Tag Archive: gardening

Happy Independence Day

1840 Farm FlagI grew up celebrating Independence Day with sparklers and barbecue. We lived in Kansas and didn’t really need the guise of a holiday as an excuse to eat barbecue. Fourth of July parades and celebrations seemed to be as ubiquitous as sunshine on a summer day during those years.

There were opportunities for fun everywhere I looked. Children ran through neighboring yards while flags flapped on front porches. As darkness enveloped the neighborhood, fireflies were caught in jars and held just long enough to marvel at their luminescence before releasing them back into the humid, warm air. Those Independence Day celebrations were filled with family, food and the pride we felt in being Americans.

These days, I celebrate the Fourth of July with my family in New England. Our geography has changed along with the way I view this holiday and commemorate its meaning. Living in a farmhouse that has seen so much of our nation’s history has strengthened my connection to this day.Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes at 1840 Farm

In my opinion, every chicken keeper celebrates their freedom each time they collect an egg from their coop just as every gardener celebrates with each tomato they harvest fresh from the vine. Choosing to raise your own food rather than simply purchase it at the local grocery store is an epic decision. Every meal that consists of fresh food personally raised, harvested and tended is a celebration of an independent spirit and the determination to hold our food supply close at hand.

I don’t take my freedom to make this choice for granted. Instead, I celebrate the opportunity we have been given to live on our farm and learn the real value of the food that graces our dinner plates. Generations ago, Americans learned that lesson by working on their own farms. They had firsthand knowledge of the amazing effort required to raise a baby chick to the day it laid its first egg or tend a crop and bring it to harvest.

Chickens are an integral part of our nation’s long history. When our nation celebrated the first “Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America” in 1777, it was more notable to be an American who didn’t keep chickens. Chickens were easily accessible to the colonists and critically important to their daily survival. They were equally important to our Founding Fathers and the settlers who came before them.

BerthaChickens arrived in the New World after long voyages to Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth Rock in 1620. Those chickens helped travelers endure long journeys at sea and set down roots in their new communities in the New World. In those settlements, a chicken was a prized possession and held the promise of the incredible ability to produce food for your family.

In the early 1800s, chickens were a common sight on large plantations, estates and even the yards of modest homes. They were likely to be seen strutting through the streets of the early cities and towns looking for food. In those days, chicken was rarely seen on the dinner plate of average citizens.

Chickens were instead kept for their egg-laying capabilities. An egg-laying hen could supply a family with many meals compared to the single meal a chicken dressed for service on the dinner table provided. The lacking nutritional quality of the bird’s diet was also a contributing factor. Instead of carefully formulated, complete chicken feeds, chickens were fed diets consisting almost entirely of kitchen scraps. While today’s chicks can mature to table weight in as little as 8 weeks, back in the Colonist’s day it could take as long as six months.

At that time in our nation’s history, chickens were kept by Americans of all classes and backgrounds. Slaves were often allowed to keep a few hens at their quarters to supplement their diets or to trade or sell the resulting eggs. Poor families kept hens loose in their backyards to help dispose of kitchen waste and to assist in turning manure piles. Only the wealthy could afford to house their birds in decorative coops within the confines of their manicured gardens and lawns.

Care of the family flock fell mostly to the women in the early days of our country. It was lighter work than tending to the larger livestock and a chore easily managed by a woman and her children. Even the youngest child could gather fresh eggs and bring them into the farmhouse kitchen.

George Washington kept Dominique chickens along with other heritage breeds of livestock at his estate, Mount Vernon. By all accounts, he was captivated by animal husbandry. In fact, he longed to leave both the military and the presidency to return to his beloved farm. Washington carefully selected the breeds of livestock kept on his estate and endeavored to make use of every single product and byproduct of their life cycle.Necessaries at Mount Vernon

Most notably, he aimed to incorporate their manure as rich fertilizer in the cultivation of his gardens and crops. In fact, he didn’t only collect fertilizer from his farm animals. He also constructed and located his “necessaries” within the aesthetic design of the grounds at Mount Vernon. Years ago, when I visited, I noticed these impressive, elevated structures with brick foundations and even photographed them. Only after reading Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners did I learn that they were in fact the outhouses purposely located in the ornamental gardens at Mount Vernon.

