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Posted 4/20/2018 8:42am by John and Aimee Good.


Earth Day is today! And every day. 

The earth is the best home, and the only home, we’ve got. So we better take care of it!  

We are doing our best to improve the land and the soils here on our 18 acres. There is a lot of life sharing this space with us. Last season we saw baby grey tree frogs in the fields, as well as cecropia moths, luna moths, bats, foxes, hawks, bluebirds, killdeer, and many more creatures.

This spring John observed salamander larvae in the vernal pool in the woods, just at the edge of the lower fields, and we have heard spring peeper frogs, as well as toads singing nearby.  

Everything we do on the farm affects all the life sharing the land with us, not to mention the life in the soil. Underneath our feet millions of microbes, earthworms, nematodes and insects and others are at work; decomposing and creating organic matter, recycling nutrients, converting nutrients into usable forms for plants, aerating the soil and more.

 The soils on an organic farm are active and alive, and they are doing amazing things to help the planet. Organic soils can pull carbon out of the atmosphere, acting as a carbon sink, rather than a carbon source. According to the Rodale Institute’s research, “soil under organic agriculture management can accumulate about 1000 pounds of carbon per acre foot of soil each year”.  

Healthy soils can hold more water, reducing runoff and increasing filtration. For every 1% increase in soil organic matter, which is basically of measure of the microbial activity of the soil, the soil can hold 20,000 gallons more water per acre. That is pretty amazing. 

At the Good Farm we are constantly working to improve our soils. We use our land lightly, planting only one vegetable crop in a field per year, and planting cover crops (grasses, grains, and legumes) when the field is not in vegetable production, to protect the soil from erosion and to feed the soil microbes and increase organic matter.

We till using a spader, which maintains the soil layers rather than inverting them, and requires only one pass to go from covered ground to seedbed, reducing the amount of tillage needed overall.

Every year we apply compost to all the fields, to increase fertility and organic matter. We are growing healthy soils, and healthy soils grow nutrient-dense vegetables, which taste better and make us feel better, stronger, and more alive. Our bodies know what we need!

And when we work with nature, it is better for us all.  

We are proud to be organic farmers, working with nature.  

Thank you for supporting this good work! Happy Earth Day!


 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

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Posted 4/17/2018 9:51am by John and Aimee Good.

PLANTING UPDATE: We were finally able to start putting plants out into the fields last week, and boy did we plant! It was a trial by fire for our new farm apprentices, Megan Sonier and David Darling, and they definitely stretched the planting muscles!

Fighting frozen soils last Monday morning, we hand-tranplanted 2000 broccoli and cabbage plants.

We use the water-wheel transplanter that you see here, to create a nice wet hole, into which the riders place each plant and then cover with soil, as the tractor driver, usually John or I, very slowly pulls the machine down the bed. The mechanical transplanter really enhances the success of the transplants, and saves some time and back muscles for the farmers!

Farmer Aimee and apprentice Megan are planting this bed, pictured above, with the first lettuce of the season. These plants look quite happy!

The cabbage and broccoli had a rough week. They were covered by snow last Monday night, and then baked in a summer sun by the weekend! The first broccoli planting often gets a tough time from the weather extremes of early April. It gets snowed on most years. But it always seems to rebound and gives us broccoli in early June! We do always protect these early brassica crops with row covers, which help with the temperature extremes, as well as conserve soil moisture, and exclude pests.

In addition to the lettuce, cabbage and broccoli; we put out 3600 red beet transplants, as well as 8500 total onion plugs, each of which contains about 3 onion plants or 6 scallion plants (we seed them in clusters); including yellow and red storage onions,  sweet yellow and white onions, as well mini red onions and scallions. And we are not finished with the alliums yet! We plan to put out about 2500 leek plants later this week!

We are excited to be off to a great start with the planting season, preparing for a great CSA harvest to come!

MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: Only 20 spots remaining for the 2018 season. If you haven't done so already, time to reserve your share!

KUTZTOWN PICKUP SITE: Someone is looking to split a small share at the Kutztown delivery site, alternating weekly pickups. Please let me know if you, or someone you know, may be interested!

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 4/6/2018 1:44pm by John and Aimee Good.

Tomato Surgery Time

Yes, we got out our razor blades and grafting clips, and proceeded to attempt to join two tomato plants into one: grafting.  Grafting has been used in orchards for a very long time. It has become more common in vegetable production in recent years.

