Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Heartland Farms: 2 Donkeys, 1000 Chickens, and More Crops than You can Count

Ms. Teresa 
Banneker school group
Mother Hubbard’s is a proud contributor to community education and we try to spread as much knowledge as we can. Whether it be about gardening, smart shopping or even large scale food production (AKA farms). This week we got to escort a group of local school children to a tour of the local Heartland Farms run by Ms. Teresa Birtles, the owner and chief operator of the farm. Heartland farm is pretty substantial, there’s space for at least a thousand chickens, countless kinds of crops, and whole herd of sheep, plus a couple donkeys and cows. She supplies some well known, local restaurants here in Bloomington: upscale restaurants like Finch’s to organic whole food restaurant Laughing Planet. Despite this I had never heard of this establishment. But, having experienced it first hand I understand now how important places like this can be for not only whole food, but for fun and educational experiences for people unfamiliar with this kind of work.

Now, I haven’t been to a farm since I was a wee child and back then my great aunt owned a large sum of land, several chickens, and a cow that couldn’t compare to what we saw. Upon arrival we were greeted by a herd of sheep and two donkeys (that were much larger than the movie Shrek would have you believe. Thanks a lot Hollywood). Thankfully, Ms. Teresa is kind enough to give small tours to those that are interested and, boy, does she have an air about her. She is immensely hardworking and intelligent. She is fantastic at tailoring speech to fit the the audience and making the information interesting while at the same time engaging. Most notably, we had a whole lesson dedicated to soil enrichment that benefit her pastures for her herd and soil for crops disguised as a lesson about poop (what better way to get a kid’s attention, right?).

Look at them go!
Free him!
Attention Thief
From lessons about how to corral the herd and lead them to pasture to describing the delicate relationship between farmer and animal and even how the animals work to protect each other, the children kept they’re focus. That was until the cows revealed themselves like a genie after rubbing the lamp your great-great-grandparents left you and then you wish for a million bucks and get a million deer an- is that just me? Sorry. Anyway, the cows appeared and stole attention which is understandable, cows are adorable. However, the unexpected attention thief was the edible clover flowers. 

All in all, I feel that this kind of experience sums up what Mother Hubbard’s stands for: community education about whole foods and local businesses that has the potential to last a lifetime. Who wouldn’t want to be here for that. 

I you'd like to know more about Ms. Birtles and her farm, including everything that she grows and provides, please visit her website HERE
Also, Donkeys

Monday, July 11, 2016

"The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly" - Troubleshooting Pests and Disease in the Garden

Having trouble in your garden this year? 

Are your leaves yellowing, speckled, riddled with holes?
                                                              Are your stems withering and rotting to the ground?
                      Do you see egg clusters on the underside of your kale or squash greens?
                                           Are your tomatoes here today and gone tomorrow?
Are you noticing a powdery substance on the leaves of your plants?
                            Are there... Enough! Enough, we get it! 

There are a lot of issues we often face as organic gardeners.
But never fear! You are not alone!  

Join us this Thursday, July 14th from 6:30-8:00 pm for a Garden Problem Solving Workshop 
with the brilliant and beloved Stephanie Solomon! 

We will be addressing many common garden troubles such as problematic insects, wind, water, and soil-bourne diseases, and mineral and nutrient deficiencies.

Come with a list of some difficulties you have been experiencing this gardening season, and we will help to troubleshoot the cause and hopefully lead you toward a solution. 

Organic Gardeners Unite!  

Images thanks to: 
http://fortcollinsnursery.com/fcn-blog/the-best-gardeners-kill-the-most-plants/ and http://www.silhouettedesignstore.com/view-shape/39589