Our second president, John Adams’ relationship with chickens was slightly different. Like Washington, he saw himself as a farmer. He returned to Peacefield in Quincy, Mass., after losing a bitter election to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. While he hadn’t left political life willingly, he consoled himself with the work of his farm and lived there happily until his death in 1826.

His wife, Abigail, so loved her chickens and ducks that she tended to their daily needs herself. In fact, she remarked to Thomas Jefferson after living in France and England as a diplomat’s wife that, “I seldom meet with characters so inoffensive as my hens and chickens.” She much preferred the company of her hens to that of the dignitaries in St. James’ Court.

MonticelloA discussion of our nation’s history of farming would be incomplete without mention of Thomas Jefferson. He loved agriculture and believed that its advancement should be our primary national endeavor. His affection for gardening and farming included an affinity for chickens. While living in the President’s House, Jefferson exchanged letters with his granddaughter Ellen regarding a pair of bantams he had sent her. It was his hope that she would have the opportunity to experience the joy of chicken raising.

By the time Jefferson left the President’s House to return home to his famed gardens at Monticello, America had been celebrating its Independence Day for more than three decades. The landscape of the country was expanding, as was its agricultural knowledge. Agricultural fairs began to gain popularity and provided an opportunity for farmers to learn about new techniques, show their prized poultry and livestock, and spend time with other members of their local farming communities.

1840 Farm has stood for more than 170 Independence Day celebrations. This year, we’ll mark the occasion by spending the day together at our farm. The flag will wave from its perch on the front porch as our day begins in the quiet of the barn and garden. There will be homemade food to enjoy for family dinner as dusk approaches.

We’ll attend our town’s fireworks display and then return home to put the farm to bed for the evening. In the end, it will be a celebration filled with family, food and the immense pride we feel in being independent American farmers. Somehow, I think it’s exactly what the Founding Fathers would have wanted.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/07/independenceday/

Repurposed Gardening – Seed Starting Containers and Feed Bag Weed Barrier

I love to find a new purpose for materials that would otherwise be discarded.  I enjoy the challenge of re-imagining the use of items found in our recycling bin or stored in the old hay loft of our barn.  I also much prefer using materials that I already have on hand instead of buying something brand new.

A few of my favorite repurposed materials are put to use here in our gardens at 1840 Farm each growing season.  We have found them to be incredibly effective and cost saving.  I hope that you will enjoy using these no cost, repurposed materials in your garden this year.

Dairy Carton Seed Starting Containers

 Recycled Seed Starting Containers at 1840 FarmWe give our garden a head start by planting seeds indoors long before the weather outside would permit us to plant directly in the garden beds.  Here in New England, our growing season is painfully short, averaging about 120 days from start to finish.  In order to have a successful harvest, we need to give our heirlooms a good start inside the farmhouse.

In the spring, we plant our seeds down in the old root cellar of the farmhouse.  With enough light and attention, they grow well and ensure that we will be able to harvest our beloved heirloom tomatoes before the first frost occurs in fall.  Because we grow our plants from seed, we are able to purchase a diverse variety of heirlooms.  For less than the price of one healthy seedling from a nursery, we can purchase a packet of heirloom seeds to grow at least 20 seedlings.  We also love having the ability to seek out extremely rare and interesting varieties that are not available at our local garden center.

We use many of our seed starting supplies year after year.  No matter how many trays and containers we have, we always seem to need more.  We discovered last year that we had the perfect containers for our tiniest seeds right in our recycling bin.

We like to broadcast plant the tiny lettuce, herb, and onion seeds and then divide them by hand as they are added to the garden.  We find that this saves time by allowing us to tend to the young plants for several weeks without needing to thin them or move them to larger and larger containers.  The resulting plants are strong and healthy with well developed root systems.

