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Posted 3/3/2010 1:57pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello everyone,

Wow!! We finally got snow this last week..over a foot!! We were happy to see the moisture..Della and I had been talking about how to water the garlic and perennial plants without freezing up the valves on our drip system when it started snowing..for about three days straight..It is melting fast though this week..we have been sunny and in the 50's..feels like spring is on it's way!! We were thinking we were going to miss out on mud season this year!! .. Looks like we might get another storm later in the week though..
Everything is growing well in the propagation house..we now have onions, leeks, shallots, artichokes, celery, pansies, tomatoes for the high tunnel, cabbages, more lettuce, chinese cabbage,and radichio, all pricked up.. and have started eggplant and peppers for the high tunnel..tomatoes for the low tunnel..broccoli and cauliflower..celeriac..more greens and lettuce  for the high tunnel..they are starting to come up and will be ready to prick up in the next couple of weeks.
The high tunnel is starting to look green again..we can look down the beds and actually see things growing now..peas, carrots, turnips, green garlic and shallots, beets, spinach are all up and startining to grow..we have transplanted the chard, kale, bok choi,spring onions, collards, mizuna, lettuce, chinese cabbage and more!! All are looking happy despite the cold nights we had last week {we were down to 7 degrees} I think everything has grown at least an inch since Monday with all this nice warm sunshine!!

I am going to try to set up monthly workdays again this season. If these work days don't fit into your schedule, we can set up other times as well. We can also set up special sessions geared toward children as well.
Workdays for March will be Saturday March 20 and Wednesday March 24 10:00 am-3:00pm
projects for these days will be preparing beds outdoors for onions, leeks, shallots, peas, favas, and lentils. If they weather is bad we will work on the beds in the low tunnel..
Workdays for April will be Wednesday April 14 and Sunday April 18 10:00 am- 3:00 pm
projects for these days will be getting more beds ready for planting and getting potatoes planted

We will do the potluck lunch again for these  workdays..we will make a big pot of soup or chile..not sure just what yet ..Please let me know if you can make either of these days so I have an idea of how much soup to make..Come for the day or just a few hours..we will plan on eating around noon

Anticipated veggie pickup start date will be Saturday April 3  9:00 am - noon
It looks like we will be able to start veggie pickup in 4 weeks!! It is a bit hard to judge just what we will have available this first week but looks like we should have spinach, leeks, chard, kale, assorted other greens, green garlic and green shallots, and chives from the high tunnel {depending on what the weather does we may also have radishes, turnips, and salad greens..peas, beets, and carrots may need a couple more weeks} We should  have a few herbs and new zealand spinach from Della's greenhouse..and also a few things from storage;mainly garlic and shallots..

Farm tour..Saturday April 3  10:30 am - noonish..come see how the garden is growing..although we won't have much planted outdoors yet, the greenhouses and high tunnel will be bursting at the seams!!

We need your help.. Our anticipated start date for veggie pickup is in 4 weeks..we are hoping for a full membership this season {50-60 members}..Please talk us up with your friends, families, and co-workers..I can tell folks all about what and how we grow our veggies, but it is your enthusiasm that bring in the most new members!! Please let me know if you have anyone who sould like a tour or needs more information about our CSA..we can set up additional tours here in March.

...Please let me know if you need a partner. I will add it to this newsletter to see if we can hook you up with someone....
 we have an Ouray group forming..they would like a couple more folks from up that way to share pickup.

Returning members from 2009 will need to use this link;
circleagarden.com/members/returning   It should give you a place to type in your e-mail address {the one you used this season} It will send you an e-mail with a secure link that you can use to complete the signup process..{this verifies that you own the e-mail address}.. for those of you who are sharing..use the e-mail address of the primary user{should be whoever did the signup for this season}..If you have any problems please let me know..I did a test run and it looks like it all works, but..I am very new to all this and ....who knows when my little netherspere gremlin will pop up!!

New members will need to go to the website {www.circleagarden.com} and use the member signup.

Looking forward to spring!! Four weeks and counting down to first veggie pickup of the season!!

All of us at Circle A Garden



Posted 2/10/2010 2:27pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello everyone,

Well, Mr. Goundhog was able to see his shadow very well here. If he had waited a day, he may have decided on a quick trip down south!! {2/2 was a warm and sunny 50 degrees; 2/3 was a cold, cloudy 30 degrees}. Our Febuary weather contnues to be off and on; one day warm and sunny, the next cold and cloudy. We still haven't gotten much snow here at the farm. It's like there is a huge dome over an area that goes from about Colona to Olathe this winter; snow all around us, but we haven't gotten much of anything..if Murphy's Law is in effect this weekend we could have snow just for our workdays!!

All the transplants that we started in the propagation house last month are growing like weeds!! Many of them are ready to be transplanted into the high tunnel  next week. The celery, cabbage, lettuces, and hightunnel tomatoes we started last week are already coming up!! We have gotten a number of things planted {from seeds} in the high tunnel; carrots, greens, spinach, beets, peas, and turnips. This next week we will be seeding salad greens, more beets and peas, and radishes, as well as transplanting chard, kale, collards, lettuces, chinese cabbage, endive and radichio, mizuna, bok choi, and kohlrabi.  Outdoors we have gotten a good start on tree pruning.

