We will start picking our early variety of Sugar Snap peas on Thursday May 31!!! This is by far the earliest we have started selling Sugar Snap peas! We also will have butterhead lettuce, garlic scapes, potted annual and perennial flowers and herbs, vegetable and giant pumpkin and corn seeds, potted ostrich ferns, potted hardy pecan trees and seeds, popcorn on the ear and in pint jars and more..
Archive for May 29, 2012
Having sweet corn knee high by the 4th of June in Newaygo County Michigan is a real challenge and I have only accomplished this 3 or 4 times since I started growing sweet corn in the 70′s. Of course it matters on how high your knee is from the ground and if you are wearing boots or going barefoot. One thing I found, it isn’t much of a challenge if you grow field corn because today’s hybrid field corn grows so much faster than the good tasting varieties of sweet corn–which are the only type we grow. This year we planted our first corn on April 23 and it is growing vigorously. I have a real shot at it making my goal of at least a few stalks being as tall as my knee by the 4th of June when I am wearing sneakers. While it will be warm through the Memorial Day weekend, cooler weather looks like it will get here later in the week. I will keep you informed of its progress. By the way, our early variety of Sugar Snap peas (Sprint) will be ready by the first of June.
Two of my daughters will be vendors displaying their gourd artwork and drawings at Newaygo’s MEMORIAL DAY ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL on Fri/Sat May 25 and 26…This festival will be held in downtown Newaygo between 11AM to 7PM on Friday and 10AM to 5PM on Saturday. Let’s hope for good weather!
The following is from our latest Magicland Farms newsletter Click the link to sign up.
If you have been following the local news and weather this past month, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that we won’t have any apples, peaches, plums, pears or cherries for sale this year. They were wiped out by the weird weather this spring. As you may know, March was so warm–nearly two weeks straight of temperatures from the mid 70s to near 90–that it fooled the trees into thinking it was May. Then in mid to late April, the weather came closer to normal and we received a couple of nights in the 20s which did the fruit in. To try to make up a little for this lack of tree fruit, we are planting more watermelon and muskmelon than normal. We also have rented some additional property and expanded our total plantings including more sweet corn, pumpkins, squash, cukes etc. So while are fruit this year is gone, we hope to have more vegetables than ever. Of course, how much we have for sale depends upon the weather, just like all farming.
Because of the early spring, we have had the doors open at Magicland Farms since about April 1. Each week we have gradually expanded our selection of produce and gardening stuff. This week we will be continuing to pick radishes and we will start harvesting young, tender white turnips and garlic scapes. We also will have potted giant pumpkin and chive plants.
We’ll start off the week with several annual flowers including Nasturtiums (in 6″ pots and hanging baskets), Ageratum, Angel’s Trumpet (Datura – a deer resistant plant that should be kept away from children and pets. Hanging this out of reach is one idea.), and Morning Glories. Later in the week we’ll have two more annuals: Balsam Impatiens and blue Sweet Peas and a good selection of perennial plants including Delphiniums, Rose Campion, Old Fashioned Foxglove, Evening Primrose, Kolkwitzia shrubs, American Bittersweet vines, climbing Hydrangeas, Disco Belle Hibiscus, and Flowering Crabapple seedlings.
Additionally we also have a few vegetable plants including tomatoes and cucumbers. Plus we also have seeds for your garden. These are some of the same varieties that we plant:
- Sweet Corn: Magic Bi-Color (82 days), Rembrandt (white, 81 days), Bon Appetit (Bi-Color, 71 days)
- Giant Corn (field corn that can reach 12 feet high), perfect for corn stalks for fall decorations.
- Giant Pumpkins
- Green Beans: Magicland’s Famous Green Beans (55 days)
- Tomatoes: Mountain Fresh (slicer) and four heirlooms: Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Carolina Gold, and Brandywine Pink.
- Watermelon: Crimson Sweet
- Herb: Dill Bouquet
- Carrots: Sweetness III
- Lettuce: Buttercrunch (butterhead), Freckles (romaine), Grand Rapids (leaf), Green Ice (leaf)
- Parsnip: Javelin
- Radish: Champion
- Kohlrabi: Early White Vienna
Also available are pint jars of hulless Robust yellow popcorn which we grow and harvest ourselves. This popcorn is absolutely scrumptious and 99.9% of the kernels pop. We also are selling this popcorn on the ear.
As many of you know we are also growing pecans at Magicland Farms. These pecans are unusual since the original seed source came from Wisconsin. Because of this, our pecans aren’t only completely hardy but ripen their pecans every year. We have seed pecans available at our stand. We have sold thousands of Wisconsin seed pecans throughout the country, Canada and even Europe through our website Magicland Farms. We now are selling small potted pecan trees and have a few available at our stand. We also still have seed pecans available.
