First off I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, like we did, and I hope you and (us) have a great 2014!
I sort of hate to say this, but it’s true, my forecast for a colder than normal December has come through, even though Saturday (December 28) is going to be so mild and nice. Most of next week looks to be very, very cold with temperatures perhaps dropping to below zero. This makes me a bit nervous since when the temperatures drop below -12F, peach trees and their flower buds can be damaged. Temperatures below -16F usually means the end of the year’s peach crop. Since we plant our peach trees in a favorable location, -16F at the Fremont airport (the official Fremont recording temperature) or even at GR’s airport, doesn’t mean it has got down to -16F at our peach orchard! Back in 1994 I believe it got down to -22F at the GR airport and only down to -18F at our peach orchard–however that -18F finished our peaches anyway! The other year when our peaches were damaged from the winter’s cold was 1984–I hope that “4″ in the year doesn’t mean something!
The good news is that it looks to me that late next week the air will moderate and maybe, just maybe, we will have an early January thaw setting in around January 4! (BTW this is in contrast to NOAA’s 6-14 day forecast which is calling for colder than normal temperatures and NOT warmer!) It also looks like the rest of winter will be warmer than the December we just have gone through, which was the coldest December in over 10 years. BTW, some climatologists are now forecasting that 2014 will be the warmest year, throughout the world, EVER! Of course, even if they are right, this doesn’t mean necessarily that Magicland Farms will experience the heat since this encompasses the whole earth and right now most ocean water–Atlantic and Pacific– are warmer than normal, which seems to indicate those climatologists may be right.
As usual this time of year we are making seed orders. We mostly deal with commercial seed houses which sell in large quantities. For instance, our seed orders for beans and corn come in 25 pound and 50 pound bags. However, we also buy from places like Burpee which are restricted to selling in small quantities. Keep in mind while Burpee puts a high price tag on their seeds, they do have special deals, including promo codes and copons AND Ebates will provide 7% cash back. To sign up for ebates go to their website at ebates.com. We use ebates frequently and like to see their check come in the mail! (You can also have them send you the money using direct deposit.)
Since we buy our seeds in such large quantities we get them a bit cheaper. Because of this we can compete with most home garden seed companies. We have been selling seeds at our stand for over 2 years. However, since we don’t open the stand until fairly late–sometime between late April and late May–many people have already purchased their seed for the season. We plan on selling seeds online this year. Right now we have our Wisconsin seed pecans and giant pumpkin seeds for sale. We plan on putting more seeds up for sale in the next two months, including a good selection of heirloom tomato seeds. To see Magicland Farms’ Online Seed Store click here.
As you may already know, I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago in the Gage Park district. My grandmother on my mother’s side was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska and she always had roots back in the soil. She instilled my love for growing things in me and I remember planting beans in our yard back in Chicago. Well, the beans I first grew tasted OK but it didn’t make me a bean lover, but then I planted Burpee’s Tenderpod beans–those were really delicious and really encouraged me to eat beans. While we won’t be selling Burpee’s Tenderpod beans (they are way too expensive) we have been growing and selling for years a secret bean we call Magicland’ Famous Beans which is at least as tasty as the Tenderpod and at less than half the price! My wife Annemarie has been asked what is the variety name of the beans we sell and she has said “If I tell you, I’d have to shoot you!” This variety of bean is getting harder for us to find and there are only a couple of sources we have found for it.