We have found a few more interesting varieties of veggies to try out this year.
Two tomatoes from China; one is supposed t be violet purple with irridecient green stripes; the other light yellow with golden speckles; both are small {1-3 oz}.. a bit larger than a cherry tomato but not as big as some of our slicers. Both are supposed to have excellent taste.
Since our spinach season is fairly short,{mostly spring and fall since it doesn't tolerate heat very well}we have been looking some other mild greens that like the heat more. Last season we tried out New Zealand spinach in Della's greenhouse..it did very well and those of you who got to try it really liked it so we are going to try it larger amounts of it in the high tunnel. We are also going to try Malabar spinach in both Della's greenhouse and the high tunnel. {We have tried both of these outdoors in years past and they didn't do well for us..they would just get going well then the weather would cool off  and they would really struggle}
We have found a couple more interesting cucumbers. One is from Australia {Richmond Green Apple} that is similiar to the lemon cuc only it is green. The other is called Sikkum. The ripe fruit is a rusty red color and is good eaten either raw or cooked. {In Asia cucs are often stir fried and are supposed to be very tasty}
We are going to try out a couple more dry beans..Papa De Rola, from Portugal..1/2 white, 1/2 beige with red streaks..very tasty. Another is called Greasy Grits. {I just liked the name!!} The last one is called Succatash..it is shaped like a kernal of corn and is a deep purple color. I am not sure how many of these will be available for the CSA this fall..we just got enough seed to try out..if they do well for us we will save seed to plant for next year.

I am going to try to set up monthly workdays again this season. If these work days don't fit into your schedule, we can set up other times as well. We can also set up special sessions geared toward children as well.
Weather permitting Feb workdays are;{if we get much snow we will have to postpone until the snow melts}
Saturday Feb 13 and Sunday Feb 14  10 am-3 pm. The project for the weekend will be working on the low tunnel..Saturday we will work on much needed repairs to the frame..leveling out the arches..replacing purlons..repairing doors and windows. Sunday we will be putting the plastic on..
Denice, Micheal, and their family will be here to help with this project..they are our first 2 interns for the season {they are planning to be here most of the season; their goal for the future is to have their own farm and CSA in Maine}..

We will do the potluck lunch again for these  workdays..we will make a big pot of soup or chile..not sure just what yet {I found a recipe for a lentil and winter squash soup that looks yummy..I am thinking of trying it!!}..Please let me know if you can make either of these days so I have an idea of how much soup to make..Come for the day or just a few hours..we will plan on eating around noon

We are now taking new member signups for our 2010 season. Our anticipated start date for veggie pick up will be Saturday April 3.{we will let you know if this date needs to change..so much depends on what the weather does in the next 6 weeks} We can set up appointments for tours so that we can show you around and chat about what we do.{just give a call 970-249-9725 or shoot us an e-mail}

Thank you to all of you who have already signed up for the 2010 season!! This helps me in planning how much to plant in the greenhouses and high tunnel for April...it also gives me an idea of how many new members I can sign up after the New Year.. PLEASE..if you are planning to join us for another season of fresh veggies..take a few minutes to sign up...

Note: ...Please let me know if you need a partner. I will add it to this newsletter to see if we can hook you up with someone....
 we have an Ouray group forming..they would like a couple more folks from up that way to share pickup.
Also have a couple in Ridgway who need a third person to share a Mini..If you need someone to share with, please let me know..

Returning members from 2009 will need to use this link;
circleagarden.com/members/returning   It should give you a place to type in your e-mail address {the one you used this season} It will send you an e-mail with a secure link that you can use to complete the signup process..{this verifies that you own the e-mail address}.. for those of you who are sharing..use the e-mail address of the primary user{should be whoever did the signup for this season}..If you have any problems please let me know..I did a test run and it looks like it all works, but..I am very new to all this and ....who knows when my little netherspere gremlin will pop up!!

New members will need to go to the website {www.circleagarden.com} and use the member signup.

Looking forward to spring!! Six weeks and counting down to first veggie pickup of the season!!

All of us at Circle A Garden



Posted 3/26/2009 12:04am by Betsy Austin.




March has blown in; literally. Anything that wasn’t nailed down during the last week in February and the first week of March is now somewhere in Delta!!!  We woke up a week ago Tuesday to about six inches of snow. We were expecting maybe an inch so it was rather a shock!!  The moisture was nice though; we were getting a bit dry after all the wind.  It was all pretty much melted by Friday when we had our pruning day with our good friends from Buckhorn Gardens. Last week the weather was glorious!! We had lots of sunshine and just enough of a light breeze to cool us off while we are working. This week so far the weather has been cold and wet with a bit of rain, a bit of snow, and a lot of wind. Welcome to springtime in Colorado!! Now that spring is officially, here we can almost see the plants in the tunnel and the greenhouses grow as we watch. It is so wonderful to look down the tunnel and see all that green. It seemed like it was just a couple weeks ago that the beds were mostly brown {dirt colored}.