We discovered that paper dairy cartons made ideal containers for these seeds.  By removing the top surface of the empty cartons, we create fantastic seed starting containers for these crops. The money we save by using these containers easily covers the cost of the seeds we plant in them.

Simply rinse out the used paper container before removing one side of the carton with a sharp knife or scissors.  Fill the container two-thirds full with your favorite seed starting mix.  Scatter the tiny seeds over the top of the mix before covering the seeds with more seed starting mix.  Label the container and tend as you would any newly planted seeds.  After moving the healthy plants to your garden, the container can be added to your recycling bin.

Creating Repurposed Seed Starting Containers at 1840 Farm  Recycled Dairy Carton Seed Starting Containers at 1840 Farm

Paper Feed Bag Weed Barrier

I love to spend a summer day working in the garden.  We plant close to 100 heirloom tomato plants each year along with cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, and countless other crops.  With so many plants, there is always something that needs to be done.  I enjoy the work, knowing that my efforts will produce delicious, fresh food for our family table..

One garden job that I could do without is weeding.  I know that weeding is necessary, but I want to spend as little time as possible pulling weeds.  Weeding our raised beds helps our plants to have all of the soil’s nutrients instead of sharing them with the weeds that will happily take over.  Yet I find weeding to be my least favorite chore in the garden.  I love sharing the weeds with our hens as a fresh treat, but I can find plenty of fresh treats for them from the garden without spending hours pulling weeds.  I also find the prospect of spending a large portion of my gardening budget on weed barrier to be rather unpleasant.

Luckily, we have a steady supply of weed barrier materials thanks to our chickens and goats.  Our animal feed is packaged in paper bags that make a fabulous weed barrier.  I stockpile them all winter long in the barn for this purpose.  When planting time finally arrives, I can transform each large bag into a flat piece of paper weed barrier with a few snips of my garden shears.  Using landscaping staples, I secure each piece to the soil, covering all but the perimeter of the beds where I will plant onions, herbs, and zinnias to attract beneficial pollinators.

Using my shears, I cut holes exactly where I want to plant,  I then tuck the plants into the soil warm soil.  When we mow our untreated grass, I collect the clippings and add them on top of the paper surface. With very little effort and little to no expense, I have added an effective weed barrier to our garden and made use of materials that we have on hand.

The paper and grass mulch help our garden beds to retain moisture while minimizing weed growth.  Over the course of the growing season, both the grass and paper begin to decompose.  When we clear the beds in the fall, we simply remove the staples, reserving them for the next season, and add the paper bags to our recycling bin.

We also use this paper feed bag mulch for our garden paths.  We cover the paper bags in the paths with untreated wood chips and have a weed free path all summer long.

Empty Feed Bags at 1840 Farm  Empty Garden Bed at 1840 Farm

Feed Bag Mulch at 1840 Farm  PlantinginBagMulch

I’ll be sharing a few other tricks for using repurposed materials in the garden in the coming weeks.  Until then, you can take a photo tour of  the gardens here at 1840 Farm.  I’d love to hear about your strategies to use repurposed or recycled materials in your garden.  I’m always looking for new, great ideas to use in ours.

Repurposed Gardening at 1840 Farm

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/repurposed-gardening/

The Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

Throughout the year, we produce as much food for our family table as possible here at 1840 Farm.  We span the calendar year from spring’s maple syrup to summer’s garden produce to fall and winter’s fresh eggs from the coop and milk from our dairy goat herd.  Each season and crop has a purpose.

Each year, the beans, corn, and squash grown in our garden will be featured on our Thanksgiving table.  These three crops can be grown in a variety of ways in the garden, but I like to use an interplanting technique that may be as old as Thanksgiving itself.   Planting a Three Sisters Garden will provide delicious produce for our November celebration and allow us to participate in an American history lesson right outside our farmhouse door.

The Three Sisters Garden may very well be the first instance of the companion planting technique that gardeners still use today.  There is a wonderful old legend about the Three Sisters Garden that involves a Native American woman who had three daughters who struggled to peacefully coexist.

