Wow, it’s August already!

I took advantage of the unexpected thunderstorm this morning to create this newsletter. Usually I wait till most of the items for the weekly share are chosen or picked. It began raining about 7AM when the crew for the day arrived. We pushed the wagons of onions inside so they would stay dry, and three people are cleaning and boxing them up for use during August. Their tops dried down after the hail storm 3 weeks ago Wednesday. Two others are in the greenhouse seeding trays so we will have transplants to put out in 3 to 4 weeks, which we will harvest in October and November.

Speaking of October and November, could you please indicate by email or by mailing us a check whether you plan to subscribe to the Fall Share? It starts September 7. For those who mailed a check this past week, Thank You! (See our mailing address at bottom.) You may also order online.

Janna is visiting our daughter Jessica, her husband Andrew and our grandson Joshua! So, John will be at the Sioux City Market this Wednesday, Anna will be in Sioux Center, and Spencer folks, please look for details at our Spencer Facebook page. I’m currently thinking it will be about 5 pm when I get to Spencer.

The camera on my phone broke about a month ago. Can you tell by the absence of new pictures? I wish I could include a picture of the buckwheat growing in the front garden. There are 3 beds Gretchen put into buckwheat about 6 weeks ago. It’s in full flower, about waist high and just smothering the weeds. We use buckwheat because it is heat tolerant, germinates well, and when planted in the fall it dies and dries with the first frost. We add organic matter this way. It’s a green manure. Of course, when used early like this you want to till it or mow it before the flowers turn to seed. The garden that will have potatoes next years will be seeded to buckwheat soon, and another to winter rye probably about the middle of September.

It’s August, so some families are on the move before school starts again. We need to say Thank You to a customer, friends and tremendous supporter of local, organic and flavorful food. Dan and Sonya Knauss are moving to Edmonton AB this month. We will miss their smiles, words of encouragement, and help. If you have been with us for 8 or more years, you may have noticed we been more up to date with social media and our website. Other members of Practical Farmers of Iowa have told us we have the best website. We just want to say thank you to Dan and Sonya. They have pushed and encouraged most with our online presence. We hope they have a safe move and find Edmonton to be a great place to live.

For the rest, you’ve got 3 to 4 weeks before people start thinking fall!

Interesting Weather

Interesting Weather

I just stopped mowing and thought I would put the newsletter together Monday evening because I have a busy morning Tuesday. We harvested kohlrabi, garlic scapes, green onions, salad mix, red kale, green kale, head lettuce, a few cabbages, and we will begin Tuesday looking for cauliflower. The earliest planting of broccoli didn’t like the weather last week.

This week is beginning cooler at a high of 80 degrees today, but it was warm enough, and it appears to be the coolest day of the next 15 if the forecast is accurate. I know this: At the end of the day, which for the crew is generally about 4 pm, they are exhausted. We begin at 6 when it’s warm and light enough and take an hour for lunch. Several of the students read, or pretend to for a while. I know several get a 45-minute nap.

Many asked Saturday and Sunday about Friday night’s storm. It was an interesting one to watch. I posted elsewhere that I wished weather wasn’t so interesting in NW Iowa. A more boring, calm end to the day would make sleeping easier, especially for those that get up before 4. The night is short the way it is before all the shades of black and grey and lightening. Some of the plants look a little weather weary, but they will come out of it. There was no building or tree damage here.

We have sold almost all the chickens from our first group. The second group will be ready in several weeks. Please place an order by email or text message if you would like some chickens, raised outdoors in portable pens moved to fresh grass twice a day, fed organic feed. They are great tasting chickens.



The question at this point in the summer is now “how hot is it going to be?” and “how much is it going to rain?” We are definitely into summer now, and the pigs are trying to stay cool, along with the rest of us.

The broccoli went from not there to being too ripe, too loose, too bumpy-looking too fast. We are through all the lettuces, kales, and greens in the main high tunnel. We have a few beets left in what we call Tunnel 3. We took all the carrots out of the tunnel in one digging. The outside carrots are probably three weeks away from being ready to include in your shares.

I am glad we got some weeding, cultivating, flaming and hilling done last week. After last nights rain and the forecast rain for today we could use another 5 day window of sunshine and MODERATE heat to go through the remaining weeds.

Janna returned yesterday from spending time with Jessica and our new grandson. She should be in Sioux City Wednesday.

See you at the markets!

Catching up with some sun

Catching up with some sun

It is a beautiful morning again. We look forward to some warm weather and some catching up.

The big news I couldn’t really share with you last week, because it wasn’t mine to share at the time I composed my weekly email, is that Janna and I are grandparents. I’m sure many remember our daughter Jessica who got married last year. Andrew and Jessica had a boy last Monday; Joshua. So now you know why Janna has disappeared for a couple of weeks. She is in Lethbridge with Jessica.

We planted lettuce outside this week. We did a lot of weeding. We harvested what we could for this week’s share. Our outside crops are struggling a little. We will catch up. It’s a matter of sunshine and timing. There are flowers on the peas. Some beans are up and looking better. Cucumbers are established. Beets didn’t germinate well so we will do them over this week. Our early carrots in the tunnel should be in next week’s share; there could be some broccoli. The first outside carrots look nice after the weeding.

I did notice that the broccoli and cauliflower are about 3 weeks behind last year. This morning’s sunshine says we are going to catch up. One of our summer workers said yesterday this was as tanned as she has ever been. I told her we are just getting started. It’s going to be a tanning summer!

And yes Janna, I wore my hat yesterday all day. 🙂

See you at the markets!
–John Wesselius



In this week’s shares we have: Spinach, Leaf Lettuce, Chives, Arugula, Salad Mix, Sweet Potatoes, and Basil.

We are thrilled to offer spinach with the weird weather we’ve been having.  We had two really nice beds of spinach that overwintered and is “frost sweetened.”  the leaves are rather large, but it tastes great! We had some for supper tonight. We also have newly seeded spinach coming, but with lots of rain, lack of sunshine and cooler temperatures, it hasn’t progressed very much.

Leaf lettuce is a thinner leafed lettuce in a variety of red and green types.  You may spice it up a bit by mixing in some arugula, which is the package of all light green leaves. It is also great wilted.

Salad mix is a variety of textures and flavors – great with a vinaigrette.

Many of you know that we included root crop storage in the construction of our home last summer, and as a result we are still able to offer you sweet potatoes that stored extremely well. Our favorite way to eat them right now is peeled, sliced or cut in wedges, tossed in your favorite oil/fat and oven roasted with some light seasoning of salt and maybe your favorite herb. Topped with sour cream and chives.

Basil – always a favorite herb in our house, but since it doesn’t like cool temperatures, we thought we’d get you started with a potted basil plant from our greenhouse.  You can begin using leaves right away and either pot it up into a larger pot later or plant it outside once the temperatures/weather stabilizes.

Have a great week!

Looking forward to next week which may include some of the following: pak choy, salad turnips, radishes, more great spring greens.

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