In the high tunnel, we have chard, kale, spinach, salad greens, turnips, radishes, green garlic, scallions, leeks, bok choi, mizuna, endive, arugula, mustard greens, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, radicchio, peas, carrots and more all up and growing rapidly. In the big greenhouse we have beets {we ran out of room for them in the high tunnel!!} growing on one side and trays of transplants {onions, leeks, parsley, broccoli, cabbage, artichokes, pansies, chard, kale, collards, and kohlrabi all just about ready to transplant out into the garden}. In the propagation house we have trays of cauliflower, celery, celeriac, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes and sweet peppers for the high tunnel, hot peppers, eggplant, and more. In Della’s greenhouse, she has a multitude of herbs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and more. In another couple of weeks they are all going to be bursting at the seams!! Outdoors, the garlic is starting to come up, the apricot trees are blooming {looks like they are going to get frozen again this year!!}, and many of our perennial plants are waking up. This last week we worked on getting the peas planted and the rest of the pruning done. We planted English peas, sugar snaps, and snow peas. If all goes well we should be harvesting peas toward the later part of May. Our thanks to Jill, Shane, Gillian, Keegan, and Lindsay for helping get them in!!  Della and Linda have been working on getting the raspberries and blackberries pruned and trellised.

Eric, our first intern of the season, arrived the evening before the snow. In the two weeks he has been here, he has transplanted lettuce and greens, picked spinach, and fertilized plants the high tunnel; potted up celery, celeriac, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and lettuce, and started seeds for more lettuce and summer squash in the propagation house; watered transplants, trimmed leeks and onions, and thinned beets in the big greenhouse; turned compost piles; prepared beds and planted peas, pruned trees, learned how to graft apple trees, and more outdoors. His ultimate goal is to be able to have his own small farm. He is planning to be here until the end of the season. Please help us in welcoming him to Circle A and Western Colorado!! He is doing a blog of his experiences here {http://www.greenplanetweb.com/blog}  if you would like to check it out.



The first veggie pickup of the 2009 season will be Saturday, April 4th .  Pickup time is from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon.  Some of the goodies that we will have include: chard, kale, bok choi, arugula, mizuna, {and a few other greens} spinach, salad greens, green garlic, leeks, radishes, salad turnips, horseradish, sunchokes, and a few early herbs. We may also have beets and carrots, but they still look pretty small, I’m not sure if they will be ready the first week.  Once again our first veggie pickup is in the middle of spring break. Several folks have already let me know that they will be out of town and someone else will be picking up for them. Please let me know if you aren’t going to be able to pick up this first week or if someone else will be picking up for  you. We can also bag your veggies for you and hold them until Mon or Tues; but we need to know ahead of time.

We still have a few openings in our CSA. If you know anyone who is interested in fresh local produce, please have them get in touch with us.


A few things to keep in mind as we start the new season;

  •    Making arrangements to pick up your veggies on Saturday mornings is your responsibility. Pick up time is 9:00 am – 12 noon. Until the time changes again in the fall. Many of you are sharing a membership; please help each other to remember that veggies need to be picked up Saturday morning unless you have made prior arrangements with us.  If you do not pick up your veggies on Saturday and haven’t made prior arrangements; your veggies will be eaten by our interns or donated to Christ’s Kitchen {local soup kitchen here in Montrose}
  •    We can bag your produce for you  {up to 6 times during the season for no charge} if you are not able to pick up. We need to know ahead of time if we need to do this {Thursday or Friday would be great, but we will bag your veggies for you if you let us know before noon on Saturday} Please remember that choices will be ours. All veggies need to be picked up before Monday so we can clean out the cooler for a new week. Any veggies left in the cooler Tuesday morning will be greatly appreciated by our interns or donated to Christ’s Kitchen!!
  •    Please remember to check off your name off the list so we know who has picked up. {if someone else is picking up for you, please remind them as well}
  •      We encourage all our members to bring their own bags, boxes, etc for their veggies. We do have bags available if needed {we recycle clean plastic grocery bags from our members} Also, many choices are in fiber boxes. Please return them so we can use them again. {if they are dirty, falling apart, etc, please compost them!!} We can also recycle clean plastic clamshells!!
  •    If you are coming to the farm on a day other than Saturday morning, please let us know in advance. We love to have our members visit!! But we have a dog {Oreo}who likes to be outdoors much of the season. For your safety and her comfort, we would like to have her in when we have visitors. {we also want to make sure we are here to show you around!!}
  •    Please be kind to your fellow members. We grow a wide variety of produce and some things we don’t grow enough of for everyone to have every week.{some are things that not everyone is familiar with that we grow in limited amounts and some just don’t produce as well as we anticipated} We want all our members to be able to try everything at least once during the season. We will try to mark those things that we have in limited quantity. Please be adventurous and try new things!!
  •    We do have a work requirement. {12 hours per season} We want to re-connect folks with their food sources; show you a bit of what goes into producing the food you eat. We are very flexable and can work around your schedules. We can set up times from early morning into the evenings Monday-Saturday. We are also able to customize your time here on the farm; if you have children, we have a special program where we scale down what we do to their age and abilities; if you have a physical problem {bad back, etc} we can find less strenuous things for you to do.
  •    If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know!!


