News and blog

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Posted 5/19/2010 1:40pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

FINALLY, the rain stopped for a day or two! YEAH!!!! Tomorrow the beds should be perfect for getting a bunch of plants in the ground. Schooner & Matt will be off to the Toledo Botanical Gardens where our friends at Toledo Grows have greenhouse space. They'll be picking up the tomatoes and peppers. We're going to have LOTS of 'maters. We'll have several really neat and new varieties to try.

If you happen to drive by and see the colored plastic in the beds that is because Schooner has been researching colored plastics and their effect on plant production. The tomatoes and peppers will be going in the red plastic where the cucurbits (cucumber family) are in the blue. We'll keep you posted in the how successful it is. The giant tub for the compost tea finally arrived - we're going to begin brewing tomorrow. Schooner raided my cupboards and snitched my blackstrap molasses for his tea. The other day he took all the sugar to make sugar syrup for the bees... I guess one might say he is a "sweet" guy.

The plants that have been in look great & we're still shooting for that June 1st start. It may only be several greens, lettuce, chard and maybe some onions. All this rain has made it very difficult to get out in the beds and plant. We're doing our best to speed up the process with row covers and the compost teas and fertilizers.

We hated to cancel the Walking Tour - it was still too wet to do much of anything and we spent the day planting sweet potatoes. I think it was for the best - the mud was everywhere and there wasn't a whole lot to see because of the weather and not being able to have as much planted as we had hoped. I'll be posting some photos of how everything is looking this week so check back!!

Posted 5/13/2010 5:36pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

Rain Rain go away...

UGH! Will it ever stop? We have so much that we need to get in the ground and simply can't. Matt & Ashley were out to plant on Wed. but couldn't due to the rain. Abbie brought a bunch of plants she raised in the greenhouse down - they are beautiful! Can't plant those either. Frustrating!

Shannon did a wonderful job with the bees this week. We're doing a few more splits this week.

The beds have the plastic row cover in them so we hope to be able to plant tomorrow if it dries out enough. I guess we made a wise choice to cancel the Walking Tour - we'd need a boat or hip waders to get from the edge of the ponds over to the garden itself.

We saw a few of our CSA members at the BG Farmer's Market on Wed. evening. It was a nice turnout despite the pouring rain. The vendors all had wonderful products and I bought too many cookies... oops. We were asked by several folks, "Why aren't you guys at the Farmer's Market?" Well, there's only a few of us and right now we don't have any products to sell. We might bring honey & berries over this summer but we more than likely will ask a friend to sell them in her booth if she has space. If you get a chance the BG Farmer's Market is Wed. from 3-8 in downtown BG - right across from Grounds for Thought (best coffee in the world - by the way). Right next to The Flowerbasket - there is an empty space. Parking is in the rear and very accessible.

Keep your fingers crossed for sunny skys!

Posted 5/7/2010 2:04pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

Hello All,

After much deliberation Don and I have decided to cancel the May Walking Tour on the 16th. We had planned to take everyone on a hayride out to the gardens – as they are a ways out & with all this rain the path is pretty well a muddy mess. We’ve been watching the weather predictions for next several days and it looks like we have even more rain coming. We’ve all had to walk along Rt 6 to get out to the beds due to the mud. That said we felt it’d be better to cancel rather than have a bunch of muddy CSA members!

However, you are ALWAYS welcome to stop out & see what is going on. Please do! The shop is open Mon- Fri from 8am till 3 pm or by appointment. We’re usually there until 6 or 7pm on a daily basis and on the weekends but are out in the field – if you’d like a tour in the evening or on a weekend just give us a ring and we’ll be sure to be on the lookout for you.

If you’ve been following the blog or checking in on our Facebook page you’ve been reading about our progress and rain dilemmas. If you haven’t I’ll get you up to date! We’ve had a lot of rain – which has kept us out of the garden. In the meanwhile, we’ve been busy bending hoops, making sandbags, taking care of seedlings and all that maintenance stuff that goes along with farming. Our field was under about 3 ½ inches of water after one of the early rain events. Larry and Matt hand dug a trench to empty the field of water. We’ve never had water in that field ever before! We may have lost a few potato plants as that section of the garden was wet for several days. It’s a bit early to tell for sure. Root crops are planted; carrots, beets, potatoes, along with the succession plantings of those crops to keep produce growing into the season. Peas are doing wonderfully! Abby has started all of the other plants up at The Toledo Botanical Garden in the Toledo Grows Greenhouses. They look fabulous & we’ll be getting many of them in the ground as soon as the field dries out a bit.

