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News and Views from Circle A Garden

Posted 1/2/2009 6:59pm by Betsy Austin.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday/winter season!! We took a couple of weeks off after our last CSA pickup in December. Mom and Della spent most of their time furiously knitting to get everything done before Christmas. I spent my time making soaps, salves, and finishing up some tinctures that I had started in the fall. Soap making is something I have always wanted to try, but was a bit hesitant about dealing with lye. So far I have done 4 different soaps and am having a ball!! Mostly I have been doing some oatmeal soaps with lavender and some of the infused oils I made earlier in the season. I want to try one with honey and beeswax this next week. I made several different salves using infused oils as well. I am anxious to try out the soaps as soon as they have cured a bit!!


Mom, Della, and I cooked up a feast on Christmas day. Robyn {our intern from last season}, her friend, and Janell {intern from Buckhorn Gardens}, spent the evening with us. Lots of good food, good company, and a couple of games of Mille Bourne.  On the following Saturday, we went down to my sister Terry’s house for our family get together. It was great to see everyone!! {Especially our new great niece!! She is growing like a weed!!}


Now that the holidays are over, we are slowly getting back into the swing of things. I’ve been going over surveys, doing seed inventory, going through seed catalogues, working on the website, and starting to get some work done in the high tunnel. We haven’t gotten all the surveys back but it looks like we are doing fairly well. It looks like we have gotten the sizes of shares to where most of you are able to use the majority of your veggies each week. Most of you were more than happy with the variety and quality of your veggies. Your comments were greatly appreciated!!


A few things we need to work on. Not enough carrots and too many turnips. I keep planting more carrots but it seems like there are never enough so I am planning larger plantings of the Mokums and a few plantings of the red, yellow, white and round ones. The last two seasons I have drastically cut the plantings of turnips but they are one thing that seems to really like our climate and growing conditions. I planted about half the amount in 2008 and harvested almost twice as many as the year before!!


I need to work on getting more recipes onto the website; especially or those things that you are not as familiar with. I need some help on this one!! If you have found good recipes for any of our veggies, please send them to me so I can get them posted. If you can send them to me in Word I can just cut and paste to the website. {otherwise I have to type them all in. My typing skills are not the worst, but…}Please, remember to put in your source. Several of you have also indicated that you would like nutritional information especially on the things that are less familiar. I have found a couple of good sources, but if anyone has good sources I would appreciate having them as well.


We don’t seem to have enough variety late in the season. This is an ongoing problem with our climate and region. Lots of roots and tubers, but not so much of anything else. After the frost, all those wonderful warm season veggies like tomatoes and peppers are done and there are a limited number of veggies that tolerate 20 degree night except roots and tubers. We keep trying out other things to have towards the end. One of the things we are working on is more pulses {beans, chickpeas, etc}. We trailed lentils, chickpeas, and soup peas this past season.  It was not a good year for legumes. They were just not as productive as in the past. We did have a few chickpeas and soup peas to go along with the dry beans {Hidasta Shield Figure and Cherokee Trail of Tears}. We were able to save seed so we should have more next season. Hopefully we will have more greens the last 6 weeks of the season this year. We were not able to replant more into the high tunnel because the tomatoes, melons, peppers, etc. were so late. {and hopefully the weather will cooperate so that we have our usual over abundance of winter squash!!} If there is a vegetable that you have had {and liked!!} that we don’t grow, let us know. We are always on the lookout for new and different things to try.


Another thing that we will work on this year is for those of you who do preserving. The majority of you who have gotten your surveys back would like to can and freeze for the winter. {a change from the last 3 seasons!!}. I’m not sure just how we’ll work it. I have several ideas that I’m playing with. If you have any thoughts, please let me know!!


One of the things I am working on now is CSA signup from the website. I am hoping that this will be an easier and simpler way of keeping track of everyone. I have kept if very simple at this point. You go into the website and click under Our Products, click on member signup and follow the directions; fill in contact info, answer a few questions, and send your payment in the mail {or drop it off here}. So… if you all can go to the website {www.circleagarden.com}. This will save me from having to type everything into a database and hopefully eliminate a few errors. {I seem to have had a problem with e-mail addresses last season. A number of you were not getting our updates. Hopefully I have gotten everything typed in right this time!! I apologize for not catching it until the very end of the season} If you are unable to do the website, let me know, I can sign you up over the phone or via e-mail.                                                                                        Payment schedule is: 1st payment due January 15, 2009 {you can pay all, ½, or ¼}

                                   2nd payment due April 15 {for those making 4 payments}

                                   3rd payment due July 15 {for those making 2 or 4 payments}

                                   4th payment due Oct. 15

Please be sure to include your name and contact information, who you are sharing with, and share size. Thanks!!


We are starting to work some in the high tunnel and the greenhouses; starting transplants, getting beds prepped, planting seeds, etc. If you were not able to get in your hours last season or would like to get a jump on this season, please let me know. {best times are from about 9:00 am to about 3:00 pm} Although it is very cold outdoors {in the 30’s this week}, it is a balmy 70+ in the high tunnel!! Our anticipated start up for veggie pickup is the first weekend in April, so we will be busy getting all sorts of goodies planted!!

We are looking forward to seeing all of you in April if not before!! Happy Winter!!

All of us at Circle A Garden