We would love to show you all around!! Let us know if you would like a tour and we’ll set up a time for you to come out and see what we are up to.

I also plan on doing a tour on April 4th. We’ll start about 10:30. A tour takes about 1-11/2 hours, depending on how many questions there are. We encourage all our members to periodically tour the gardens; they are changing on a weekly basis now.



 Spinach {spinacea oleracea} is a member of the goosefoot family {Amaranthacae}. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. It was first cultivated in southwestern Asia {possibly Persia} In 647 the Chinese referred to it as the “herb of Persia”. It arrived in North Africa through Syria and Arabia and in 1100 the Moors introduced it to Spain. Over the next century, prickly seeded spinach spread throughout Europe and was primarily grown in monastery gardens. A cookbook dating from 1390{belonging to King Richard II} contains spanach recipes. Smooth seeded spinach{the type most commonly grown in the US} seems to have spread through Europe slightly later. Uses for it  in England are first documented in 1551. Early English settlers brought it to America and by 1806 had become a popular vegetable and was listed in American seed catalogues. In 1920 the US started pushing spinach commercially, with Popeye the Sailorman cartoon being a great advocate in spinach consumption.The word spinach is derived from the Persian word “ispania” meaning green hand which later became Spanachia{late Latin} to spinach and spinage{English}There are 1,400 species of spinach in the world today.Other related species using spinach in their name include chard {beta vulgaris; spinach beet, perpetual spinach}; Orach {Atriplex species, mountain spinach or French spinach}; and Good King Henry {Chenopodium bonus henricus, linconshire spinach}. It is also related to beets and lambsquarter.Spinach is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and K,manganese, magnesium,folate and antioxidents.  The best ways to eat spinach are raw and lightly cooked or steamed. Some of our favorite uses for spinach are spinach salad, quiche, and lasagna.I have added 2 new recipes to the website {www.circleagarden.com}; Garlic spinach and Curry spinach. Both are very tasty using spinach, but you can use other greens as well. 


Looking forward to seeing you all on the 4th of April!

All of us at Circle A Garden   


Posted 2/8/2009 6:54am by Betsy Austin.


Hope you have all had a chance to enjoy the glorious January weather!! Such a switch from last year!! It hasn’t been as cold{only a couple of nights that dropped below zero}, a lot less snow, and a lot more sunshine.  Last year at this time we were running out of places to put any more snow when we were clearing paths to the mailbox and the greenhouses. A good bit of our snow that we got in late Dec. is already melting. {now we just have to figure out what to do with all the mud!!} The forecast is calling for more moisture the next few days, so we may get a bit more snow, but who knows… we may just get rain down here. So long as the mountains continue to get snow, we’ll be happy!!


We have gotten most of our seed orders placed and most of the seeds are here.. We have just a few odds and ends left to order. We found a few new things we want to try this season.  We found several tomatoes that look like they will be fun to try {as well as yummy!!}; Pink Grapefruit with dark yellow fruit that are blushing pink inside and have a sweet tart taste with citrus overtones; Vintage Wine; pink with gold striped, pastel hued tomatoes with an elegant sweet delicious flavor; Blondkopfchen; a brilliant yellow gold cherry tomato that has a deliciously sweet flavor with a slight citrusy tart finish; and Red Fig; a red pear tomato with a wonderful delicious sweet flavor that was named for a sweet delicacy that was made with it in the mid 1800’s. It will be interesting to see if they live up to the descriptions!! Another thing we want to try is called Agretti. It is a cool season green popular in Italy that has a crisp texture and a tart taste. We are also trialing a couple of different Chinese cabbage, a couple of radicchios, and a long Italian frying pepper. We’ll keep you posted on how they do for us and will want your feedback if we have enough o them for the CSA.


Mom and I are plugging along in the propagation house and the high tunnel. Thanks to Jenny, Barb, and Larry, we have all the beds in the high tunnel cleared. So far, we have green onions, green garlic, spinach, peas, carrots, beets, and the first succession of greens planted. This next week we hope to get more spinach, chard, kale, and lettuce in. In the propagation house, we have onions, leeks, shallots, parsley, cabbage, artichokes, marjoram, thyme, lavender, pansies, celery, celeriac, and the heirloom tomatoes for the high tunnel all started. {most are now up and growing well} The first planting of lettuce, chard, kale, Chinese cabbage, and radicchio are ready to be transplanted to the high tunnel this week. 

During Feb. Mom and I will be planting more things in the high tunnel; transplanting all those chard, kale, choi and lettuces, watering, weeding and watching everything as it starts to come up.  In the propagation house we will be starting cauliflower, broccoli, more lettuces {we do successions of lettuce all spring} We will be pricking up the cabbages, artichokes, parsley, high tunnel tomatoes {Della will be starting the other tomatoes later in the greenhouse off the main house}as they get big enough.