Most of the crops will be hooped and covered to keep insects and disease at bay. We will also be using colored plastics to maximize production: Blue for the cucurbit plantings (cucumbers, cabbage, and broccoli) and red for tomatoes and peppers, black for the rest. Matt just planted lettuces and greens this week. Sweet Corn goes in this week as well along with a few other direct seed plantings.

One of the topics we really wanted to share with you at the Walking Tour was going to be Compost Teas – this is how we will be fertilizing the garden. Don has been making compost teas for many years but is really getting into the details on how the compost teas affect different plants and how to manipulate the tea for various plantings. It really is very interesting! I’m trying to encourage him to write up a few paragraphs that we can share with you to give you an idea of the complexity of compost teas and how they are extremely beneficial not only to the plants but to the soil – fascinating stuff, really! I’ll put it in one of the weekly newsletters once we get started into season.

Shannon has been doing a wonderful job as a beekeeper in training. Plus, with college out for the summer she has been coming in and helping with weeding, planting and more. Matt & Abby continue to amaze us with their passion and hard work. It’s a lot of work, but enjoyable work.

All in all everything is going well despite the rain. The weather has held us back a bit but the hoops will help accelerate growth on many of the plants. We are still shooting for a Tuesday, June 1st OR Saturday, June 5th (whichever day is you pickup day) beginning to the season. Given the weather conditions we may have to back it up a week for a few items to mature more but we’re uncertain of that at this point. We’ll be emailing you to let you know when we will start for certain but we are doing everything we can to be ready by our goal date. Once we get a high tunnel (a kind of greenhouse) weather won’t be such an issue but that is a season or two away. The trugs will have a nice selection of early produce. We’re planning on: scallions, ovation greens, red leaf lettuce, beets, carrots, swiss chard, radishes, peas and new baby red potatoes. A few of the items may not be ready but that’s what we are hoping to have by June 1st. I will include a map to Schooner Farms in our first newsletter – I know many of you have not been out to our farm. Our main business is Inspired By Nature, several of you may recognize that business and are familiar with where we are. Nonetheless, I’ll have a map included in the newsletter and there is also a link on the website that has a google map.

We’re very excited and extremely grateful for this opportunity. It has been an amazing and enjoyable process. We’re glad you are all involved and look forward to bringing you lots of fresh organic produce, raspberries (maybe a few blackberries & some homemade jam) and raw honey in the months to come! Thanks for becoming part of the CSA!



The Schooner Farms Crew

Don, Becky & Justin Schooner                                                                                                 Matt Spangler, Abbie Sackmann, Shannon Pace, Art Roehrig & Larry Peterson
Posted 5/6/2010 2:54pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

It's been a busy couple of days between rain drops and down pours. Matt has been doing a great job getting the beds ready for lettuces, greens and other plantings. Shannon has been not only tending the beehives but helping the garden and raspberry beds. Abby is taking wondeful care of the seedlings and will be out this week to help in the garden as well.


"The Machine"

 It shapes the beds, hills them up, lays plastic and drip tape -then secures the plastic on the row edge. 

Our new plastic row, drip tape and hiller piece of equipment is here. (see photo above) It has a name but I have no clue what it is. I'll have to ask Schooner. It's here and will make short work of the getting the rows ready - once the soil dries out. We've got another stormy forecast for tonight or tomorrow - ugh.

Here's a great shot of the asparagus we JUST planted! This is for 2011. This was just planted last week & look at it already!



Mat has been working hard out in the beds getting them ready for plants to go in. We are covering most of the beds to help with accelerating growth and keeping insects and disease at bay. The peas are doing very well!

                    Matt in beds        pease

Posted 5/3/2010 11:33am by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

It's been a very wet few weeks and it looks like we are going to be getting even more this week. Ugh. Needless to say it has made working in the garden very difficult. Schooner and I are considering postponing the Sping Walking Tour on May 16th- - it's only a week and half away and with all this rain we haven't been able to get as much done in the garden as we had hoped - which is just part of the deal - BUT it means the tour will be a soggy mess. We're thinking on it and will decide for sure within the next day or two. I'll send an email to all  CSA members to let them know what the status is.

Lots going on despite the rain, lots of prep work, conduit bending for the row cover, sandbag filling, equipment prep and so on. I'll be out on site taking photos this week to show you what's going on at Schooner Farms! Until then - enjoy the sunshine and go out and get some vitamin D!