The legend tells the tale of her brilliant method for showing her daughters the value of diversity and peaceful coexistence.  She planted the three crops of corn, beans, and squash together to show her daughters that together, they could support each other yet retain their own individuality.  As members of the group, they were stronger than they could possibly be as individuals.

While some historians disagree regarding the historical accuracy of the story, the legend of the and its gardening technique have endured through the centuries.   In fact, artwork of a woman tending a Three Sisters Garden appears on the reverse side of the Sacajawea US Dollar coin that was released in 2009.  Now you can help to preserve the legend with The 1840 Farm Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Collection.

Last year, we offered a collection of three heirloom varieties used by the Wampanoag Tribe to our customers in our Three Sisters Garden Collection.  This year, our The Sisters Garden Collection features four historic heirloom varieties.  We have paired the original three heirlooms with a sunflower that was named for the Hidatsa Tribes that also famously planted corn, maize, and squash as companions in their gardens.  The 2014 Three Sisters Garden Collection includes four historic heirloom varieties:

Hidatsa Sunflower
Long Island Cheese Squash
Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn
Sunset Runner Bean

To plant a Three Sisters Garden, prepare a mound of garden soil approximately 48 inches wide.  Amending the soil with compost will help to improve the productivity of each of the crops during the growing season.  After the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the mound, making a circle about 24 inches in diameter.   Plant four to six seeds in each inch deep hole.   Space the corn plantings about 8 inches apart along the perimeter of the circle.

Once the corn has grown to between 4-6 inches tall, plant the bean seeds.  Evenly space the beans around the base of each corn stalk.  Seven to ten days after planting the beans, plant the squash seeds.  Plant 2-3 squash seeds in each of three or four holes inside the circle of corn and beans.

Planting corn, bean, and squash together is a sustainable method of companion planting, allowing each plant to help contribute to the success of the other varieties.  The towering corn stalks serve as a trellis for the climbing beans, allowing them to be grown without the need for a supplemental support system.  As the beans grow, they help to enrich the soil.  Their roots produce nitrogen which feeds the corn and squash plants throughout the growing season.

In the Three Sisters Garden, the large leaves of the squash plant shelter the soil, suppressing weed growth and discouraging pests from damaging the trio of crops.  The prickly vines of the squash plant deter pests from the garden and help to protect the developing crops.  The flowery blooms of the bean and squash plants help to attract pollinators to the garden, increasing the productivity of the entire garden.

The sunflowers can be planted along with the other three varieties in the Three Sisters Garden.  Their bright blooms will help to attract pollinators to your garden. When spent, the large flower heads can be harvested for their delicious seeds or shared with your flock as a nutritious treat.

I look forward to showcasing produce directly from the garden at 1840 Farm on this year’s Thanksgiving table.  Beans, corn, and squash will join spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fresh herbs in our favorite holiday dishes.  Enjoying this homegrown produce on our family table will make our holiday celebration even more memorable.

The Three Sisters Garden Collection is available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

This year, 1840 Farm offers five heirloom seed collections for purchase. The 1840 Farm Favorites Garden includes six of our favorite varieties to plant in the gardens here at 1840 Farm. The Easy Keepers Garden includes four varieties that are perfect for the beginning gardener and can be sown directly into a small garden plot or containers. The Pollinators Garden features six flowering plants that will help to attract beneficial pollinators to your garden. Our Three Sisters Garden includes four packets of seed that allow you to enjoy delicious produce and an American history lesson as you put into practice one of the oldest forms of companion planting.   The Tomato Lover’s Garden features six of our favorite heirloom tomato varieties.

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/the-three-sisters-garden-heirloom-seed-collection-2/

Sunset Runner Heirloom Bean

The Sunset Runner Bean is beloved for its ability to bring beauty and a nutritious crop to your garden plot.  The beautiful salmon pink colored blooms are unique to the sunset variety of runner bean.  The vines can grow to be six feet tall and make a wonderful climbing vine for arbors and trellises.  Continually harvesting the pods will encourage the plant to keep producing until the first freeze.

