Monday, July 30, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Success in our test garden! While it seems that anyone - and everyone - can grow zucchini squash, at Baker Heritage Farms it is a milestone. Remember, we are working with totally virgin land with no fertilizer or other amendments. We had our first successful harvest this past Saturday, harvesting approximately 20 zucchini and 3 patty pan squash.
First Harvest
Apparently we have not searched hard enough for production, as there did not appear to be any growing the week before; however, one of the zucchini was 15 inches long and 4 pounds. The first one David picked was about 3.1 pounds and was 12 inches long.
First Zucchini Picked
We will now be harvesting every two to three days, as there are plenty of blooms on the plants.
Squash Blooms
Our pickers were very active and found numerous squash hiding under the plants.
Our Pickers
Even the dog had a hard day on the farm (it was a hot day).
We are patiently waiting for more Patty Pan as that seems to be in high demand. But we see promise.
Patty Pan Blooming
Both watermelon patches seem to be doing well as are the pumpkins. There is some concern as we noticed squash bugs and they are not easy to get rid of. We will have to try hand picking them off of the plants soon.

We have several rows of beans that appear to be healthy. We will need to string them up next Saturday to help them along.

We have concluded that we will not be having tomatoes or corn this year. We lost one tomato plant to disease and one to weather, leaving only two left, and they do not seem to be growing, and the season is about over. The corn does not seem to be maturing.

We did get our soil sample tests back (see previous post) and, as we expected, the field tests were not all that good. There is more organic matter in the test garden as it is below the pond and has trees on two sides, which probably accounts for what success we have had.

We are starting to determine what crops we will plant next year. We will use this information as well as the soil test results to determine what winter cover crop we will plant this year.

We were not sure how we would break up the soil in the Horticulture Section as it is compacted and very hard. We had a hard rain Thursday and David and Donald went down to the section to see if it could be tilled and their test was successful. It will not be an easy task but it can be tilled after sufficient rainfall. The section will need to be mowed again and the tiller serviced so that we are ready each time it rains (1.5 acres will need to be tilled).

The next concern is how we will irrigate it.

Until next week,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Soil Sample Results

Monday, July 23rd, we sent in our first soil sample for testing. The sample came from our Horticulture Section and included all three fields. These fields have been in pasture for at least 11 years, and most likely for many more years, so was essentially virgin soil. The test results and recommendations were returned on Thursday, July 26th. The recommendations that were provided by the Laboratory was based on general garden crops.

Soil test ratings include Very Low, Low, Medium, Optimum, and Very High.


The soil pH measures active soil acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, lower values are acid and higher values are alkaline. The most desirable range for mineral soils is 6.0 to 7.0 and for organic soils 5.0 to 5.5. The soil pH is the value that should be maintained in the pH range most desirable for the crop to be grown.

Our Soil pH - 6.2

Buffer pH

This is an index value used for determining the amount of lime to apply on acid soils to bring the pH to the desired pH for the crop to be grown. The lower the buffer pH reading the higher the lime requirement.

Our Buffer pH - 6.71

The recommendation is to apply 20 pounds of Lime per 1,000 square feet.

Phosphorus (P)

This tests measures the phosphorus that should be available to the plant. The optimum level will vary with the crop, yield, and soil conditions, but for most field crops a medium to optimum rating is adequate. For soils with pH above 7.3 the sodium bicarbonate test will determine the available P.

Our P level - 6 ppm - Low (on the very low side of low)

The recommendation is to apply 4 pounds of P2O5 per 1,000 square feet.

Potassium (K)

This test measures available potassium. The optimum level will vary with the crop, yield, soil type, soil physical condition, and other soil related factors. Generally, higher levels of potassium are needed on soils high in clay and organic matter versus soils that are sandy and low in organic matter. Optimum levels for light-colored, coarse textured soils may range from 90 to 125 pm. On dark colored heavy textured soils levels ranging from 125 to 200 ppm may be required.

Our K level - 30 ppm - Very Low
Calculated Cation Saturation: 2.0 (Recommended level - 1 to 5 percent)

The recommendation is to apply 4 pounds of K2O per 1,000 square feet.

Calcium (Ca)

Calcium levels are primarily affected by soil type, drainage, liming, and cropping practices. Calcium is closely related to soil pH. Calcium deficiencies are rare when soil pH is adequate. The level for calcium will vary with soil type, but optimum ranges are normally in the 65% to 75% cation saturation range.