Posted 5/1/2010 12:04pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

275 more Polka raspberries planted, 50 rhubarb plants socked in just before dark, plastic mulch layer calibrated and tested, mantis tiller (16") assembled, flower seeds ordered, 500 more raspberry plants released for shipment to us next week, whewww! Very nice day outside. I think I have a redneck now.........i mean red neck! Very sunny today.

All this rain the past week has delayed getting some things done. Very frustrating but we've got plenty to do otherwise. Abby, Matt and Justin did a great job today! Thanks guys!

Posted 4/29/2010 12:05pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

What a mess. After all the rain Sunday, Schooner arrived at the garden Monday morning only to find over 2 acres of our field under water! Larry & Matt spent 8 hours today just digging a trench to release the trapped water into a ditch. I think we may have saved the potatoes. Time will tell. We ended up with over 3.5 inches of rain.

Our efforts at digging a very deep, very long trench by hand has successfully drained the excessive water from the field. The health of the south end of the potato rows remains in question but the rest of the the field should emerge unscathed! Whewww! That was a close one!

We had no frost damage at all. Everything was well protected and looks great.

Some of our new tools arrived yesterday. The greens cutter, the hatfield transplanter and the wire weeder came in. We checked under the covers and the peas are over 2" tall, some of the carrots and beets are beginning to sprout and the green onions survived the excessive rain without a problem. We hooped another row of raspberries yesterday. Some of the Polka raspberries arrived yesterday. Justin and Matt will be planting those today.

Shannon and Schooner split the hive today - we had three new queens to create three more hives. Keep your fingers crossed all goes well and the bees take.

The Sentinel Tribune had a nice write up about the Locavore event. Here's a link to the article if you'd like to check it out!

Posted 4/26/2010 8:23am by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

Chris Gajewicz, from BG City Parks, put together an excellent program on Saturday at the Simpson Garden Park in BG! Nice job! We're grateful to Chris for bringing together local farmers and introducing them to the public! We had about 40 or so people come and hear all of talk about the local food movement. Plus, we got to meet a few VERY nice Schooner Farms CSA members!

 Lots of interested people with excellent questions and concerns! It was a wonderful venue for local small farmers to meet the public and make folks aware of some of the small farmers in their neck of the woods! Thanks Chris!

           Locavore Talk  Locavore

Here's a few pics from the Locavore Event at SImpson Garden Park in BG

  Much rain today....way too much! We had three inches from yesterday plus more today. 1/2 of potatoes under water at least for now..... Will make it difficult to plant anything this upcoming week. Not so good!

Posted 4/21/2010 11:56am by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

ocavore and Community Supported Agriculture Panel Discussion
Locavorism, (eating foods produced locally), and Community Supported Agriculture is taking off in our area. Please join the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department and Downtown Bowling Green as we co-sponsor this panel discussion on what it means to eat locally, meet representatives from local farms who provide produce and shares, and find out what outlets are available to local consumers. Join us on Saturday, April 24 at the Simpson Garden Park main meeting room. The panel discussion will be conducted from 1 to 2 pm followed by a drop-in open house until 4 pm. Invited guest speakers include representatives from The Downtown Bowling Green Farmer’s Market, Schooner Farms in Weston, Cherry Creek Far, Shoppe in Pemberville, Omega Meats in Grand Rapids, and Crazy Horse garlic Farm in Holland. This is a free walk –in seminar, however donations to the Simpson Garden Park are appreciated. For more information, please call 419.353.0301.

Posted 4/17/2010 4:03pm by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner.

Over the last several days, much has been happening here at Schooner Farms.

On Thursday afternoon, Don and Justin planted over 400 asparagus roots.  There are still another 300 roots to plant.  When it is all done, we will have over 700' of row planted.  It will be next year before we can harvest any of it.

Don and Becky picked up the irrigation equipment on Friday morning.  This equipment will provide much needed water to the vegetable beds in the coming weeks and months.

Don and Abbie planted over 4000 green onion seeds on 40' of raised bed on Friday afternoon.  They also went over records on what Abbie had planted at the greenhouse to determine if we have enough transplants that will be ready to go when it is time to plant. 

Justin and Matt planted 500 Joan J fall red raspberry plants on 1000' of row this morning and then filled and tied over 300 sandbags this afternoon.  We will use the sandbags to hold down the floating row cover on the berries and the vegetables.  It is supposed to freeze tonight so we will cover over 2500' of raspberries and blackberries once the wind recedes before dark...

This upcoming week will continue to be very busy.  We plan to plant several varieties of potatoes, another variety of peas, and more berry bushes.  We will also begin to hook up the irrigation lines to the vegetable beds.  Stay tuned.




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