The idea here is to graft a delicious fruiting variety onto a very hardy,  disease-resistant rootstock. The rootstock is a wild-type tomato, selected for it's vigor. Grafting the tomato plants that we will plant into the high tunnel allows for an early and long harvest of excellent tomatoes, with strong, healthy, disease-resistant plants.

In this photo you can see where we have just complete the side-graft cuts and the plants are clipped together while they heal. If you look at the plant in the middle, you can see the exact spot of the "join". We make precisely matching cuts, on about a 70 degree angle, downward in the rootstock and upwards in the scion, to "lock" the stems together. I was quite proud of this one! It held together before I even clipped it!

After surgery, the plants are placed in a healing chamber, protected from sunlight and wind, for 3 days. We mist them daily to keep the humidity high.  We will remove them from the healing chamber on the 4th night. Then we make a weaning cut, to partially sever the scion (top) from it's root. We add a bamboo stake to support the plant at this time. After a few days we then cut the scion from it's root completely.  By this time, the scion should have grown to connect completely to the rootstock for it's nutrient source.

At first I am  always nervous when we get the razors out and start to cut up our precious tomato plants we have been growing since February!  But after a while I really begin to enjoy the precision and technique of being a plant surgeon. Witnessing the ability of the plants to grow and thrive through the grafting process makes me realize the great resiliency of plants. They really do want to grow!

And we want to grow them for you! Looking forward to the start of the CSA season in June, we only have about 30 shares left. If you are not a member now, you can sign up today! Already a member? THANK YOU! Feel free to help spread the word. Earth Day is approaching, and joining a local, organic farm is a great way to be kind to the planet, and yourself!

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/30/2018 9:52am by John and Aimee Good.

FIRST SEEDS OF SPRING!

We had a little window of dry days between the snowmelt and the rain beginning earlier this week. So on Monday and Tuesday John spaded in the winter's mulch of a fall-sown cover crop of oats, and made beds in the fields.

On Tuesday afternoon, I followed behind with the push seeder, sowing seeds in the freshly worked soil. I sowed carrots, spinach, radishes, turnips, and Asian greens. It's so exciting to be working in the soil again, preparing for the new season!

Even though it does not feel like it yet, spring is coming.  John noticed the return of the killdeer, a pretty seagull-like bird that inhabits farm fields, nesting on the ground. A strange name, I agree, but people say their call sounds like, "killdeer, killdeer." Having returned from their wintering grounds recently, they were looking for worms and bugs in the freshly turned earth.

 

CELIA & AIMEE'S VIDEO DEBUT

Last week, on a snow day, our daughter Celia accompanied me to the greenhouse for the day's seeding. I commissioned her to be a videographer for the day. I show you how we seed kale, and explain a bit about the process, from seed to seedling to field. You can watch it here on our facebook page, www.facebook/goodfarmcsa/.

We hope to continue to do more of these this season, to show members and farm fans a glimpse of the farm that otherwise would not be seen.  We hope you enjoy it!

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/23/2018 11:54am by John and Aimee Good.

The snow was thick on the fields yesterday, but it is melting fast today!

The old timers' say that the spring snowmelt puts nitrogen into the soil to feed the plants.

We should have some happy plants this year I would imagine!

 

I thought everyone would enjoy seeing a bit of green right about now.

So here are some pictures of the seedlings in the greenhouse.

Although the nights are cold, when the days are sunny it can be 80 degrees in the greenhouse and the plants are growing well.

Below, from left to right, are baby tomatoes, beets, broccoli, and onions.


Spring is on the way. And we are looking forward to preparing the fields for sowing. The first CSA pickups are only 10 weeks away - the first week of June!


Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/14/2018 1:15pm by John and Aimee Good.

BEFORE: Patches on the greenhouse, from the outside, and the inside. 
   



AFTER: New plastic on the greenhouse, 2 layers replaced

We had a great crew of family and friends over on Sunday, and together we restored the greenhouse to full functioning! We decided on Sunday because the weather forecast was for a calm day, with very low wind, and sun. Well, the morning did not hold up to the forecast, and we fought the plastic to keep it from sailing aloft. There were some strong gusts, and even the children came out to sit along the edges for extra weight!

