Monday, August 24, 2015

Ginseng Seed and Our Ginseng Growing Book-Special Sale!

My coauthor, Scott Persons of Green Gold Enterprises, has a well-earned reputation for selling some of the best quality ginseng seed. His customers return year after year to purchase his seed. These are stratified, water tested seed that will germinate in Spring 2016.

For $60 you will receive 2 oz. of ginseng seed (about 800 seeds) and a copy of our book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals signed by Scott Persons. To protect the seeds from possible heat damage and to have them arrive in time for fall planting, the book and seed package will be shipped out after September 14. All orders will be shipped early in the week to avoid weekend storage en route. But don't wait to order your seeds! Scott sells out of seed every year.

Please note. Green Gold Enterprises does not have a website. This is the only on-line opportunity you will have to purchase seed from Scott. If you would like to buy additional seed, please send me a message using the private message box on the right, and I will get that information for you. Prices per ounce and pound decrease the more you buy.

This is a limited time offer and will be discontinued when Green Gold Enterprises runs out of seed. To order, click on the shipping option on the right for Ginseng Seed & Book for $60.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Special Planting Season Offer: Ginseng Rootlets & Book

For the second year, High Valley Ginseng and Our Tiny Farm have come together to make you a special offer of  25 one-year-old ginseng rootlets AND a copy of the book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal & Other Woodland Botanicals for just $58.00. That is $4 less than last year and saves you $9.67 compared to if you bought the book and roots separately from each of the business websites.
The book will be signed and dated by the lead author, Jeanine Davis. It will be shipped directly from the author at Our Tiny Farm in Etowah, NC via media mail within one business day of receiving the order.

The one year old ginseng roots will be shipped directly to you from High Valley Ginseng in Suches, GA via priority mail. It may be several weeks between when you order and when you receive the rootlets because each shipment must be inspected prior to shipping. This is to ensure that you are getting disease and insect free material. To learn more about High Valley Ginseng, check out their Facebook page or Website.

To provide the best quality and service, the ginseng rootlets and book will be shipped separately from each business. High Valley Ginseng suggests you have the plants delivered to where you can be sure to pick them up right away so they don't lose quality from staying in the packaging too long.

Each company retains responsibility for their own products and any questions or concerns should be directed to the relevant company.

This is a limited time offer and will be discontinued when High Valley Ginseng can no longer ship rootlets.

To place your order, click on the shipping option on the right for the Book & 25 Ginseng Rootlets for $58.00.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It is harvest season and there is a hint of fall in the air!

It is mid-August and life has slowed down just a little bit on Our Tiny Farm. I noticed this week that there are some tree leaves on the ground, the late afternoon light is changing, and there is just a hint of fall in the air. I know we aren't even close yet, but change is in the air.
The garlic is dried and cured and hubby started the process of trimming and cleaning it today.
It is very beautiful garlic and we had a good yield. We will be offering it for sale soon at the Mills River Farmers' Market and on-line here and on Ebay.
Our very senior horse has put on weight and is looking good this summer. We feed him grain and soaked alfalfa twice a day. It is a lot of work, but we want his golden years to be comfortable.
And here is a picture of the absolute sweetest dog in the world. He is always smiling and gets along well with all the other animals on Our Tiny Farm.
The donkeys are very easy keepers and started to really put on weight this summer. So we now confine them to the paddock during the day and just put them on the pasture for the evening and overnight. As long as they can always see and touch noses with the horse, they seem okay with it.
And we will end this update with a shot of one of the gardens on the farm. In a few weeks I will provide an update on the honey, popcorn, and potato crops and where we will be selling them. We will also have an estimate on when we will have our pasture raised Black Angus beef for sale.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bees, Garlic, and Other Happenings on Our Tiny Farm

Oh. I live with such an interesting family. This is what I saw when I came home the other day. Here, let me give you a closer view.
Yup. That is a bee hive. And yes, it is on the roof on the front porch, near the front door of our house. "Don't worry", I was told, "it is strapped down.". Oh, that's good. Then no problem. Something about a swarm way up in the tree nearby. Oh these crazy beekeepers.
Because there is also an active hive sitting on the porch in front of the workshop. I thought those hives were just there to be repaired, but obviously a colony has moved right in. I am happy to do my part to help pollinators, but its kind of "bees, bees, everywhere bees", on Our Tiny Farm right now.
The garlic harvest started this evening. The Spanish Roja were the furthest along, so they were the first to come out of the ground.
We have had perfect growing conditions for garlic and the crop looks great. Like usual the Spanish Roja are small, but we love their fiery taste. Tomorrow the guys will prep the curing area under one of the open sheds.
The Black Angus cattle are looking good. Guess we need to think about harvesting them soon, too, but we want to get a good size on them this time. We tried the smaller quarters last time because a few customers asked for them, but that is not the way to go. You get fewer roasts and steaks and they are smaller than I like them to be. So, back to the larger quarters and people can split them with someone if that is too much meat for them. That said, we have held our vacuum sealed beef in a freezer for 2.5 years and it tasted as fresh as it did a month after harvest

The donkeys and horse are doing fine, too. I have posted a few more pics and a video on the donkey page. We have some yummy blackberries and raspberries right now, but not enough to sell. Sorry. Other crops are looking good, too.
We have had many spectacular storms come through the past few weeks, so thought I would close with a photo of one that scooted by the other day. Hope you are having a great summer!

