April Fresh Sheet

I will update this sheet throughout the month to indicate items that become available and what has sold out.



Purple sprouting broccoli: $2/ bunch

Lacinato Kale: $3/ bunch

Rhubarb: $2/ five stalks

Leeks: $1/ 3 leeks

Rosemary: $1/ two large sprigs

Lovage: $1/ two large sprigs

Pastured Eggs: $5/ dozen

Pastured (Ossabaw) Pork

Pork Chops, Ribs, Butt Roast: $7/ lb.


Our First Year at Green Mountain Farm


Happy New Year! The start of 2016 marks the end of our first year as small scale farmers. It’s been a dream come true, and I have loved it even more than I thought I would! 

We have had plenty of ups and downs, both personally and in regards to the farm, over the past year. We experienced a flood in our home in early spring; a drought through the spring and summer months – thankfully our well didn’t dry up, but we were unable to plant the fruit trees because of it – and the loss of chickens to age, weather, and predators. 

We have also hatched our own eggs in our incubator several times, both for meat and more laying hens. And we had the privilege of watching two of our hens become excellent mothers by hatching their own eggs. Our olive eggers started laying green eggs, and we just received the meat back from our two Owssaba pigs, to rave reviews. 

It has been a year of physically hard work. Hours have been spent planning, planting, harvesting, seed saving, and preserving our garden bounty. We have spent plenty of time herding, chasing, catching and rescuing chickens. I have learned that falling into bed physically exhausted leads to the best sleep imaginable. 

One of the most rewarding parts of farming has been getting to know so many people who believe in and support the type of farming we do. We have developed a strong customer base and made new friends in the process. 

We have many plans and dreams for the year to come, and I can hardly wait to share them with you. In the meantime, it’s back to collecting eggs, pouring over seed catalogues, and waiting for the days to get a little longer. Here’s to the new year!




Onto Greener Pastures

The fence enclosing the orchard / chicken run is finally complete. The chickens now have access to twice the space and lush grass, plentiful weeds, and juicy bugs. 

They have been a bit timid these past few days. Not all of them want to go and explore, and without some coaxing, some of the girls would even prefer to stay in the coop. 

But every day they seem to be venturing further into the orchard; and soon they will be sharing their nitrogen rich manure with all of the trees!

For now though, they are happiest near home, and that’s fine by me because happy chickens produce the healthiest eggs!


Asparagus, Potatoes, Rhubarb and More


Asparagus, Potatoes, Rhubarb and More - 1 Asparagus, Potatoes, Rhubarb and More- 2 Asparagus, Potatoes, Rhubarb and More -3 Asparagus, Potatoes, Rhubarb and More - 4

The weather on Canada’s west coast has been tantalizing for the gardener in me! I’ve been obsessing over our garden for the last couple of months.

Since this is the first time planting on this scale here at Green Mountain Farm, we have had to purchase many plants and seeds to get us started.

We purchased our Red Russian garlic from One Love Farm and planted it in late February. To that same raised bed, we added Tuscan kale and Swiss chard starts. Since the weather has become increasingly warm, we have added more plants to our garden as well.

In the first week of March, in our second raised bed, we planted fifteen crowns of three different varieties of asparagus: Mary Washington, Jersey Knight, and Millenium; the Millenium crowns have so far sent up the most shoots, so we will most likely be purchasing more of this variety next year.

We also added about twenty non-descript shallot bulbs next to the asparagus, and they too have begun to poke up through the ground.

Beside our second raised bed, we took a chance and planted three varieties of early potatoes: Russian Blue, French Fingerlings, and German Butter potatoes. Above the second raised bed, we have transplanted fifteen rhubard divides from my brother in law’s incredibly happy plants.

Mr. Green Thumb also planted a row of raspberries next to the blueberry patch; and he finished building a third raised bed, which I have been filling with a combination of chicken manure shavings, hay and top soil. Our garden is actually starting to take shape!


What have you planting or dreaming of planting so far this spring?


This post first appeared on greenmountainfarm.wordpress.com.

Designing an Orchard

Orchard - Future Orchard


We had the privilege of meeting with one of Canada’s gardening gurus this past week: Brian Minter. We have frequented his garden center for fruiting and ornamental trees, plants and flowers, seeds and starts. His staff is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, and you will often see Brian himself talking with customers.

What we didn’t know until recently was that Brian happily offers half an hour consultations to his customers for free!

We arrived early, not wanting to keep Brian waiting. We were armed with photographs, measurements, and diagrams–overkill, I’ll admit in hindsight, but we wanted to be sure we left no stone unturned! We were warmly greeted by his friendly smile and hearty handshake, as he ushered us into the room and to a table.

We got right down to business, and after several minutes of trying to explain the lay of the land, the style of the house, and the gardens we were hoping for, he told us to take a step back, and focus on one small area for now. He told us we were welcome to come back again to see him when we were ready to tackle the next space.

Focusing our sights on the orchard, he encouraged us to ‘get creative’ and toss the linear, structured layout that orchards often have. He suggested opting for flowing, natural lines instead–an idea we both happily accepted in place of our original, high maintenance ideal.

Because our orchard will be at the front of the property, he felt that we should focus on making it aesthetically pleasing, a welcoming entrance to our farm. And since we will have our work cut out for us with the pruning, the animals, and the kitchen garden, he insisted we keep the structure as natural as possible to eliminate the need for rigorous maintenance.

He gave us many specific suggestions as well, but I won’t bore you with the details. I look forward to showing the pictures to you all in the weeks to come.


In the meantime, if you are in the planning stages of a garden or orchard, I highly recommend contacting your local garden center, community garden, or community college. It is invaluable to have input from someone who has expert advice, as well as years of hands on experience!