By noon the weathermen were proved right, and the calm, warm day arrived. We were able to re-do the parts that did not get tight the first time, when the wind was billowing the plastic, and although it took longer than we expected, it worked out beautifully in the end.

And just in time! I don't know how well our patches would have stood up to leaks on the extremely cold nights this week!

You know the old saying: March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, the lion is definitely roaring through the beginning of March! Hopefully the lamb will greet us as we near the end of the month. . . hoping for spring weather to arrive soon!

We may have another late start to the planting season, as we did last year after the big March snowstorm. But we are continuing to start seedlings and prepare for the season as usual. We know that the plants will catch up once  we can get them outside, and we cannot prepare fields until they are ready, so we wait on Mother Nature.

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/6/2018 6:41pm by John and Aimee Good.


We almost can't believe it . . . everything that happened in the last few days, was the best possible scenario. So many neighbors, friends, and family lent a hand when we really needed it. The insurance company responded immediately on Monday morning, and sent out the adjuster this morning. Our old neighbor from Kutztown, Leon Brubaker, who is a farmer and builds pole barns, came out first thing this morning with his crew to install the 2 by 4's and fasten the tarps to the roof. And then, after talking it over with us, decided he could possibly get the metal roofing and sheet the roof today. Luck was with us . . . and a very hard-working crew of Mennonites, and the roof is on the main section of the barn!

John and I just wanted to share how grateful we are for this experience. Not that it is finished, or that we particularly want it to happen again, but the outpouring of love that we have received from the community has been amazing, humbling, and wonderful. We truly are so much stronger together than we could ever be as individuals, and sometimes it takes "hard times" to realize this.

We want to thank you all, for the amazing support and kindness that you have extended to us, such kind words and deeds. We are truly grateful, we cannot adequately express how much this means to us.

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/5/2018 1:12pm by John and Aimee Good.

We were very worried about the greenhouse and the high tunnel surviving the extremely strong winds, beginning on Friday. On Friday morning, John and I abandoned our plans for greenhouse seeding, and spent the morning fighting the intense winds to install webbing straps crossing the greenhouse from all sides, in hopes of keeping the plastic on the structure through the storm.

Well, the plastic did mostly stay on the greenhouse.

What we were not expecting at all, was for wind to funnel down the field in a spiral, and lift the barn roof, as well as all the posts of the front lean-to, and toss it in the air, to land in the field behind the barn. Our neighbors witnessed the event, which happened in an instant.

John had been walking behind the barn to check on the greenhouse (for the umpteenth time) about 10 minutes prior.

We are so grateful that he was not behind the barn when the roof came off and landed in a heap there.

 

Above left, the front of the barn, missing the front lean-to and the roof. Above right, the back of the barn, a bit of roof still hanging onto the back lean-to, but the entire top is gone.

Below left, a crew of family, neighbors, and friends came to help us clean up. Below right, a view from inside the barn, looking up.

 The only damage to the greenhouse was sustained by the roof hitting it as it fell, bending the vent pipes and fan louvers, as well as gashing and ripping the plastic in several places. We are patching and repairing as we can now, but will have to replace both plastic layers on the greenhouse at some point in the season, when it is feasible to do so.

As we have been without power and keeping the greenhouse warm with portable propane heaters, we were lucky to be able to send the most delicate plants, the early tomatoes, along home to the greenhouses of our farmer friends for the time being.

We did get power restored today, and are working to get the greenhouse back in order as soon as possible.

We are in contact with our insurance company to arrange to fix the barn, and in the meantime are working with a local contractors to fasten giant tarps on the roof.

We thank you for your support and understanding. Please be aware we may be a bit slower to attend to other matters as we are dealing with this.

We also want to say that, although we are feeling stressed by this ordeal, especially in light of snow in the forecast, we also feel extremely lucky. Lucky that John was not behind the barn when this happened; lucky to have such a good community of neighbors, farm friends and family who came together to help us when we needed it; and lucky to have the support of our members, who are with us for the long haul of each growing season.

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/1/2018 10:07am by John and Aimee Good.


The power of the sun grows our vegetables. We want to harness this energy to store the vegetables as well, to run the coolers in the barn.