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Short Discussion about Shade for Your Forest Medicinal Herb Garden

Many gardeners are interested in planting shade gardens, especially to grow native forest botanicals such as ginseng, goldenseal, and black cohosh. Many questions arise about how to provide that shade, how much there should be, and what to do if there is no natural shade on the property. That topic is covered in detail in the new home gardener section of my book, Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. Here is a small excerpt: "Do you have a naturally shaded area to plant your garden in? The ideal site has a hardwood canopy with trees such as poplar, sugar maple, white ash, oak, beech, maple, and birch, and an understory of trees and shrubs such as dogwoods, elderberry, and witch hazel. Is it all deep shade? Are there open areas? Are there different degrees of shade, e.g., dense, light, or partial shade? Partial shade means the area has direct sunlight for three to six hours each day. Pay attention to when the area gets that sun. Three hours of direct late afternoon sun can be hot and damaging to shade plants. Light shade or dappled light is filtered light that works it way through the canopy of deciduous trees. There are patches of direct sunlight that get through at different times of the day, but they are small. This is a preferred state for many of the plants covered in this book. Areas of dense or full shade get less than three hours of direct sunlight each day, with filtered light the rest of the day. Dense shade is not totally dark. Few plants grow on the forest floor under dense shade. If you have full shade, you will probably have to open up the tree canopy a bit through some judicious pruning or tree removal. If your canopy is very open and there is too much light, now is the time to think about planting some trees that will add more shade in the coming years.
     "If you don't have any shade right now, you can create some that is temporary until the trees you plant fill in, or it can be the permanent shade. Construct an arbor or pergola and let vines cover it to simulate the natural opening and closing of a tree canopy that occurs when leaves come out in the spring and fall off in autumn. Use lattice fencing to protect an area from late afternoon sun or put up a shade sail or canopy made of woven polypropylene shade cloth. If you can't afford to build shade right now, consider planting on the north or east side of your house."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Collecting and Germinating Ramp Seeds

Depending on where you are located, ramps are starting to yellow or soon will be. If you look closely at a patch of ramps, you will probably see flower buds just beginning to show on some of them. Now is the time to plan for seed collection. When ramp seeds are mature, the leaves of the plant are usually gone and the base of the plant is often covered up by the foliage of other plants. It is not uncommon for the only evidence of the ramps to be the seed heads. They can be REALLY difficult to find unless you know exactly where to look.

So, if you want to collect and sow ramp seeds, I suggest that mark your ramp patches now. This can be done with flagging, rock formations, or you could just get a GPS coordinate for the location. Then, in late August to early September, you can return to collect the mature seed. Be sure to wait until the seeds are black.

There are several methods for germinating ramp seeds, and a number of them are described in my book. But here is the easiest procedure that has worked for me. As quoted in the book, "Collect the mature, black seed from the plants in late August before the seeds fall to the ground; then, either immediately plant the seeds in a nursery bed or store the seeds in paper envelopes in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them in a moist site. Little seedlings should emerge after exposure to one warm season and one cold season in the soil. This usually means after 18 months. If you planted the fresh seed early enough in the season for the seeds to get a long period of warm temperatures before the soil cooled down for the winter, you should obtain good emergence the first spring after sowing-in about seven months."

There is a whole section devoted to ramps in the book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals.. You can order a lead author signed copy of the book by clicking on one of the options in the right sidebar.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Let's Grow Ramps!!

My first ramp research plots.
"In 1998, when I first started growing ramps, there were only a few individuals in North America producing ramps for commercial purposes. I relied heavily on their experiences to initiate my own successful ramp cultivation efforts and studies. Since that time we have learned a great deal about them, and people are successfuly growing ramps all over North America." That is the opening paragraph in Chapter 15: Ramp Growing Instructions: Methods, Care, Protection, Harvesting and Marketing in our book "Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals". This is ramps season and this is the perfect time to start growing your own ramps. The way I got my first ramp patch started was to buy ramps at a ramps festival and plant them out.

As described in that same chapter, "Choose an appropriate planting site, as described earlier [in the chapter]. Rake off the leaf litter, till the soil, add any needed amendments, and work them in. Make raised beds if you plan to do so. To plant your bulbs or transplants, dig little trenches 4-5" deep across your beds or planting areas. Spacing these trenches 4-6" apart gives the plants some room to multiply. I make trenches by simply dragging a hand trowel across the bed. Set dormant bulbs approximately 3" apart and 3" deep, with the growing point facing up. Cover with soil so just the very tip of the bulb shows above the soil surface. Transplant leafed-out plants the same depth they had been growing. Finally, cover both bulbs and transplants with several inches of mulch. Transplants will usually reach harvestable size in four to six years."

The chapter includes two growers' stories. The first one is about the Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association. Here is a short video (link) of them explaining how to sustainably harvest ramps. The second story is about Glen Facemire of Ramp Farm Specialities in West Virginia. In 2008, Glen wrote and published a wonderful little book on ramps called "Having Your Ramps and Eating Them, Too." You can order it through his website (link) and I highly recommend it.

All this information and so much more is available in my book "Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals". You can order it now by clicking on one of the shopping cart buttons on the right.