bush bean, carrot, celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, nasturtium, onion family, potato, rosemary, swiss chard, spinach, & tomato.
  • Foes: Pole beans, tomatoes, strawberry

Brussels Sprouts

  • Friends: Bush beans, beet, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, nasturtium, onions, pea, potato, radish, spinach, & tomato
  • Foes: Pole beans, kohlrabi, & strawberry

Cabbage

  • Friends: Aromatic herbs, beet, bush bean, celery, carrot, cucumber, kale, lettuce, nasturtium, onions, potato, spinach, tomato
  • Foes: Pole bean, strawberry

Muskmelon

  • Friends: Beans, corn, peas, radish, & sunflower
  • Foes: Potato, aromatic herbs,

Carrot

  • Friends: Bean, brussel sprout, cabbage, chive, lettuce, leek, onion, pea, pepper, radish, sage, rosemary, & tomato.
  • Foes: Celery, dill, parsnip

Cauliflower

  • Friends: Aromatic herbs, bush bean, beet, carrot, celery, cucumber, dill, kale, lettuce, nasturtium, onion family, potato, spinach, & tomato
  • Foes: Pole bean, strawberry

Celery

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, leek, parsley, pea, & tomato
  • Foes: Carrot, parsnip

Corn

  • Friends: Bush bean, beet, cabbage, cucumber, muskmelon, potato, parsley, pea, pumpkin, squash
  • Foes: Tomato

Cucumber

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dill, eggplant, lettuce, nasturtium, pea, radish, sunflower, tomato
  • Foes: Potato, & sage

Eggplant

  • Friends: Bush bean, pea, pepper, potato
  • Foes: None

Kale

  • Friends: Bush bean, beet, cabbage, celery, cucumber, lettuce, nasturtium, onion, potato, spinach, & tomato
  • Foes: Pole beans

Kohlrabi

  • Friends: Bush bean, beet, celery, cucumber, lettuce, nasturtium, onion, potato, tomato
  • Foes: Pole beans

Leek

  • Friends: Beet, bush bean, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, tomato
  • Foes: None

Lettuce

  • Friends: Carrot, garlic, onion, parsley, tomato
  • Foes: None

Onions

  • Friends: Beet, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, parsnip, pepper, strawberry, spinach, tomato, turnip
  • Foes: Asparagus, bean, pea, sage

Parsnip

  • Friends: Bush bean, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato, tomato, radish
  • Foes: Carrot, celery

Pea

  • Friends: Bean, carrot, celery, chicory, corn, cucumber, eggplant, potato, radish, spinach, strawberry, pepper, turnip
  • Foes: Onion & gladiolus

Pepper

  • Friends: Carrot, eggplant, onion, parsnip, pea, tomato
  • Foes: Fennel, kohlrabi

Potato

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, marigold, parsnip, pea
  • Foes: Cucumber, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash, sunflower, tomato, turnip

Pumpkins

  • Friends: Corn, eggplant, nasturtium, radish
  • Foes: Potato

Radish

  • Friends: Beet, Beans, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, corn, cucumber, lettuce, melon, nasturtium, parsnip, pea, spinach, squash,  tomato
  • Foes: None

Rutabagas

  • Friends: Onion, pea, nasturtium
  • Foes: Potato

Spinach

  • Friends: Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, onion, pea, radish, strawberry
  • Foes: Potato

Squash

  • Friends: Celery, corn, dill, melon, nasturtium, onion, radish
  • Foes: Potato

Strawberry

  • Friends: Bean, borage, lettuce, onion, pea, spinach
  • Foes: Cabbage, cauliflower

Tomato

  • Friends: Asparagus, herbs, bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, celery, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, marigold, onion, parsley, pepper
  • Foes: Pole bean, dill, fennel, potato

Turnip

  • Friends: Onion family, pea
  • Foes: Potato

 

So before you start planting your garden this spring ask yourself are they friends? or foes?

 

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Store Seeds

Seed storage. How long do seeds really last?

There is only few times in the day you can find me outside in the frigid cold. One is, if I have any bottle calves or lambs to feed, and two would be running out to my car to get it started. Yeah I know what you are thinking, what kind of farm girl are you? My husband calls me the fair-weather cowgirl. I just really really hate the bitter cold! So in the winter you can typically find me warm and toasty on the couch with a cup of tea.

When I get tired of reading or binge watching Alaska the Last Frontier, I like to skim through my Irish Eyes Garden Seeds catalog and see what I should grow in my garden this year. Once I make a list of vegetables to grow I gather all my seed jars and see what seed I can use for this year and what I should just throw away.

Containers to store your seeds in….

Plastic bins: These are inexpensive and you can keep them in there originally package with a filing system to organize your seeds by variety.

Shoe Box: This is the same idea has the plastic bins other than they are free! I like free.

Mason jar: I put everything in mason jars…I have plenty, they are reusable and you can usually find them at Goodwill.