We Have Blueberry Bushes

We have Blueberry Bushes

Early spring is the time to plant bushes and trees, both ornamental and fruit bearing. It feels like we have been waiting so long for this time to come! We finally finished digging up, bringing home, replanting, and pruning our twenty-four new blueberry bushes.

Since the some of the roots were broken off during transplanting, a heavy pruning was required so the plants wouldn’t be too strained this summer. We won’t get more than a handful of berries to snack on this summer, but we should have a great crop in 2016!

Twelve of the plants are the common Duke variety, and the other twelve are a more recently developed Draper variety. They are mature plants (four-six years old), and produce very well. Duke produces an early season fruit, while Draper fruits mid season.

Duke has a slightly tart sweet flavor, while Draper has sweeter flavor. The skin is thick on both varieties of berries, so they hold up well for market once they are picked. Blueberry bushes need well drained soil which has a slightly acidic pH, which is why blueberries are commonly top dressed with softwood shavings.

It is essential to have more than one variety of blueberry plant for cross pollination. Draper is the first variety to be self fertile, but the Duke still needs a second variety. We are trying to decide if we will add a third mid to late season variety, or add another row of each of the varieties we already have.

Teaching the Chicks to Eat (And a Chick Update)

Teaching the Chicks to Eat

Since there is no hen to teach the chicks how to eat, it’s up to us to make sure they learn. Tapping on the dish with a finger is said to mimic a mother hen leaning over and pecking with her beak. As soon as I tapped on the dish yesterday morning, the four oldest came running. They pecked at my finger, and then down into the food.

It is also necessary to teach them to drink. As well as tapping on the dish, dipping their beaks in the water helps them learn what and where the water is. They instinctively take a drink, and often dip their beaks into the water themselves for a second taste.

Now when I tap my finger into the water or food dish, they all come running. Clearly they have figured out eating and drinking, because when I checked in on them this morning, their food and water were gone! They are even developing a pecking order already – often when one chick takes a bite of food, another chick will first peck at its beak before taking a bite of its own.

Teaching the Chicks to Drink

On the chick front, all of the eggs have hatched now, and we have eighteen little chicks (two didn’t make it). Ten of them are predominantly yellow, and eight of them are black with bits of yellow on them. I’ll be posting more pictures soon!


The Chicks are Hatching, Part 2

The Chicks are Hatching - under the heat lamp

Our chick count has grown from four to thirteen since last night – and more on the way. As they dry off in the incubator, we move them over to a box in the garage. Mr. Green Thumb had picked up a large box from Costco last week – the kind that watermelons and sacks of onions are sold out of.

Last night, as the first chicks pecked free of their shells, we scrambled to reassemble the box. I taped down the bottom flaps so that none of the chicks could get caught underneath one of them. We sprinkled shavings down and Mr. Green Thumb got the heat lamp set up.

We had read that a broody hen will accept chicks if you slip them under her from behind. We happened to have a hen that has been sitting on her eggs for the last five days. We moved her and her eggs over, and she sat right down. Then we slipped the four chicks under her.

Immediately she stood up, and looked all around. She could hear the peeping from the chicks, but couldn’t figure out where the sounds were coming from. When she noticed the chicks, she pecked at one of them, and then flew up and perched on the edge of the cardboard box. So much for that idea! We carried her and her eggs back to the nesting box, and she settled right back in.

So the four chicks from yesterday spent their first night under the heat lamp and not a hen, like we had hoped. Thankfully, they are doing well and are wandering all over the box, exploring their new surroundings. The others are still sleepy, and are huddled together directly under the light.


The Chicks are Hatching, Part 1


The Chicks are Hatching - empty egg shells

Tonight, four freshly hatched chicks are stumbling around in the incubator, eyes barely opened, collapsing in exhaustion every couple of seconds. It’s incredible that they have any energy to move around at all, considering the effort required to free themselves from their cramped quarters.

The Chicks are Hatching - just hatched

It’s remarkable to think that three short weeks ago, these were nothing but a basket of eggs out of our chicken coop. Although most of them are fertilized, it is impossible to tell by looking at them – on the outside or the inside. What a transformation they have undergone!

The Chicks are Hatching - getting cozy

I hope I never stop being amazed by these tiny feathered creatures and the miracle of life they represent!



Our First Raised Bed

Our FIrst Raised Bed

We have officially marked off the land that our garden will occupy. Although the chickens are currently using much of the space, we are building several beds outside their temporary run to get a head start. Eventually, the chickens will move into a fenced in orchard, but that’s a story for another day.

My husband, Mr. Green Thumb, has been hard at work building and filling our first of several raised beds. He found a place nearby that sells cedar seconds, and has proceeded to build a very large, very durable bed. The dimentions are 12 feet long, by 4 feet wide, by 2 feet high.

What he might have failed to consider was how much material it would take to fill this bed! Fortunately, we have all the organic matter we need right on our property. The girls and I took a turn shoveling manure filled shavings and top soil, and spreading hay. However, Mr. Green Thumb is so much more efficient that we let him finish the job. 🙂

The decomposing manure filled shavings make up a thick layer on the bottom of the bed, as well as a layer in the middle. They will generate a lot of heat in the bed which will stimulate growth once the seeds are planted.

Although the straw and shavings require a lot of nitrogen to break down, there is more than enough nitrogen from all of the chicken manure mixed in. The topsoil also helps break everything down, and has a lot of worms in it to help the decomposition further.

Our First Raised Bed - Mr. Green Thumb working hard

After several afternoons worth of work the raised bed is ready to go. Now all we need is some warmer weather so that we can plant!