While there are many varieties of runner beans, the sunset is unique in many ways.  First, the seeds are a beautiful, dark black color. The climbing vines bear their beautiful pink blossoms early and continue to produce edible pods and beans during the growing season.   While some beans have only one purpose in the kitchen, the Sunset Runner Bean is delicious when used as a fresh snap bean, canned or frozen for later use, or as a dried bean.

The Sunset Heirloom Runner Bean is one of the most beautiful plants that we grow in the garden at 1840 Farm.  Its hardy vine and beautiful flowers are a constant throughout the summer.  We love to walk through the paths in between the raised beds and snap fresh pods straight off the vine.  Most of them are eaten right in the garden and never make it back to the farmhouse.  Those that do are blanched briefly before being sautéed lightly in butter.  Either way, they’re a delicious, healthy treat straight from the garden.

The Sunset Runner Heirloom Bean is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/sunset-runner-heirloom-bean/

Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn

Biting into a perfectly ripe ear of sweet corn is a summer rite of passage.  There’s just something about the sweet, juicy flavor of sweet corn that instantly transports me back to my childhood.  When I watch my children enjoying an ear of corn grown in our garden, I know that they are building a memory that will stay with them for years to come.

Stowell’s Evergreen is an heirloom variety that dates back to the mid 1800s.  Nathaniel Stowell lovingly crafted this sweet corn by crossing Menomony Soft Corn and Northern Sugar Corn.  The resulting corn combined the best traits from both.

In 1855, Nathaniel agreed to sell two ears of seed corn to a friend with the understanding that they would only be used in his family garden.  They settled on a price of $4.00.  Unfortunately for Mr. Stowell, his friend promptly sold those two ears to an established seed company for an incredible $20,000!  In 1856, Thoburn and Company Seed offered Stowell’s seed for sale to their customers.

More than 150 years have passed since Nathaniel watched as his beloved sweet corn’s future slipped between his fingers.  Somehow, I feel like I’m helping to right a wrong when I plant these heirloom seeds in our family garden.  I can only imagine that Mr. Stowell hoped that generations of family farmers and gardeners would lovingly grow his corn for their family.  I hope that you will join me in growing Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn for your family’ table.

Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/stowells-evergreen-heirloom-sweet-corn-2/

Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash

There are few images more synonymous with autumn than that of a ribbed, round pumpkin.  Each fall, the Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash grown in our garden move inside the house.  They decorate the farmhouse during the season and through our Thanksgiving holiday.  Once fall turns to winter and Thanksgiving yields to Christmas, those beautiful squash are stored for serving at our family table.

Throughout the fall and winter, we use each squash in our favorite hearty dishes.  We clean each squash, cubing the flesh before freezing it for use in a variety of dishes throughout the long New England winter.  The seeds become a healthy treat for the heritage breed hens that live here at 1840 Farm.  They eagerly greet us at the door of their run when squash seeds are on the menu.

I love pumpkins of every size, shape, and color.  The Long Island Cheese is perhaps my favorite.  Its appearance is unique, with a slightly flattened shape and heavy ribbing.  Its skin is smooth with tan undertones.  The name originates from its strong resemblance to a wheel of cheese.

The Long Island Cheese Squash is very well suited for use in pies and pureed dishes.  The flavor is slightly sweet with a balanced earthiness.  When fully cooked, its texture is smooth and velvety.  It is equally delicious is savory and sweet preparations.

The Long Island Cheese stores very well.  It’s not uncommon to find whole squash in the farmhouse at 1840 Farm long after we have celebrated the arrival of the New Year.  As soon as we have finished the last cube of squash, we begin dreaming of planting the next crop of Long Island Cheese in the gardens at 1840 Farm.

The Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/long-island-cheese-heirloom-squash-2/

Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomato

2006 was the first summer we lived at 1840 Farm.  That year, we planted a small garden with a handful of heirloom tomato varieties.  We were new to heirloom gardening and selected the varieties for that year’s garden in a very non-scientific manner.  We simply chose heirlooms with names that drew us to them.  A tomato named “Isis Candy Cherry” sounded beautiful and sweet, a combination that we couldn’t wait to watch ripen in our tiny garden.

