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New Terra Farm News -- Factoids of Interest to the organic foodie
January 25, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010
Written & Published by Scott Kelland
Written at New Terra Farm
13510 County Rd 15
Merrickville ON

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Must be a new season, I'm ordering seeds! I love looking at those shiny seed catalogs, and checking out the great new varieties as well as my old favorites. It's better than Christmas to a gardener!

1. Opening Notes

2. Seed Starting Tips

3. RANT: the 'gummint' is not the answer!

This section presents stuff you should see (and maybe buy) because, well, I said so! Just kidding, as you know we only promote products and services we have personal knowledge of and really believe deliver value, and that are worth your time to check out. So, uh, do it!

PORK! I've got a box or two of pork still left from the piggies I sent in January. Should be coming back around the end of the month. Pork boxes are about 20 lbs, mixed chops, roasts, ribs, bacon, ham, ground pork and sells for $7.50/lb.
KITTENS! We still have those cute and cuddly KITTENS free to go to a loving family. The kittens are male, 4 months old and 6 months old, and have those extra toes that are so cute. Drop me a line if you want a kitten (or two) 613 269-3884

JUST ONE WEEK LEFT. The introductory price for the SBI! e-learning course on how to build a successful online business ends January 31. If you want to start the new year with a new direction, and build a business that can change your life, this 12-week online course will show you step by step how to do it. Start before January 31 and save $100. Highly recommended!

Click here to start building an online business with SBI!


1. Opening Notes

You may remember in the last newsletter my little blurb about Seth Godin and spending your time doing fun and creative and cool stuff. The key point of course, is to pursue the things that are fun/creative/etc FOR YOU.

Your definitions of those things probably differ at least somewhat from mine. I get jazzed about my garden, my farm, writing my books, and creating new stuff on my website. And I'm happy as a clam about the new green community association we are creating with Merrickville Goes Green

But whatever turns your crank, do more of it this year. Life is too short to take seriously; chase your dreams and try to find a little joy every day. And Joy, pay no attention to those people following you, they're harmless! (joke)

happy happy,

p.s. I'm trying to wrap up 'recruiting' CSA members a little earlier than usual this year, because I have many plans that I need to firm up for this season (I mentioned a few of them last issue).

So if you are planning on returning or joining as a new member, please let me know by January 31 (if you have already contacted me, thank you.)

The prices per share are remaining the same as last year, $500 for a half-share payable in two equal installments, and $900 for a full share, also payable in two installments.

You can send cheques payable to New Terra Farm, 13510 County Rd 15, Merrickville K0G 1N0. If you choose to pay in installments, you can post-date the second installment as late as March 31 2010.

You can also pay in installments by credit card on my New Terra Farm page

2. Seed Starting Tips

Since it's that time of year when the first seed orders are going in, I thought I would share a few seed-buying and seed-starting tips from my experience.

First, realize that seed is cheap! Compared to other expenses in your garden, seed is very inexpensive, even if you buy organic seeds (which you certainly should.) So buy lots in that first order; sometimes seed companies sell out of popular cultivars, and you may not be able to get more later in the season.

And, most seeds keep for at least a couple seasons. So any 'leftovers' can be used next season.

Next, use a good, preferably organic, seed-starting mix. These light-weight mixtures e.g. Promix or similar, are designed to get your seeds off to a good start. Your results will be better than if you use your own garden soil.

I use the 'straight mix' for starting seeds; when I re-pot transplants e.g. tomatoes - to give them more room, I mix in about 25% of my own compost by volume,to give the seedlings a little boost.

Use real seed-starting plugs and trays. Best results will come if you use actual trays and 'inserts' from a garden centre. Make sure to get some clear domes to cover your trays as well. These items are reusable for several seasons.

Wet the seed-starting mix thoroughly before putting it in your pots. Use a large tub, and add water to the mix until it is damp but not dripping. Fill your pots about 3/4 full, then add your seeds, and cover lightly with a little of the mix. Keep your trays covered with the clear domes until the seedlings emerge. Keep the covered trays in a warm spot, around 22C, until germination.

Give your seedlings lots of light. For optimal growth your seedlings need a minimum of 12 hours and preferably 14-15 hours of light daily. Since days are short this time of year, the best way to accomplish this is with a light stand of some kind.

Feed your seedlings once a week with a dilute mix of fish emulsion and/or liquid seaweed. The first feeding should be half-strength, according to the manufacturer's directions.

That's it, this regimen will keep your little plants growing steadily until they are ready to go into the garden.

3. RANT: the 'gummint' is not the answer!

In my blog I just wrote about the BIG NEWS from our provincial government; they are spending $437 million to lure South Korean company Samsung to Ontario to create some 'green energy' generation capacity. Our Premier considers this a good deal because supposedly 1,440 jobs will be 'created' by this deal.

The full excruciating details can be seen here Samsung green boondoggle but I want to add some context and emphasize one point in that article.

You probably know (if you have been reading my stuff for a while) that I believe we are headed for major problems in the near future. The confluence of climate change, peak oil, global unrest, soaring personal and government debt levels, and the rise of powers like India and China are going to profoundly affect our North American way of life (I almost said 'waste of life'.)

This incident, wherein the government's answer is to throw our money at the wrong problem, just points out that we will be ON OUR OWN when things really get tough.

I'm not a 'survivalist' nut, nor am I 'arming up' against the day. However, I am pursuing seriously the ways in which my farm and my community can be made more self-sufficient. Hence my little foray into Green Entrepreneurship with my co-conspirators at Merrickville Goes Green (see the link in the first section.)

I believe we have a responsibility to our kids and our community to be ready when the compost hits the fan. Stay tuned to Merrickville Goes Green, and we will tell you some of the things you might consider to make your life more sustainable.

Because I know for sure that, when big bad stuff happens, it won't be the government that rescues you; it will be the resources and friendships and community you have built.

You can contact me with questions or comments about any of the above at Scott's email

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