Della and Linda have been busy redoing the greenhouse off the main house. They are redoing the beds, changing the ventilation system, and hopefully creating more room for transplants. Della already has plans for all sorts of unique plants to grow!! By the time they get finished it should be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, have twice the space for transplants, and all sorts of strange and wonderful plants growing!!



The pea is a legume in the Fabaceae family. It is most closely related to beans of all sorts {green and dry, favas, soy, etc.}, but you will find many other nitrogen fixing plants such as clover, alfalfa, vetch, indigo and locust in the Fabaceae family.  Food historians have differing opinions on the exact homeland of the pea. One group believes that it originated in a region that spans the near or middle east across to central Asia.  Other historians believe the country of origin may have been northern India, Burma or northern Thailand. The word “peas” comes from the Latin “pisum” The old English word was “pise” which evolved into the word “pease”.  By the 1600’s, the se was dropped to form the singular word pea. You may remember the old English rhyme; Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot, Nine days old. {Pease porridge was a staple food of the peasants in the middle ages. They had a pot over the fire that they added dried peas and any other vegetables and herbs they had on hand. They would eat some and just keep adding more peas, etc. each day.}In early times, peas were grown mainly for their dry seeds. Along with lentils and broad beans, peas formed an important part of the diet of most people during the middle ages. They are one of the earliest cultivated food crops and ranks among the oldest grain legumes of the old world.Eating peas as a green vegetable was not common until 1700’s. Even toward the end of the 17th century they were such a rare delicacy that fantastic prices were sometimes paid for them. Louis XIV popularized green peas in France by making them an item of high regard on the menus of parties held at his palace.The garden pea or English pea as we know it today was developed from a field pea during the 18th century. Thomas Jefferson grew over 30 varieties of garden peas at Monticello.Some sources I found credit China with the development of the snow pea while others credit Holland. Sugar snap peas are a cross between English peas and snow peas and weren’t developed until the 1970’s.France, China, Denmark, and Russia lead the world in production of dried peas, while the USA, England, Hungary, and India produce mainly green peas.Peas are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, B6, B1, B2, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, and phosphorus.Peas are great eating raw; many of them don’t even make it in out of the field when we pick!! They can be added to salads or stir-fries, can be steamed and are excellent with new potatoes and/or pearl onions.     I added a new recipe to the website;{www.circleagarden.com} Spicy Peas and Rice. 


April 4, 2009 is the anticipated date for our first veggie pickup of the new season. {Weather permitting of course!!} Last season we had 38 members. We are increasing our membership to 50 shares {hopefully an even mix of all three sizes}. We have a new feature on the website for CSA signup this season. I am hoping that it will make things a bit simpler and less of a hassle for all of us. {look under Our Products for member signup; not mail list}. You will need to choose the size share you would like {full, mini, tiny}, your payment option {all, ½, or ¼}, answer a couple of questions, fill in your name and contact information, and send us a check in the mail. You will get a confirmation e-mail and when we receive your payment you will get another one confirming your payment and the amount you owe.  Please include the size share you are getting and your name {and if you are sharing with someone, their name} with your payments.  If you were a member last season and are planning on returning, Please let me know ASAP. I have not heard from some of you who indicated in December that you were going to join us again for the 2009 season. I need to know soonest just how many new members we need!!! Give me a call or shoot me an e-mail so I can reserve your space!!                                                               


We are already starting to plant for the new season. In February, we will be planting in the hightunnel and starting transplants in the propagation house. In March we will be working on the low tunnel, pruning trees and shrubs, getting beds ready to plant outdoors, starting to plant cool season crops, and starting new transplants in the propagation house. Please consider joining us in getting ready for the coming season!! Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!!


Hope you all have a happy and healthy February!!

All of us at 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

Posted 10/16/2008 11:26pm by Betsy Austin.
Hello everyone,I must apologize for the delay in sending out a newsletter. It has been a while. It does not seem like it should be the middle of October already!! Wasn’t it August just a few days ago?? We have been busy, busy , busy since the last newsletter. The season was late getting started but then all of a sudden…..we were harvesting 5 & 6 days a week; doing the CSA and our market on the weekends, and trying to put up as much as we could for the winter!! Now that we have gotten our first frost, {way late this year!! We were down to 20 degrees on Monday morning, brr.}, things have slowed down just a bit. 

 While some things just did not do well as well this season, others did much better. It has been an interesting year; snowy and cold until May; late frost both the 1st and 2nd weeks in June; warm and dry until this last few days {we are still waiting for our “monsoon” rains to start!!}; still very dry but cold this week {first frost of the fall about a month late!!}; warming up now for the weekend.  Some of the things that did not do as well were eggplant {it’s a little iffy for us anyway; we get a bumper crop about every 4th year or so; something about our wonderful cool nights that it just doesn’t like!!}, green beans {once they got going they did pretty well, but we usually have an over abundance for a much longer period of time}, cucumbers {we planted a lot fewer this year because we usually have many more than anyone can use; so of course they decided to not produce as well as normal!!}, winter squash {just didn’t have enough time to mature, so we have about 1/3 of what we usually do} and of course much of our tree fruit got frosted again this season {we had more than last year, but not great quantities of any}.

