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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

Spread a little holiday cheer for the farm / No Stock Shop market this week... 12~13~2014

• Tonopah Rob

Can you believe it gets this cold in Arizona to freeze the water bowls? 

It has been a very rough fall planting season. My farm has been hit by many an obstacle this year. I began planting fall veggies August 1. I was so proud of myself with the on-time planting schedule. As soon as the seeds germinated ants and insects were either digging the seed out of the planted rows or insects were eating the tender sprouts. It didn't matter what kind of Brassica related sprout had popped out of the soil, the Begrada Bug instantly began sucking the life out of the newly sown sprouts. Row after row of kale, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower were soon dead in their furrows. Big black ants carried off many of the onion, beet, radish and turnip seeds from the fields to their below ground colonies. Day after day I watched the beautiful and tender micro greens disappear. Six times, I replanted the farm and each time more seed was confiscated and carried away. More than one thousand dollars of veggie seed was gone. If it wasn't the bugs, quail, ground squirrels and mice took their greedy little share too. One day the spinach was there and over night and into the next morning….gone!

Then there was the heat. The weather has been so hot for such a long period of time. The temperatures have kept the animals and insects above ground and very hungry. I needed cooler weather to slow down the abuse the critters were dishing out all over the farm and send them into hibernation. Then, it was the second week of November and my farm was hit with five nights of below freezing temperatures. I lost about 80 percent of my farm. Cucumbers, eggplant, all kinds of peppers, squash and melons were killed by the 25 degree below freezing temps. That's right, 25 degrees to 30 degrees for five nights really did a lot of damage to my farm. I lost two small hives of bees. They were new swarms and still to small to keep the brood, queen and themselves warm.  I was able to get some of greenhouse one planted with new seed and shortly after the seed sprouted the freeze killed a section of tender seedlings.

And before all of this happened, 9 inches of rain washed away sections of seed. This has been the worst year for fall/winter crops. With all the rain came a boat load of weeds. So many weeds on the farm out grew the veggies. Many of the planted rows had to be tilled under and now I'm starting again with the seventh planting. Bermuda grass has invaded my farm. I don't know where all of that grass seed came from but I'm guessing most of it was from the ants gathering seed and then I tilled the ground and spread the seed. Those black ants can travel great distances to gather food.

I need your help and support. I need more people to come to the farm and markets to buy produce. I need more CSA families to spread the good word about my farm and bring in new families to join the program. I give really great deals on the CSA program. I need more CSA members to give back to the farm. I need more customers to bring out friends and family members to purchase produce and eggs. I need more people to step up and volunteer on the farm to help pull weeds, hula hoe, till and plant. I've got 5000 strawberry plants that need to get into the ground or they will die in cooler. I need people to step up and lend all the help they can muster. If I don't get more help and financial support my farm will not be able to continue. I will be forced to close the doors for several months or longer until I can get a handle on the weeds, planting and many other chores the farm requires to stay alive. There have been so many unforeseen expenses this year due to the devastating weather, insects and animals.

I need more people to buy their tickets for the farm fund-raiser dinner which will help purchase more trees for the farm. I need more people to buy tickets for the Christmas CSA drawing. Buy yourself a super-duper CSA share. I need more people to buy CSA shares for Christmas. I just need more of everything. Prayers and blessings are not enough, I need financial help. I need to win the lottery but I must play to win. Instead of giving to the red kettle drive, give to the farm. I can't make any more sacrifices than I'm already doing, it's time for you to make your sacrifice and help the farm. Come out to the farm or one of the markets I sell at and buy, just don't look and walk away. I hear people all the time that say, "I'm so glad you are here at the market" and then walk away. If you are so glad I'm at the market then put your dollars into the farm, support me, help keep the farm going or it will go. If people would shop on a weekly basis either at the farm or a market location, the farm would be fine. I would be able to hire more people to help keep the weeds at bay so more land could be planted faster to get more crops growing. It's like the airlines say, in order to make money the plane must be in the air. Please contact me via email or call if you can lend a hand or help out financially by purchasing a super-duper share.

Other News:   The Stock Shop Market will not be open this weekend on Saturday December 13, 2014.   I will be helping out another market down the street this weekend.  Peoria High School is hosting a market so please come over and get your veggies at the high school.  The location is Peoria High School 11200 N 83rd Ave Peoria, AZ 85345. The times are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Veggie List:

Keep in mind the farm stand will be very limited with variety.


Romaine Salad Mix

Different Greens

Salad Sweeties

Red Stem Turnips

Daikon Radishes

Watermelon Radishes



Salad Radishes










This list is published on Monday and items may be missing from the tables due to weather, animals or bugs.

Also, Dave Conrad of Conrad's Farm and Ester will be at the farm selling their dates and citrus.

It's very possible if heavy rains continue Friday and Saturday the farm stand and all Saturday selling locations will be closed. You may visit one of our Sunday locations if the weather permits us to open.  Check out the directions to the market tab for a Sunday location near you.