Wooden crate: If you’re handy you could build one! This would be a really great gift for the gardener in your life.

Ideal storage conditions…

Seed stores best in a cool dark spot. So consider a cool dark basement, mudroom, or closet. Freezing seeds is not necessary but you can use a refrigerator to keep the seeds in.

Seed Viability

Beans     5+years

Beets      5+years

Broccoli   5+years

Brussels Sprouts

Carrots     3-5years

Cabbage    3-5years

Corn     5+years

Cucumber     5+years

Celery       2 years

Eggplant    2 years

Kale     5+years

Kohlrabi     3-5years

Lettuce/Greens     2-3years

Herbs     3 years

Onions/Leeks    1 year

Muskmelons     5+years

Peas     5+years

Peppers     3-4 years

Parsnips    1 year

Radish     5+years

Spinach     5+years

Summer Squash    3-4years

Swiss Chard     5+years

Winter Squash/Pumpkins    3-5years

Tomatoes     2 years

Watermelon     3-5years

 

 

 

 

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Starting Seeds Indoors

Whether you are from the Northwest, Midwest or East Coast, the time has come to step into your greenhouse. Dust off your cold frame and clean up your seedling trays! Even though you may look outside and there is a blanket of snow on the ground it is not too early to get some seeds started. There are many vegetable seeds to start indoors and transplant later in spring. If you don’t have a greenhouse, that’s okay a warm window will do the trick!  Starting seeds indoors is a fun early garden project with big rewards! Read on to find out how simple and fun starting seeds indoors is.

Seed starting supplies

Fill your containers with pre-moistened seed starting mix. You can use cell-packs, peat pots, plastic pots, clay pots, or recycled newspaper pots. Gently press the mix into them leaving ¼ inch space at the top to allow air circulation.

Using a dibble (pointed stick or pencil), make a hole in the center of the potting mix about ¼ inch deep, place 2-3 seeds and cover with potting mix.

Remember to label each container with the variety name and planting date. Water lightly with a fine spray. Once the seeds are planted, cover the containers with plastic domes or plastic wrap. They will create a miniature greenhouse, which will keep the medium from drying out and a warm environment for your seed to germinate.

Place containers in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and away from drafts.  On top of the refrigerator is ideal, or you can apply bottom heat with an electric heat mat.  Seed germination should occur in about 5-14 days depending on the variety.

Be sure to check your containers every day. When the first green shoots appear, move them into direct sunlight. Remove the plastic covering and water or mist as needed. Turn the plants daily to keep them from bending to the light.

 

Check your Irish Eyes garden planner to help with exact dates to plant certain vegetables. Here is a list of seeds that do best when started indoors.

 

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How to Store and Cure Garlic

Well you’ve harvested your garlic. Now what?

If you want to enjoy your garlic right away, you can eat it straight from the garden. To enjoy these tasty bulbs all year long curing your garlic is a must!

Once harvested take garlic bulbs to a shady, dry area. Best spots are a covered porch, breezy shed or garage. It is very important to keep your garlic out of the sun, garlic bulbs are easily sun burned.  No need to clean, trim roots or foliage.  Garlic stores longer with its stalk and leaves attached.

Lay the bulbs in single layers on screens, drying racks, or slatted shelves to promote good air circulation. Some gardeners tie the stalks in loose bundles of 8-12 plants and hang them under cover. If you have a softneck variety you can even braid the stalks. The plants should dry for 3-8 weeks, depending on the humidity and amount of air circulation. Most growers use a fan in the curing process. Once garlic is cured for 1-2 months, your garlic leaves should be completely brown and roots should feel stiff and dry.

Garlic drynig on screen.

To clean your bulbs trim the roots, then cut the stalks off ½ inch above the bulb and gently clean the bulbs with a soft bristle brush, taking care not to strip off the papery skin. If the internal leaves are still green and moist stoop cleaning and let dry longer.

For storage, hang your bulbs in netted sacks with good air circulation on all sides. Perfect storage conditions are 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at 50% relative humidity. Storage below 40 degrees actually makes garlic sprout faster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following these steps should make your garlic last till winter. Unless your like my family and eat it all before winter comes around!

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Why choose Irish Eyes Garden Seeds?

  1. We are family owned and operated!
  2. We are dedicated to promoting sustainable, organic, and lifelong farming practices.
  3. We specialize in short season seeds for an early harvest.
  4. We are strongly against GMO’s in all forms and we support and promote organic farming and gardening practices.
  5. Each year we donate our left over seeds to many non-profit organizations around the United States and the world.
  6. We offer over 200 different open-pollinated and heirloom seeds.
  7. We have over 90 different varieties of potatoes! (We know spuds!)
  8. We are members of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Safe Seed Pledge, and FFA/4-H.
  9. By recycling, creating, and reusing our own compost, we have reduced our farm waste tremendously.
  10. Last but not least we care about you! We are here to educate our gardener and turn more brown thumbs to green!!
Alexa, Greg & Sara standing in a field in Peru.