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Posts Tagged ‘Biocharm Farm’

Saturday, 11 April 2015

When Garden Tour Nancy texted me from the spring seminar near Astoria, I suddenly realized that I could ask her to guest blog!  I did not go for two reasons:  The first seminar is too early for me, and I urgently needed to weed my own garden.  I am not much for growing veg, as I keep filling every space with ornamentals (a few of which are also edible); that would have made the topics educational for me, had I gone.  By the time I asked her to guest blog, she was already in the “Growing Healthy Soils” lecture, so most of the photos were taken toward the end of the event.

Any comment that I could not resist interjecting is in [brackets and italics].

Master Gardener Spring Seminar

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fairground location

fairground location; That is the Columbia River separating Washington and Oregon.

food web

From the event description: “North Coast Food Web is teaming up with Clatsop County Master Gardeners for Spring Into Gardening this year, all in celebration of Food, Glorious Food! Growing workshops, cooking demos, food tastings, lots of vendors selling plants, gardening gear, books and more, plus we’re hosting Meet Your Farmer at Spring Into Gardening! Come out and meet over a dozen local farms, many of them selling plants and products, and find out how they grow and how you can buy from them.”

an overview, photo by David Reid from the Facebook event page

an overview, photo by David Reid from the Facebook event page

“Spring Into Gardening” by guest blogger Nancy Allen 

Spring into Gardening always has an all-day, complimentary buffet decorated with fresh flowers.

Prairie Fire crab apple

Prairie Fire crab apple

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buffet

buffet, with Gluten Free options

plant sale

Debbie Haughsten and Darlene Houser provided a cheerful welcome and advice to all at the plant sale..

Debbie Haugsten and Darlene Houser provided a cheerful welcome and advice to all at the plant sale.

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Joanie Chapel's award-winning dahlia bulbs sold out quickly.

Joanie Chapel’s award-winning dahlia bulbs sold out quickly.

raffle

There were lots of great gifts for gardeners in this very popular large raffle.

Long-time Master Gardener of Astoria, Chris Bennett works at the Tongue Point raffle table.  The Peninsula's late Bob Caswell won this raffle twice in years past.

Long-time Master Gardener of Astoria, Chris Bennett works at the Tongue Point raffle table. The Peninsula’s late Bob Caswell won this raffle twice in years past.

[The winner of the Tongue Point raffle prize gets eight hours of gardening by the Job Corps students.  The thought occurred to me to go just to enter this; I could have unleashed the crew to clear out some of salmonberry in the bogsy woods!]

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[Above:  a donation from our neighbours, the owners of Starvation Alley Farm, purveyors of fine organic cranberry juice.]

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 Vendors

The show features many  vendors:

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Why didn't I buy these lovely red coral bells?

Why didn’t I buy these lovely red coral bells?

Leo D Mock promoting his book titled Compost, By Any Other Name, Makes Good Dirt

Leo D Mock promoting his book titled Compost, By Any Other Name, Makes Good Dirt

Cute totes from grain bags

Cute totes from grain bags

Green Angel Gardens

Green Angel Gardens

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Garden furniture from Tongue Point

[The above photo is the one that Nancy texted to me, thus inspiring me to ask her to do a guest story.]

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Ilwaco’s Jim and Vera Karnofski’s Biocharm Farms

[For our tour of BioCharm farms, click here.]

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Washington State Master Gardeners had a booth and a very popular peony sale.  They have had over 700 peony sales this year!

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peonies

peonies

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Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery

Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery

Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery will be selling again at the Long Beach Farmers Market and also starting a program where visitors to the creamery can feed the baby goats!  And yes, I bought some of the garlic dill Chèvre.

Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm

Starvation Alley Farms

Starvation Alley Farms

Starvation Alley Farms

Starvation Alley Farms

Starvation Alley Farms

Food! Glorious Food! lecture

Two local farmers, Teresa Retzlaff and Kelly Huckestein described the most successful food to grow here on the North Coast.  First they presented a long list of vegetables and berries that are easy to grow here at the coast. Next a much shorter list of semi challenging foods to grow here. Finally a group of foods called Heartbreakers because they are so difficult to grow here. They recommend letting the farmers grow these for you. We’re talking tomatoes, peppers, and basil.  All of their PowerPoint slides will soon be available at the Clatsop County Master gardeners website.

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Food Demonstrations

Each demonstration was 15 minutes. The audience got to taste everything. First, Merianne Meyers cooked braised greens.  Next was asparagus with onion-lemon vinaigrette.

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As soon as I finished my generous helping of rhubarb cake, I had to dash back across the bridge to the peninsula.  I made it just in time for the lecture of the Cantankerous Farmer versus the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company given at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum by local historian Michael Lemeshko.  My full and entertaining day ended with a folk concert at the Peninsula Art Center, followed by dinner prepared by husband Phil.

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Shrimp scampi for two.

 It was delicious.

Grazie mille caro mio~!

