alliums ameraucana Anthony Bourdain aphids Appleseed Permaculture aquaponics arthritis artichokes Asian Vegetables aussie basil baby chicks baby turnips bearss lime bee keeping beet greens beneficial insects benner tree farm Biochar Bitter Melon blight blooming hill farm boothby blonde cucumber brix broccoli brussels sprouts cabbage cabbage hill farm camp hill farm cancer caraflex celeriac chicken coop chickens children chinese tamale chives cilantro cilantro root coconut cold frames collard greens Compost coriander corn crop rotation cruciferous crucifers cucumber Dan Barber dan kittredge Dave Llewellyn detox dirty dozen dragon fruit Dutch white clover dwarf citrus eggplant Elderberries factory farms farm to table farmer's market farmers markets Fava beans ffarm to table fish oil flea beetle flowers food allergies food combining food miles founding farmers four wind growers Fred Kirschenmann french bulldog G6pd deficiency garlic garlic festival garlic scapes geese Glynwood grass-fed beef Great Outdoors Listening Tour green tomatoes greenhouse growing indoors Hanalei Hemlock Hill Farm heritage turkey heritage USA hudson valley farms hurricane Irene hyssop iced tea infections influenza Insect control isothiocyanates joan gussow jolie lampkin joong kaffir lime kale Kauai kohlrabi korean licorice mint Ladybugs late blight leeks lettuces local food locust tree maine avenue fish market menhaden meyer lemon mycelia mycorrhizal natural fertilizers nectary nightshades No Reservations Nurse cropping nutrient density okra organic Baby food organic christmas tree Organic Pest Control Parsley Paul tappenden peas Permaculture pesticides pesto petite watermelon plant sap pH plymouth barred rock pole beans potatoes preserving food purple basil qunice Radish Greens rainbeau ridge farm raised beds rampicante raw food real food campaign red hook Rockland Farm Alliance ronnybrook farm row covers salt-preserved duck eggs sambucus nigra seed saving seedlings Sheet mulching small space soil analysis soil blocks soil conductivity sorrel Squash Vine Borer star fruit sugar snap peas sustainability sustainable fishing Swiss Chard tabbouleh TEDx Manhattan terracing three sisters tomato sauce tomatoes trellis trovita orange turkana farms Tuttle Farm urban zen volt white clover winter harvest Winter Squash Young Farmers Conference
Indispensable Books and Resources
  • Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    by Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    by Eliot Coleman
  • The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    by Gary F. Zimmer
  • The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    by Barbara Damrosch
  • 1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    Organic Insect Control
  • Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.

    The best farming and growing magazine money can buy!

  • Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks
    Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks

    2" Soil Blocker

  • Mini Soil Blocker
    Mini Soil Blocker
  • New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    by Emily Brooks
  • What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    by Tasneem Bhatia, Editors of Prevention







Short journal entries detailing the nuts and bolts of our ventures in growing food at our micro-farm

Entries in joan gussow (2)


Walkways in the farm and garden: Dutch White Clover

After the last few super rainy seasons our farm walkways between the raised beds have gotten a beating.  Where we had originally planned to have wood chips, torrential rains have managed to wash them away to the bottem level and on top of that, eroding the pathways as well.  Since then, we've been trying to figure out how to solve this problem assuming that extreme weather patterns will continue.  This season, inspired by Joan Gussow's garden, we've decided to plant dutch white clover inbetween all the raised beds.  You've seen dutch white clover before: it's typically in non-chemically treated lawns (along with dandelions) and produces a white flower if left to grow.  We needed something that has mutiple functions.  It needed to be:

1) steppable and tolerate, at times, high traffic conditions

2) provide erosion control

3) benficial to the farm by producing nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects and be

4) asthetically pleasing

Because this serve multiple functions, it is considered a permaculture plant.  Sounds great?  We hope so!


Here is a snapshot from Joan's garden...she told us the trick with planting these is to be very vigorous in pulling out competing weeds in the beginnng. 