  Those things that did better this year were summer squash {thank goodness I didn’t plant as much as I originally planned; there were a number of weeks that they went wild!! On average we generally harvest 50-60 lbs of the baby summer squash, this year, there were weeks when we had 80-90 lbs!!}, basil {it was a bit later than normal, but once it got going; wow!!}, beets and carrots did well {I don’t think I will ever be able to plant enough carrots; every year I plant more, but seems like it is never enough!!}, sweet peppers {especially the purple ones just kept on going}, grapes {they did amazingly well; they got frozen back pretty badly, but managed to overcome.}, blackberries, {did much better this year; another of those things that we just can’t produce enough of and still have room for all the other things we grow!!}, tomatoes {very late; took them forever to start ripening, but overall did well}, melons {a much better year than last, but late getting going}. Most everything else did about average this year. A few things that we don’t know yet how well they did; we are just getting started harvesting potatoes, sunchokes, celeriac, parsnips and our other late fall crops. Thanks to Barbara and Larry, we have the first variety of potatoes harvested. They harvested the All Blue today; if they are any indication; we should have a potato or two. {one variety down, seven to go!!}. We have gotten some feed back from you all on some of the different varieties of veggies we grow. We need to know what varieties you like the best so we can start planning for next season.  I will have a survey towards the end of the CSA that I hope you all will take time to fill out. In addition to some of your likes and dislikes, I would like to expand it a bit and add favorite and least favorite variety. If you are not sure of the variety, talk to me during pickup and you can give me a description or show me which ones are your favorites. The more information you can give us, the better we can plan for next year!! We also need some feedback on how we are doing with the sizes of shares. This has been an ongoing struggle for us; we don’t want to overwhelm you with too many veggies, but also want to make sure you are getting enough each week.   Also, in planning for next season, we need to know if you will be returning for the 2009 season.  We are asking that all our returning members pay a deposit in Dec. again this year. {$50.00 to be deducted from your first payment in Jan.} This will give us an idea of how many new members we will need next year. First payment for returning members will be due mid January; this gives us some much needed income for all those expenses we have early in the season before any crops are in the ground; seed, fertilizer, labor, electricity, etc. Please also be aware that we will need to increase the cost of each share this year. All of our expenses have gone up this year and we expect them to increase even more this coming season. We will try to keep the cost down as much as possible. Right now it looks like we can get by with a 10-15 percent increase. {I will know better by early Dec when the first seed catalogues come out; rumor has it that some seed prices are going up dramatically} We hate to increase our prices, but we also need to make sure that our expenses are covered!! On a much happier note, we have nine more weeks left in the CSA for 2008.  Summer squash, green beans, cucumbers and all those wonderful warm, summer season veggies are making way for fall goodies. You can look forward to parsnips, beets, carrots, turnip, radishes, sunchokes, potatoes, onions, leeks, celeriac, root parsley, salsify, salad greens, chard, kale, bok choi, and more!! We will still have peppers and tomatoes for a couple more weeks.  

We would like to thank all of you who have come out to help this season. It has been great working with you and getting to know you!! Many of you have been very good about getting your hours in; some of you have come out more than required. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Your hard work and diligence is appreciated more than you know!!

 For those of you that we have not seen yet this season, there are still plenty of things going on. There is still lots of harvesting that needs to be done; potatoes, onions, sunchokes, etc.   For those of you who need something a bit less physical there are dry beans and chickpeas to harvest and shell, potatoes to sort, and onions to braid for storage. In November, the garlic needs to be planted. And we can start getting the tunnel and greenhouses ready for next season. Please make time to come out….bask in the sunshine…listen to the birds sing….enjoy the beautiful fall weather…learn more about how your food is grown. We would like to see everyone at least once this season!! {if you break down our time requirement it comes out to less than 25 min. per week!!} Tomorrow is harvest day!! We will be harvesting all kinds of goodies for you to enjoy. My short list includes potatoes, turnips, radishes, beets, carrots, onions, leeks, salsify, root parsley, celeriac, broccoli, cauliflower, sunchokes, salad greens, chard, kale, and bok choi. This is the short list; I always discover something I have forgotten to put on the list!! Please be aware that our pick up times will be changing November 1. New time will be from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm!! The mornings are colder and darker now. It takes us a couple of hours to set things up and we like to wait until it is light a a bit warmer before we start!!Looking forward to seeing you all Saturday morning!!All of us at Circle A Garden   
Posted 7/31/2008 10:05pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello again everyone,

It is hard to believe that tommorow is the 1st of August!! Wasn't May just a couple of weeks ago??!! {we have been fondly remembering the cooler temperatures!!} The garden has changed so much in the last six weeks; if you haven't seen it in a while; you won't recognize it!! We would like to encourage everyone to take a bit of time and see all the changes. If you would like a tour, please let me know!!