Next day, in the garden: (Below) My garden art purchase, found at one of the vendor booths.  At one time it had eggs you could drop through the head.  Push the hen down, and an egg will pop out the front!

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August 10, 2013

After touring “Lavender And”, Allan and I were might hungry so we stopped at the delicious Bailey’s Café in Nahcotta.

Chef Jayne Bailey at work

Chef Jayne Bailey at work

We used to take more time to stop for lunches but for the past few years have worked pretty much non stop from February through early December.  My mission this year is to have more time enjoying pleasures like a lunch stop.  We still have not taken many, so I don’t yet have to worry that it is going to result in poverty.  Taking time off to go garden touring…and blog…is more likely to get me in financial trouble!

inside Bailey's

inside Bailey’s

After our excellent lunch we drove back to Ilwaco and a bit to the east to Jim and Vera Karnofski’s Biocharm Farm.   We wanted to get photos for the edible tour Facebook page and had also been charged with the delivery of the signs and tickets for the tour.  The name of the farm refers to Biochar.  To say Jim is a big believer in the stuff would be an understatement.  Here is the Biocharm description of the farm:  “Biocharm Farms is a demonstration mineral augmented organic garden with the goal of maximizing the nutrient density of the vegetables as shown by the Brix Refractometer. The soil is mineral balanced annually and biochar has been added for several years with promising results. There will be handouts and an explanation of these amazing gardening breakthroughs that seem to be converging to make a ‘good food revolution’ possible. Presently, besides feeding our family, we market our produce primarily to [a local] restaurant, Klean rehab facility and Coastal Corner Market. There are 3 gardens about 100 yards apart against a backdrop of forest on which there is a ½ mile trail if you feel like having a really nice nature walk.  “

Jim Karnofski

Jim Karnofski

a charming dog indeed, a rescue from our local shelter

a charming dog indeed, a rescue from our local shelter

I thought for sure I’d remember the name of the cute Karnofski dog, but writing this two weeks later, I’ve forgotten.

You can watch a video of Jim explaining all about biochar.  I believe that I’ve had good results using what I call “pseudobiochar”, the chinky black bits left behind in the burn piles of clients who live in areas where burning is allowed, mixed with dairy manure into garden beds.  I did a test, as Jim advised, of growing carrots (or any crop) in a barrel amended with biochar and one without, the the carrots in the biochar planter got much bigger.

At the entrance to the Biocharm vegetable garden, bins hold piles of soil amending ingredients.

pallet bins

pallet bins

We first walked through the vegetable garden that be seen from the highway between Ilwaco and Chinook; the farm is on the left as you drive east out of Ilwaco, east of the Painted Lady Lavender Farm.

looking east

looking east

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yellow sticky trap to catch insect pests

yellow sticky trap to catch insect pests

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bio9

Vera Karnofski

Vera Karnofski

lettuce

lettuce

bredlettuce

a stand of grain

a stand of grain

To the right you can see Highway 101 running next to the farm.

To the right you can see Highway 101 running next to the farm.

looking west

looking west

As we walked along, Jim and Vera harvested vegetables for their dinner.

harvesting

harvesting

carrots

carrot, Allan's photo

gathering dinner

gathering dinner

looking west

looking west

looking south

looking south

After we had thoroughly explored the garden beside the highway, Jim and Vera guided us along a grassy path to a surprise: another garden area almost equally large in a clearing to the north.

grassy path

grassy path

playtime

playtime

another garden!

another garden!

Vera and the beanstalks

Vera and the beanstalks

beans

garden

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

enormous bean pole structure

enormous bean pole structure

beans

Vera Karnofski

Vera Karnofski harvesting dinner

more grain

I should have taken notes on what grains were being grown in the garden.

two large garden beds

looking north, two large garden beds

the garden was hacked out of wilderness.

the garden was hacked out of wilderness.

northernmost bed

northernmost bed

Jim waters down a compost bin.

Jim waters down a compost bin.

In the background, the dog and cat still play.

In the background, the dog and cat still play.

playtime continues

playtime continues

back toward the farmhouse

back toward the farmhouse

more harvesting

more harvesting

Soon after this, Jim realized he had the carrot destined for dinner way back by that compost pile he was watering down.

The spuds were so good that they even tasted good raw.

The spuds were so good that they even tasted good raw.

back to the start

back to the start

At the house, there were ducklings on the loose….

ducks

ducklings on the run

They were under the protection of a large rooster.

He was monitoring the ducklings.

He was monitoring the ducklings.

Vera said they had not had time to clean up the area around the house.  I said I thought there was plenty of impressive garden to show without that area.  Jim invited us in for a beer, but we had to get home to finish the last weeding of our garden. He gave us a couple of freshly dug spuds for our dinner.

Indeed, when I started to go over all the garden beds at home, I desperately wished I had more time to make them perfect, and that we had run the strimmer around all the edges of the beds.  Oh dear.  At least the tour on the very next day did not start until noon so I might have time for some last minute weeding.

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