Boots and Balance

Harriet Kattenberg : March 27, 2018 11:40 am : Blog

Your weather,” said our Mexican waiter, trying to make conversation, “so strange.”

Up came his hands. “Snow!”

Down went his hands. “Sunshine!”

Up with his hands, “Rain and snow!”

He shook his head, “Sunshine?”

And he didn’t mention the worst of it … MUD.

We have been slithering in mud for weeks! Snow mud is the worst. It’s slippery! It clings to your feet.

And wagon tires? Oh, my! The mud clings and the tires get larger and larger until the axles are totally immobile from all the mud.

The next day, the mud is frozen into chunks. It may fall off with a good hard kick and it may not. Ka’thump. Ka’thump goes the wagon.

We slithered. And we pulled. And we walked carefully. But we managed to seed and plant and transplant and water and seed some more. Planting schedules must be kept. Spring is coming. Falls Park Farmers Market opens SOON. May 5 to be exact.

And our crops must be ready. People are hungry for real food. Real FRESH food. Food only a day out of the field. Local. And Fresh. And we farmers will do our best to provide.

Aiden lost it. Literally. His boots stuck in the mud and he lost boots and balance. Big Brother tried pulling him out.

When jeans and socks were removed, mud had found its way into his underwear! Mommy washed her boy, wrapped him in a bath towel, and bundled him into the car.

Daddy sprayed off his muddy clothes at the car wash.

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Muy Caliente

Harriet Kattenberg : March 27, 2018 11:38 am : Blog

Henry and I enjoy a local Mexican restaurant. We (Henry) is not an extremely adventuresome eater so we order something safe, fajitas. We always order the same. And we share the huge meal.

Pollo Faliz; Happy Chicken.

Our favorite waiter knows us. He nods and smiles as we come through the door. And hustles to the kitchen. If Jose is not working, we must use what little Spanish we know to convince the waitresses to make our fajitas exactly the way we like them.

Muy: very.

Calente: hot.

Sizzle,” we add. Even the sound of this word is understandable.

Rojo: red.

Pemienta: peppers, we ask. Henry really does not like green peppers.

Extra is extra and cheese is queso. Heads nod and smiles smile. In minutes we are enjoying chips and salsa.

Could I make fajitas at home? I could. I should. Especially when the gardens are pumping out the best red, orange, and yellow peppers and sweetest onions ever.

And I did. When the kids were home, fajitas was the favorite and most requested birthday meal. Lots of sizzle. Lots of aroma. Our house smelled good for days!!

Peppers are seeded and showing green leaves. Whose birthday is next?

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A Dr. Seuss Jingle

Harriet Kattenberg : September 4, 2015 3:50 pm : Blog

Gulp! Where did summer go?

The last time I sat in front of this keyboard and tried to put coherent thought into text was mid-July. Really? With the heat and humidity of this past week, it felt like July or August. But here is September!!!

As uncomfortable as we were this week, the thought that Jack Frost occasionally pays a visit in September was not at all comforting. We’ve had frosts as early as September 15.

Long balmy falls make for more profitable bottom lines. And as much as I enjoy being outside, growing, doing, bending, picking, lifting, hustling, and yes, even being totally exhausted, we must face reality, and the always judgmental, bottom line. So as much as Alissa and I would just like to sit, sleep in, cook, and clean, we have to keep going for another nine weeks. Which boiled down, means ……

You only have nine (9) more Farmers Markets this season!!!

Do not delay!
It’s time to make hay (or salsa or pickles or Caprese.)
New potatoes with butter. They will make your tongue flutter!
Visit Falls Park Farmers Market (and Seedtime) TODAY!

I bet we have more than you can eat in a day.
In any way.
Without having to eat hay.
But you may.

Eat hay.
If you wish.
In a dish.
Without any fish.

Potatoes in purple.
Tomatoes in pink.
Wash your lovely leeks in the sink.

Our lettuces are healthy.
They don’t make us wealthy.
But they taste better than hay.
Any day.

Hail to our kale.
It won’t make you frail
But will build muscles
And brains.
Forget eating grains.

Onions and garlic.
Shallots sure hit the target.
Broccoli is a scream.
Our cauliflower is green
And purple, it seems.

So Saturday is the day
To stop eating hay
And veggies are the way
To brighten your day.

This jingle is a marvel
At Seedtime and Harvest.

Eek! I’d be much smarter
If I worked much harder.
And left this old keyboard
To go fill up the larder.

Nine weeks!!!! Don’t miss it!!!

Harriet @

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Naked? Never!