Some of the most dramatic changes over the last few weeks:

The garlic is all harvested!! {and have we been enjoying all the fresh garlic!!} That area has now been re-planted to beets, carrots, scallions, turnips, winter radish, and more. We have one more bed to plant. {it will have greens for the fall}

The beans are to the top of their trellises. We should have romano beans next week and possibly the purple podded green bean. The regular green beans and the rattlesnake bean {the green one with the purple splotches} will be ready to pick in about 10 days. {We chickened out and waited a week to plant them when we had all the frost back in mid-June}

The first planting of summer squash has reached frightening proportions!! Some of them are chest high and 6-8 feet around!! We are starting to get lost in there when we pick!!

The tomatoes in the high tunnel are topping the trellis; as well as the cucs and the red noodle beans.

The melons have taken over their space. The broccoli and cauliflower are getting huge!!

Best of all, we are starting to be able to harvest a lot of new things each week!! Summer squash, tomatoes, a few peppers, onions, broccoli, a bit of okra {it is really liking the high tunnel}, cucumbers, cabbage, kohlrabi, and more!!

Thank you all for bearing with us during the late spring. There were a few weeks during our transition from the high tunnel to outdoors that we didn't have a good supply of veggies to harvest. Barring any surprizes from Mother Nature {hail storms, early frost, etc.}, we should have a bountiful season!!

We are starting to harvest veggies most of the week now. Our basic harvest schedule right now is:

Monday; summer squash, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes,{we are also starting to make pickles next week}

Tuesday:catch up day, pickles

Wednesday: summer squash, tomatoes

Thursday: cucumbers, okra, beans,peppers, herbs, edible flowers, artichokes

Friday: summer squash, tomatoes, broccoli, salad greens, chard, kale, onions, turnips, beets, carrots, parsley, basil, cabbage, kohlrabi, and anything else that we haven't harvested the rest of the week.

Every evening: check melons {we check them in the evening and will pick anything that is ready so the skunks don't get them before we do!!

We start early {6 or 6:30 ish} and try to have everything picked before noon. Please consider coming out and helping to harvest the bounty!!

We would like to thank all of you who have come out to help during the first half of the season. Your hard work and TLC are paying off. Everything is just growing so well!! Thank you!! Thank You!! I hope that you have had as much fun as we have!!

Just a reminder for those of you who are paying installments on your CSA share{those of you who joined before May 31}; next payment is due today!!

Thank you all for supporting local agriculture!! See you all Saturday.

All of us at Circle A Garden

Posted 7/15/2008 6:22pm by Betsy Austin.
Want to learn more about how food is grown? We have several openings starting the first of August and on into the fall. Come and learn about growing food without harmful chemicals!! For more information about what you can learn here, please check out our internship page/and or contact us....
Posted 6/20/2008 7:49pm by Betsy Austin.

Happy Solstice everyone!!

Well, it is now mid-June and things are really heating up this week!! Last week we {hopefully??} had our last bit of frost and cold tempuratures until fall. Wednesday evening was spent covering over 600 newly transplanted plants {peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and more}. Our main thoughts while we were covering; " So glad it's not pouring down rain!!" {in years past we have had to do this in the worst possible weather; wet, cold, and windy} and "Boy are we glad we waited to plant the melons {over 100 plants}, the rest of the cucs {another 100}, the basil {over 200}, the winter squash {about 100}, and all the little odds and ends {probablly another 100}!! We were out early Thursday morning to uncover everyone; but then had to turn around and cover them back up again that evening. They are all looking well though and starting to grow rapidly!! {Wed. night our low was 28 and Thurs it was 30, so covering it all was a good thing!!}This week the cool temperatures have been a fond memory.

We continue to plant, plant, plant!! We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our big push this next week is to get the basil, corn, winter sqash and all those odds and ends in. Then it will be on to weeding and mulching and waiting for nature's bounty!!

The peas are finally ready!! We have been waiting and waiting for them to start. Well this week we have an abundance. {and thanks to Sarah, Jenny, Barbara, and Mac, we were able to get them all harvested and in to the cooler before lunch. You all don't know how much Mom, Robyn and I appreciated your hard work!!} Hopefully we will have lots of peas for the next two or three weeks, it will depend on how they tolorate all this heat!!

I posted a couple more recipes to the website; one for kale and one for sugar snaps. If any of you have any recipes you are willing to share, please send them to me in a word doc. and I will get them posted. {please be sure and add where you got the recipe}

This week we also have an abundance of garlic scapes. They are the flower stalks on the hardneck garlics. They have a mild garlic flavor and are wonderful in salads, stirfry, etc. They also will make a nice addition to herb vinegars {see the recipe on the website for Chive Blossom Vinegar}. It looks like our garlic harvest may be earlier than I thought. It is generally about 2-3 weeks after the scapes start to appear that the garlic is ready to harvest. I can't wait!!