We were thrilled when an Isis Candy Cherry was the very first tomato to ripen.  It was indeed beautiful and sweet.  Sliced in half, my children eagerly ate that first tomato while still warm from the sunshine.  We have been growing Isis Candy Cherry now for eight seasons and it is predictably the very first tomato that is ripe enough to harvest from our heirloom garden.

While its early ripening habit make this variety popular here at 1840 Farm, we would continue to plant it regardless.  The flavor of this tomato is the real reason it keeps finding its way into our tomato patch every year.  Knowing that it ripens in less than 70 days is merely icing on the proverbial cake.

These beautiful orbs are packed with sweet, jammy tomato flavor.  They ripen to a beautiful red-orange with lighter golden shoulders and a trademark starburst pattern on the blossom end of the fruit. This is the perfect tomato for the person in your life who doesn’t think that they like tomatoes.  One bite of this lovely heirloom should be all it takes to convince them that they love this tomato!

The Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomato is one of the six varieties included in our Tomato Lover’s Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/isis-candy-cherry-heirloom-tomato/

2014 Heirloom Seed Collection from 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily

1840 Farm

Last year, we launched our first 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collections in order to share our favorite heirloom varieties with our readers.  This year, we are excited to be partnering with our friends at Fresh Eggs Daily to bring you an expanded selection of Heirloom Seed Collections.  Each collection has been carefully curated to pair varieties that are well suited for growing together in your gardens and ours.  All of the seeds in our collections are heirloom, non-GMO, and sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, a family owned seed purveyor.

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Lisa and I first became friends during the summer of 2012.  What started as a casual conversation about chicken keeping and writing quickly evolved into an ongoing dialog about so much more.  Within days, we were trading messages about using old fashioned techniques to care for our animals, tips for tending to our gardens, and the warm childhood memories of our grandparents doing the same.  Two years have passed and our conversation is still going strong.

This winter, we discovered that we were each working independently on curating heirloom seed collections for the upcoming growing season.  Within minutes, we decided that working together on the collection would allow us to offer a better variety of seeds to our customers and give us another reason to chat all summer long.

We’re hoping that you will join us in growing a few of our favorite heirlooms in your gardens.  Together, we can learn more about the history of these varieties and share our favorite preparations for our families and the animals in our care.  Whether you grow a collection of herbs to boost the health of your hens or tend a tomato patch to brighten the fresh meals served at your family table, we hope that you will enjoy joining in our friendly conversation this summer and beyond.

In the coming weeks, you will learn more about each individual variety in this year’s collection.   We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

While we’re all waiting for spring weather to finally arrive and the growing season to begin, 1840 Farm, Fresh Eggs Daily, and Sasquatch Books have a fantastic giveaway to share with you.  One lucky winner will win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all who enter!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/2014-heirloom-seed-collection-from-1840-farm-and-fresh-eggs-daily/

Heirloom Tomato Profile: Blondkopfchen Cherry

The Blondkopfchen Heirloom Cherry Tomato originated in Germany.  In German, the word “blondkopfchen” translates to “little blonde girl”.  My daughter was a little blond girl when we first began growing this tomato here at 1840 Farm.  In fact, she was the reason that I first ordered these heirloom seeds and planted them in our heirloom tomato garden.

The incredible taste and production of this heirloom was the reason we kept planting them each year.  Every year, our Blondkopfchen plants are the most prolific in the garden.  A single branch holds dozens of tiny orbs waiting to ripen in the sun.  I am always amazed at just how many tomatoes these plants can produce.

I’m also taken by the unique color of these ripe tomatoes.  They are golden yellow with a tinge of lime green undertones when they are fully ripe.  They are beautiful when used in fresh tomato dishes or sauces, bringing a lovely contrast to the other red colored tomatoes in the dish.