Harriet Kattenberg : July 10, 2015 3:49 pm : Blog

Ok, I know … Some people like to be naked.

In the shower and bathtub? Yes.
In bed? Some of us.
On the beach? … Well…. It probably depends on the beach.

But on the whole, we spend more time in our clothes than in our birthday suits.

Soil feels the same way.

Rototill the besmidgies out of a piece of ground … a garden, the front lawn … and before you can shout, “SOIL LOVES TO BE NAKED,” tiny little seeds will be sending out thread-like white hair roots. And before you can shout again, “I WANT TO KEEP THIS PIECE OF GROUND NAKED,” those little seeds will be pushing up tiny little shoots, soon to turn green, and those little shoots will grow as fast as a banshee.

Return to that naked piece of dirt a few days later and it will be covered with something, anything green.

A fellow veggie farmer told me about his stint working for a commercial greenhouse. “The floor of that greenhouse complex absorbed every chemical and weed killer used in their industry. AND most of it was covered with either concrete or rock mulch. Yet whenever a bit of soil was exposed, a weed would spring up. It was totally mindboggling that anything would want to live (or could live) on that floor.”

Naked soil leads to erosion and compaction. Erosion from rain, erosion from wind. Compaction from tractor tires, Gator tires, human foot prints.

At Seedtime, our goal is NO NAKED SOIL. EVER. A lofty goal!

We do farm somewhat traditionally. Till the soil. Break it up. Make a nice seed bed. But then we leave the tradition behind. As soon as two rows are planted, we sow a cover crop between them.

Early spring sees strips of buckwheat between rows of potatoes and tomatoes. Winter rye is seeded between beds of kohlrabi, cabbage, and broccoli.

This year, we are experimenting with a mixture of plants that will eventually bloom, providing nectar and pollen for our honey bees.

Yellow and white sweet clover, phacilia, lupines, daikon radish, mustard, hairy vetch. What a delight to our senses when these plants bloom and bustle with bees, gathering nectar and pollen, winging it back to their hives.

The hours and labor we invest in cover crops would probably shock us. Some would say we are foolish. But the soil and its living millions of microbes thank us. All kinds of bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects will be happier and healthier with a varied diet.

No erosion.

No runoff. The lush cover of plants and roots holds every drop of rain, storing it for another day.

Microbes … fat and sassy.

After all ….

Who wants to be naked?

Harriet @ Seedtime and Harvest

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King Corn

Harriet Kattenberg : July 3, 2015 3:46 pm : Blog

cornMy eyes were opened this week. Shockingly opened!

I shared with Joel. His eyes suddenly opened.

I shared with Faren. His eyes suddenly opened.

All in the neighbor’s corn field.

Michael Poellen wrote about King Corn in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Corn is in so SO many foods. Anything processed has a high probability of having corn-something on its ingredient list.

Every second year corn surrounds our farm. Farmer Brown is old fashioned; he still rotates his crops; corn one year; soybeans the next year. With the ethanol craze a few years back, some farmers still plant corn on corn on corn on corn.

Imagine what your gut would look/feel like if you only ate one food, regardless if it was a healthy food or a processed food. We all know we need diversity in our diets to supply as many different vitamins, minerals, and sources of fiber as possible. So with only corn root exudates as food, the soil and its microbes are sick, too.

But I digress.

Corn. The wisdom of corn.

I never thought I, of all people, would praise corn. I don’t like to grow corn, weed corn, pick corn. I do, however, like to eat sweet corn. That’s it.

But the other day my eyes opened to the wisdom and power in the design of corn.

We had one tenth inch of rain, refreshing our hearts for a few hours, but not enough to slow the work schedule or dampen the soil.

Irrigation tape

Irrigation tape

However, in the corn field, the soil around each plant was visibly wetter than between the long rows. The soil directly around each plant looked like there was irrigation tape dripping water to each plant’s roots.

Suddenly my eyes opened. I saw each corn plant was holding all of its rough leaves up to the sky, like a multi-armed human spreading her arms wide to the heavens, asking for blessings. The rough hairy leaves gather dew and every drop of rain and directed the precious moisture down the stalk to the roots below.

No wonder corn/maize grows all over the world, from the fertile fields in Iowa to the dry lands of Mexico. Corn is tough and strong and knows how to collect water from the atmosphere and direct it to its roots. My amazed eyes ran over our fields of veggies and flowers. All coddled. None were actively fighting for survival the way corn does.

Corn truly is a king!

Harriet @ Seedtime and Harvest

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