We are collaborating with Blue Rock Station, to host a 5-Day Solar Electric Certification Workshop. Jay Warmke from Blue Rock Station will be providing instruction for up to 10 attendees. Participants will learn how to design and install residential solar PV systems, and will actually install a small solar array on the barn roof as part of the class. All participants will be able to become ETA certified installers; the exam concludes the 5-day workshop.

Here is what Blue Rock Station has to say about this workshop:

Want to learn how to install solar?  Maybe you even want to become certified to work in the solar field.  Now you can spend just five days of training (4 1/2 classroom instruction and 1/2 day taking the certification test) in a location near you - to realize your goal.

According to the 2017 US Energy and Employment Report, more people now work in the US solar industry than in oil, natural gas, and coal extraction - combined. And employment is growing at about 25% per year.

Solar electric will dominate technology in the coming decades, in ways similar to how desktop computers and the Internet transformed our society over the past three decades. Prices continue to plummet - the price of a system cut in half every three years.

This PV course is designed for beginners, so experience with electric or electronics is not necessary. In this class you will gain practical real world hands-on experience, and you will be job ready to join one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. 

You will practice on a working PV system, dismantling and reinstalling it, troubleshooting and ensuring its proper operation.  During the course you will learn to size your system according to your electrical needs, select the type of system that works best for your situation, select all the components for your system, size the wiring and overcurrent protection, price the system, size and select the battery bank (if needed) - basically, when you leave you will be able to design from start to finish a residential solar PV system and install it as well.  The course concludes with an industry-recognized certification examination.

ETA Examination fees (normally $150) and course materials (installation toolkit and student workbook - also valued at around $150) are included as part of the course fee.

$970 registration includes: instruction, textbook (Understanding Photovoltaics: A Study Guide for Solar Electric Certification Programs) starter tool kit, lunches, and the ETA Photovoltaic Installer Certification exam.

As the workshop hosts, The Good Farm will be providing delicious farm lunches for all participants!

For more details and to register, visit www.bluerockstation.com.

Please share this email or this  Solar Certification Flyer to help us spread the word!

 

Thank you!

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

Like us on Facebook!

Posted 3/1/2018 8:47am by John and Aimee Good.


It's so good to see something green & growing!

We are getting very excited for spring.

The greenhouse is filling up with onions, leeks, & scallions, early tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli.  We continue to seed more crops every week!

Farmer John is watering the young transplants here, pictured left.


NEW DROP SITE!

We have added 1 new CSA drop site, in Jim Thorpe at Jim Thorpe Yoga, on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm.

We are currently looking to add a drop site on the western end of Allentown, in the 18104 zip code. If anyone has any recommendations of possible locations in this area, please let us know!

 

STRAWBERRIES!

Yesterday we uncovered and weeded the strawberries that we planted last fall. They are some of the strongest, healthiest plants we have ever seen at this time of the year.   We are hopeful that this will bring a great crop in June! Everyone LOVES strawberries!

 

SOLAR CERTIFICATION CLASS!

 

We are hosting a 5-day Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) Certification Workshop, May 7th - May 11th, with Blue Rock Station. We will be sending an email tomorrow with the complete details, as well as a flyer to share, post, and distribute.

Designed for beginners, this workshop will offer hands-on experience installing a system on our barn roof, as well as "classroom" education, and will conclude with an industry-recognized certification examination, to get people started as PV installers, for themselves or as a business.

Keep an eye on your inbox, and please help us spread the word!

 

Your farmers,

John and Aimee Good

The Good Farm

www.goodfarmcsa.com

8112 Church Road

Germansville PA 18053

484-262-0675

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The Good Farm is a certified organic farm raising vegetables, berries, flowers, and herbs for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmer's market. Farmers John and Aimee Good specialize in providing the best quality and most flavorful varieties of the vegetables you love to eat- the staples! We have happy members - over 70% return every year!

 

Many customers say they eat healthier, feel better, learn to cook new things, save money, and even lose weight by joining the farm. We are all connected to farming, as we are all eaters. Experience seasonal eating. Support a type of farm that you can believe in; the kind you imagined as a child; where people pick the produce by hand, the soils are thriving, and the fields are full of life. Become a CSA member or visit The Good Farm at the Trexlertown Farmer's Market. Because "it's all GOOD!"

 

"Eating is an agricultural act" - Wendell Berry

8112 Church Rd.
Germansville, PA 18053
484-262-0675
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