The Blondkopfchen tomato has a sweet, earthy flavor with a touch of citrus.  It’s a perfectly balanced blend of sweet and brightness.  It is a disease resistant variety that consistently produces tomatoes without cracked skins.  It also tolerates our cooler nights here in New England, making it perfectly suited to growing in our garden.  One taste of this fantastic variety and you’ll understand why it is a favorite here at 1840 Farm.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/08/heirloom-tomato-profile-blondkopfchen-cherry/

Growing Our Own Thanksgiving Celebration

It’s early June, but I’m already dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner.  I can almost picture the homegrown feast that will grace our family table.  The herbs for our favorite sage and artichoke heart dressing are already growing in the garden.  Sweet potato slips have been planted, seed potatoes are taking root, and heirloom corn, squash and beans will be sprouting in the coming days.

Now you can join in and learn more about the gardens here at 1840 Farm, the heirloom varieties we love, and the Thanksgiving feast that will follow.  I’ll be sharing updates and harvest notes throughout the growing season and hoping that you’ll share the news and notes from your backyard and garden here and with The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook.

Long before Thanksgiving dinner arrives, we’ll be enjoying berries, tomatoes, and a host of other heirlooms fresh from the garden.  I’ll be sharing our favorite recipes so that you can enjoy them on your family table.

You can learn more about our Thanksgiving garden and the history of the holiday itself by reading my How to Grow Your Own Thanksgiving Series on The Daily Meal.  The slideshow contains beautiful photographs from our friends at Iron Oak Farm and detailed planting and harvest information for herbs, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and pumpkins.

Now it’s time for me to get out in the garden and plant our Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn.  It’s the first step in our Three Sisters Garden and I can’t wait to watch as it grows in our gardens.  Our heirloom three sisters garden will provide Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn, Sunset Heirloom Runner Beans, and Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash for our Thanksgiving menu.  I can almost taste it already!

Are you growing crops in your garden specifically for your Thanksgiving table?  I’d love to learn more about the varieties and recipes that you enjoy at your annual celebration.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/06/growing-our-own-thanksgiving-celebration/

Cast Your Vote for The 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection

Tennis Ball Lettuce at 1840 FarmOver the last few weeks, I have immersed myself in seed catalogs and gardening history books.  While it has taken some time, I have finally narrowed down my wish list of varieties to include in The 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection for 2013.

All of the seeds offered in our collection will be non-GMO, heirloom varieties.  The collection will be offered for sale in our Etsy shop in the next few weeks.  Each seed packet will be paired with a brief history of the variety and my family’s favorite recipe for enjoying our garden harvest at our family table.

Throughout the course of the growing season, there will be opportunities for you to share photos and news from your garden with the other members of The 1840 Farm Online Community and a few surprises in store.  I can’t wait to share all of the information with you in the coming weeks!

So, cast your vote for each variety that you would be interested in growing for your family.  Vote for all of them if you want every single one to make the cut.  If you have a variety that you would like me to add to the list, leave me a comment.  I can’t wait to see your responses!

The 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection - 2013
Vote for all of the varieties you would like to see included in our 2013 collection.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/03/cast-your-vote-for-the-1840-farm-heirloom-seed-collection/

Heirloom Tomato Profile: German Johnson

The German Johnson Heirloom Tomato is a potato leaf variety of tomato plant with an indeterminate growing habit.  It produces large, round, Beefsteak shaped fruit with bright red skin.  The ripe fruit commonly show bright yellow striping along its shoulders.

The German Johnson’s flesh is pink and meaty with a delicious, old-fashioned tomato flavor.  Fully ripened fruits may weigh in excess of one pound each.  It is not uncommon to harvest tomatoes that tip the scale at 24 ounces or more. In fact, the big, beautiful 23 ounce specimen in the photo above was harvested in our vegetable garden this morning.

The German Johnson is one of the parent species of the Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato.  For me, that is reason enough to include it in the heirloom tomato garden at 1840 Farm.  One bite and I think you’ll agree that the German Johnson is a delicious slicing tomato that transforms the ordinary sandwich into an extraordinary meal.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/09/heirloom-tomato-profile-german-johnson/

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