While the freeze back in late April that wiped out our tree fruit felt like a huge punch to the abdominal region and set us back emotionally, we got back on our feet and decided to plant more vegetables than ever before. In addition to planting all our cultivatable land, we rented three additional acres from a neighbor. While there is much more to plant, we have made good planting progress. Right now we are starting to harvest our radishes. Our super sweet hybrid turnips should be ready in a few days. Our kohlrabi is doing fantastic and should be ready before Memorial Day. Kohlrabi is usually eaten raw either sliced thin and served with a dip or shredded and used in coleslaw. Our big crop, early in the season, are snow and sugar snap peas. We planted over an acre of peas and it not only is exceptionally early this year it looks fantastic. I’m not sure when we will start picking them this year but I’m pretty sure we will have our first peas ready sometime between Memorial Day and June 7th. We also have again planted lettuce and it is also doing nicely. Right now it looks like we might have some lettuce ready before Memorial Day. (BTW our winter lettuce was a huge success and I plan on writing an article about it when I get a roundtoit. Anybody knows where I can get my hands on a roundtoit, please let me know ASAP.)
What We Now Have Available
We now have available first of the season radishes, unusual annual flower plants in pots, several types of potted herb plants, giant pumpkin seeds, giant, super-tall corn seeds (this corn is not a type of sweet corn), a variety of vegetable seeds including Bon Appetit (bi-color) and Rembrandt (white) sweet corn, our famous variety of green beans, heirloom tomatoes and dill, hardy pecan seeds, Shellbark hickory seeds, Hulless Robust Yellow popping corn and dried gourds.
About Our Pecan Seeds
These pecan seed nuts were grown right on Magicland Farms. The pecan trees that produced them were grown from pecans that originally came from wild pecan trees discovered growing on the banks and islands of the Mississippi in southwestern Wisconsin, as far north as Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. It was in the fall of 1978 that six adventurous men, all of whom belonged to the NNGA (Northern Nut Growers Association) traveled, often by canoe, to the northern part of the Mississippi River in search of the most northern, hardiest and earliest ripening pecans in existence. Happily, the group found quite a few pecan trees, although many were on islands and hard to get to and thus the need for the canoes. While some of the pecans were relatively easy to harvest, the modern day explorers climbed many trees to get to the pecans since it was a bit early for the pecans to be ripe enough to fall naturally. During the winter of 1979 the NNGA made available, at a nominal fee, pecan seed nuts from the successful expedition in search of native Wisconsin pecans. Since I was then a member of the NNGA I was notified of the availability of the Wisconsin seed pecans and I purchased around 25 nuts, nearly all of which germinated and grew quite vigorously. It turned out that this expedition was a real godsend to humanity since just 15 years later it is thought that most, if not all the native pecan trees in Wisconsin were killed by that disastrous 1993 record flood.
These seeds have been kept at 38F ever since harvest in the fall of 2011 and they can be planted right now. We also have available instructions on how to grow pecans, hickories and pawpaw trees from seed. You can also visit our website Magicland Farms for more information.
About Our Handpicked Hulless Robust Yellow Popping Corn
Our 2011 crop of popcorn was our best yet–top quality and good yield. It was so good we designed and constructed a corn bin so we could store it in the field. We screened it so no animals, even the tiny ones, could get to it even if they tried. It also allowed for good air circulation so it would keep well. Besides this, we kept it within bounds of our electric fence which made it harder for anything to get even near it. We handpicked this popcorn and discarded any ear that didn’t look perfect. This, by the way, is one of the secrets of the quality of our popcorn. Remember, all the popcorn–even the high-priced gourmet corn–is picked by machine which means it picks anything!!! Early this spring we tested it with our digital moisture tester and found it had a moisture of around 13.6%, which is perfect for top quality popcorn. We also kitchen tested it and nearly all kernel popped. In fact, with all the tests we made only a single unpopped kernel comes to mind! We use a handcrank sheller to shell the popcorn and then package the kernels in brand new pint canning jars.
Just before sunrise on the morning of April 27, 2012 (Friday) our apples, peaches, pears and plums were wiped out by a hard freeze (between 25F and 26F). I gave the odds, back in March, of one chance in a 100 that we would have fruit in 2012. The reason I gave for this was the two week long spell of summer weather we had in March–many temps were in the 80s. (I really, really wish I was wrong back then and especially now.) This followed a startling warm winter which also caused early bloom. Back around the 20th of April I increased the odds of one chance in 10 that we would have fruit this year since the fruit on the trees still looked OK. In order to make up a bit for the financial loss this freeze has put upon us, we are planting a bit more vegetables than usual. We rented a couple of acres from a neighbor in order to do this. We have opened our stand doors about two weeks ago and are selling our apples from last year, our hardy pecan seeds, a variety of vegetable seeds including kohlrabi, our secret bean variety, three varieties of sweet corn, dill, heirloom tomato seeds, lettuce, radishes and others. We will be selling next week giant pumpkin and corn seeds. We also will be having jars of yellow popcorn which we tested (moisture and popped) and it is of exceptional quality. I feel real bad writing this about the crop loss for a number of reasons. The financial loss is obvious. Other reasons are the disappointment I sense from my family and the disappointment I know I will be sensing from the kind and thoughtful people who purchase our fruit. It really is a boost to see a fruit tree full of nice looking apples, peaches, plums or pears. Sadly, we won’t get this boost this year…