We'd also like to thank Kathy and Gail for helping get the space ready for melons. We had a class of school children come out Tues to help plant and thanks to you ladies, we were ready for them!!

Thank you all for your continued support and understanding. This spring has played havoc with my timetable of available veggies.

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!!

All of us at Circle A


Posted 5/30/2008 11:38pm by Betsy Austin.

Hello everyone!!

It has been a busy two weeks!! We have been in planting mode, getting more goodies into the ground!! The potatoes are all in {and starting to come up}. Thanks Bettye and Sarah for all your hard work!! Artichokes are in. {thanks Leslie}. The last planting of lettuce is in {thanks again, Sarah}. The first of the outside broccoli is in.{thanks Kathy and Sheelagh}. The second planting of summer squash and the first outdoor planting of slicing cucs are in {thanks Gail}. We planted chickpeas, edamame, more carrots, scallion, and kolrabi, and I'm working on more beets, turnips, salad greens; fennel, daikon,podding radish, and more goodies.


Mom has been working on getting some of our earlier plantings weeded. So far she has worked here way through the onions {with Leslie's help}, beets, and carrots. Robyn and I have gotten through the parsnips, scorenza, salsify,root parsley, and part of the lettuce. {In between planting!!}. Della and Linda have been working on getting the blackberries pruned and trellised, and getting the area for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillo, and other assorted nightshades ready to plant.


On our walks through the garden this week, we have notice many fun things begining to happen; the potatoes are coming up, one of the tomatoes in the high tunnel has little tomatoes, the first planting of summer squash is starting to bloom, the quince is blooming, as well as the grapes, the peas outdoors are blooming {we may have a few english peas ready to harvest next week!!}, the fava beans are blooming. Also getting into the blooming act are the columbine, mountain bluet, and crmson clover. But the best thing so far {and I'm knocking on wood as I say this}; it hasn't snowed for two weeks!!!


This weeks CSA is going to be a bit leaner than the past 8 weeks. We have harvested most of our early season veggies from the high tunnel and many of our plantings we were counting on just aren't quite ready yet. The spinach is done until the fall, green onions and green garlic are all gone. We harvested the last of the turnips and radishes from the high tunnel today. Garlic scapes should be coming on soon though and scallions are growing {but still very small}. The Walla Walla onions may be ready to harvest by the end of June. We harvested the last of the lettuce and chinese cabbage from the high tunnel today, but the next planting outdoors needs another week. {the cold slowed it way down, we planted it with the idea of starting to harvest it last week. Carrots are doing well {we have two more weeks worth left in the high tunnel and the ones outside should be ready by then. The beets are just starting to come on; they are a bit slow but we are getting a few more each week. The peas in the high tunnel are doing well and it looks like we may have more from outside next week.


This week each share will get peas and carrots, the greens and the herbs will be the same. There are fewer choices per share this week. They are lettuce, chinese cabbage, beets, turnips, radishes, the last of the rhubarb, more greens, horseradish,edible flowers, mint, lovage. Please bear with us a couple of weeks, more great veggies are on the way!!

I have added two recipes to the website. One is for chive blossom vinegar {it can also be used with other edible flowers and herbs} and the other is for a chines cabbage salad. On my walk through the garden this evening I took some new pictures. i will try to get them added to the website this weekend.


This coming week we have on the agenda; getting the pickling cucs, trellis tomatoes, the rest of the cauliflower and broccoli in,peas weeded again, and the first half of the beans planted. {we may still have one more frost so we are hedging our bets a bit}. This is an exciting time of year here on the farm; the weather has warmed up, seeds are sprouting and plants are growing rapidly; it seems like things are changing daily. Please consider coming out to the farm and helping us out!!! Those of you who have already come out:THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Your help has been greatly appreciated!! We have enjoyed working with you and getting to know you better. You are all awesome!!


I would also like to thank all of you who have spread the word!!! Our best advertizing is word of mouth. I can tell folks about the farm, the CSA, and what we do here and why, but your enthusiasm is what gets them hooked!!


On another note we do have a couple of issues to address. One is folks not picking up their veggies on Saturday morning. We know that life happens!! But we need to know before noon on Sat if you are running late. We will be happy to pack up your vegies and store them in the cooler if we know you can't make it. {please pick them up before Monday though so we can clean out the cooler unless you have made prior arrangement.} If you don't pick up your veggies or let us know by noon on Sat, they will be eaten by our interns or donated to Christ's Kitchen!!

The other issue is with our dog. We love having folks come out to visit the farm. But with the exception of Sat morning, PLEASE call before you come out!! {and if you are referring a new member please have them call as well}. We adopted Oreo {the dog} from the humane society several years ago. We are pretty sure she was badly abused before she came to us. Although she is doing much better, she still is not very trusting of strangers. Once she gets to know you {and teaches you how to play ball her way}, she is fine. This time of year she spends most of her time outdoors with us. For her comfort and your safety, PLEASE call ahead.


Once again thank you all for supporting local family farms!!

See you all soon,

All of us at Circle A,

Betsy, Della, Jeanne, Robyn,Linda {and Oreo}