An Afternoon with Food Legend Joan Gussow

Every growing season brings its successes and failures.  What was easy to grow last year for us was much more difficult this year but on the upside what we've struggled with last year grew beautifully this year.  When the New York Times wrote about the "bumper crop" of tomatoes this season a few days ago, I became angsty since that hasn't been our experience.  Our tomato "trees" filled with large gorgeous fruit early in the season became a big hit with seemingly all the squirrels and chipmunks in Rockland county.  Some furry creature must have spread the word.  We were all but stripped of our fruit until we took action with 1) Predator netting 2) Fox urine (Shake Away: A product Eliot Coleman uses) and 3) a solar powered owl perched on one of the raised beds.  Our eggplant were also under attack by flea beetles but on a very positive note, we somehow dropped off the radar for the squash vine borers and all of our brassica veggies grew strong, healthy and abundant.  We are always keeping an ear open to hear about how our neighbors and other farmers compete with the pests and bugs and this past weekend we had a special visit with local and global food legend Joan Gussow to hear about her experiences.

Sitting on the second floor balcony of her home overlooking her garden and the Hudson River, we began comparing notes for this growing season.  Even with decades of growing experience, gardeners like Joan are always surprised at new discoveries.  And the best gardeners are the ones that assume very little.  What Joan found was that when she planted her tomatoes in a bed that still had last season's brussels sprouts stalks intact, they grew vigorously and prolifically!  I wonder if the deep undisturbed root structures allowed beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal fungi to stay intact in the soil ready for spring's tomato seedlings...

LEFT: Eggplant with one singular flea beetle.We were thrilled to learn some tricks that have worked for Joan.  Our Japanese eggplant suffered much this summer from the flea beetles.  I'm usually on top of this with a little organic neem spray but alas Farmer Gabriel kept me inside most of the summer.  Joan plants radishes at the end of the eggplant row as a trap crop and it will be a definite trial here next year.

Other discoveries included Joan's white clover groundcover.  I knew about this from our permaculture studies as a nitrogen fixer but never knew it could be so beautiful and so steppable.  She said the trick is to make sure you pull all other weeds out early on as it starts to grow in.RIGHT: White Clover: Ground cover and nitrogen fixer

Two new varieties really caught our attention. One is a pepper called "Puerto Rican No Burn Pepper."  It looks like a habeñero, has the smoky unique taste of one but there is NO burn.  I was hesitant when Joan asked me to bite into one but it was truly a surprising taste.

The other variety that excited us was a basil that does not flower.  As I was behind with the flea beetles this year, I was also behind trimming off the flowers on my Genovese basil.  This variety not only does not flower, you can save it as a cutting over winter and then just replant the flower in the spring.  It has a more sweet cinnamon taste and grows in a columnar fashion.

Aussie Basil

And if you've read Joan's two books: This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader and Growing Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life and Vegetables, you will know this famous fig tree that is thriving very well.


And here is a shot of seasoned farmer Joan and our new farmer Gabriel who attentively basked in all of Joan's stories as we sat there...



Recipe: Burnt Okra with Potatoes, Garlic and Basil

Our intern Pippa requested Okra to be grown this year.  We had little experience cooking/eating okra and heard it was slimy.  The trick is to harvest when young (less than 4" long).  From a greenhouse bed measuring 4 x 6, we've been getting 1/2 lb every 2 days.  Here is a delicious way to serve them...

Peanut Oil

2 cups Okra tops discarded sliced 3/8"

2 cups small dice potato

1 Tbs minced garlic

2 Tbs minced basil

salt and pepper


Using a cast iron skillet, coat the bottom with peanut oil and heat to medium.  Add okra in one layer and cook until browned.  Stir and then add potatoes, salt and pepper.

Stir and cook until potatoes have browned adjusting heat or adding more oil if necessary.  Once they have browned, add garlic and stir.  Then add basil and stir once more.

Serve immediately!

Adapted from a recipe from Food52