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Hi! I’m Jill and I’m the vegetable grower around here.

I grow veggies, herbs and fruits following organic practices, with a focus on specialty heirloom varieties with the most amazing flavor! Over the years I’ve tried hundreds of varieties in my quest for the most special, best tasting and most gorgeous varieties that can also thrive in an organic farming system.

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Heirloom sweet corn, a variety from the 1800s!

I try to focus on perfecting the crops that I can really excel at; that for me, make the most sense¬† (and money! That’s important too!) since I don’t have hired help it’s pretty exhausting to try to do everything and it seems like the quality suffers when I am stretched too thin. I take a lot of pride in what I offer to my amazing customers. Heirloom tomatoes are the hands-down market favorite.

Everyone looks forward to tomato season!

Everyone looks forward to tomato season!

Strangely enough, onions are a close second favorite at the farmers market. That’s super lucky for me because they’re my favorite vegetable to grow.

Onions curing.

Onions curing on a flatbed hay truck.

In 2010, after a winter of temps so cold that we had no delicious vegetables to eat, Shane built me two 75×25′¬† hoophouses (metal frames covered in 2 layers of plastic) – where crops are still planted into the ground, but the plastic covering provides them extra protection – so we can have beautiful organic food through the cold winter months, and the most amazing heirloom tomatoes in the summer are protected from summer storms that bring disease.

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Prepping the ground in the hoophouse before we put the plastic on.

Step into my office!

Side curtains roll up and down to trap heat or to ventilate, depending on the season.

Side curtains roll up and down to trap heat or to ventilate, depending on the season.

 

winter greens

winter greens

summer tomatoes

summer tomatoes

I also grow lots of different kinds of greens, cabbages, garlic, cucumbers, beets, squash, melons, herbs, apples, eggplant, turnips, broccoli, and more in my outside gardens.

Lemon cucumbers and Fairytale eggplant

Lemon cucumbers and Fairytale eggplant

I start almost all of my transplants from seed in the greenhouse which is heated by the woodstove that also heats our home. The stove heats water, which runs into the pipes in our floors to heat our house, then to the greenhouse where it heats the air.

Flats of baby kale, thyme and onions in the heated greenhouse.

Flats of baby kale, thyme and onions in the heated greenhouse.

Some veggies, like potatoes and sweet potatoes, are not started from seed but from a part of the plant. I buy those from Certified Organic sources.

tilling garden beds

tilling garden beds, and a view of the hoophouses

Our soils are amended with composted manure from our cattle and mulched with our hay and straw. Other organic nutrient sources are also used where needed, such as kelp meal and fish emulsion.

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We rely heavily on beneficial insects and healthy soil to keep pest pressure to a manageable level but if we need extra help only OMRI listed sources are used, and of those, only the ones that are so safe there is no wait time needed to harvest. I am very picky about what goes into our food – we are eating it too!

 

 

Great Seed Companies to try-

If you’re planting a garden, start with awesome seeds! These are some of my favorite sources. These companies carry a lot of heirloom (heirloom varieties are not always available as organic seed) and open pollinated seeds (meaning not hybrid – although there is nothing wrong with hybrids!), and some odd stuff that’s fun to grow. The companies listed below have stuff you can’t get just anywhere.

Horizon Herbs has spectacular seed collections, like “Tasty Tea Collection” or “Native American Spirit Plants.” Victory Seeds has a really cool idea – personalized seed envelopes! Vermont Bean Seed has some of the most beautiful dry beans, and Johnny’s has a lot of resources for home gardeners, to help grow things you’ve never grown including tips on organic growing and garden supplies.