Our Ca level - 479 ppm - Medium (on the low side of medium);
Calculated Cation Exchange Saturation: 52.6 (recommended level - 40 to 80 percent)

Magnesium (Mg)

The same factors that affect calcium levels also influence magnesium levels, except magnesium deficiencies are more common. Adequate magnesium levels range from 30 to 70 ppm. The cation saturation for magnesium should be 10  to 15%.

Our Mg level - 145 ppm - Very High
Calculated Cation Saturation: 30.9 (recommended level - 10 - 30 percent)

Sulfur (S)

This test measures sulfate-sulfur. This is a readily available form preferred by most plants. Levels should be maintained in the optimum range. It is important that other soil factors, including organic matter content, soil texture, and drainage be taken into consideration when interpreting sulfur soil tests and predicting crop response

Our S level - 8 ppm - Low

The recommendation is to apply 0.20 pounds of S per 1,000 square feet.

Boron (B)

The readily soluble boron is extracted from the soil. Boron will most likely be deficient in sandy soils, low in organic matter with adequate rainfall. Soil pH, organic matter level and texture should be considered in interpreting the boron test, as well as the crop to be grown.

Our B level - 0.2 ppm - Low (very low side of low)

The recommendation is to apply 0.02 pounds of B per 1,000 square feet.

Copper (Cu)

Copper is most likely to be deficient in low organic matter sandy soils, or organic soils. The crop to be grown, soil texture, and organic matter should be considered when interpreting copper tests. A rating of medium to optimum should be maintained.

Our Cu level - 1.6 ppm - Low (very low side of low)

Iron (Fe)

Soil pH is a very important factor in interpreting iron tests. In addition, crops vary a great deal in sensitivity to iron deficiency. Normally, a medium level would be adequate for most soils. If iron is needed it is bet applied foliar.

Our Fe level - 111 ppm - Optimum (medium side of optimum)

Manganese (Mn)

Soil pH is especially important in interpreting manganese test levels. In addition, soil organic matter, crop and yield levels must be considered. Manganese works best if applied foliar or banded in the soil.

Our Mn level - 174 ppm - Optimum (medium side of optimum)

Zinc (Zn)

Factors which should be considered in interpreting the zinc test include available phosphorus, pH, and crop and yield levels. For crops that have a good response to zinc, the soil test level should be optimum.

Our Zn level - 1.9 ppm - Medium (low side of medium)

Sodium (Na)

Sodium is not an essential plant nutrient, but is usually considered in light of it's effect on the physical condition of the soil. Soils high in exchangeable sodium may cause adverse physical and chemical condition to develop in the soil. These conditions ma prevent the growth of plants. Reclamation of these soils involves the replacement of the exchangeable sodium by calcium and removal of the sodium by leaching.

Our Na level - 30 ppm - Low (very low side of low)

Organic Matter and ENR (Estimated Nitrogen Release)

Percent organic matter is a measurement of the amount of plant and animal residue in the soil. The color of the soil is usually closely related to its organic matter content, with darker soils being higher in organic matter.

The organic matter serves as a reserve for many essential nutrients, especially nitrogen. During the growing season, a part of this reserve nitrogen is made available to the plant through bacterial activity. The ENR is an estimate of the amount of nitrogen (lbs/ac) that will be released over the season. In addition to organic matter level, this figure may be influenced by seasonal variation in weather conditions as well as soil physical conditions.

Our Organic Matter level - 1.9% ENR 82

Nitrate Nitrogen (N03-N)

Nitrate nitrogen is a measure of the nitrogen available to the plant int he nitrate form. In high rainfall areas, sandy soil types, and areas with warm winters this measurement may be of limited value except at planting or side dress time. In the areas with lower rainfall the nitrate test may be very beneficial.

The recommendation is to apply 3 pounds of N (Nitrogen) per 1,000 square feet.

Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)

Cation exchange capacity measures the soil's ability to hold nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as other positively charged ions such as sodium and hydrogen. The CEC of a soil is dependent upon the amounts and types of clay minerals and organic matter present. The common expression for CEC is in terms of millequivalents per 100 grams (meq/100g) of soil. The CEC of soil can range friom less than 5 to 35 meq/100g for agricultural type soils. Soils with high CEC will generally have higher levels of clay and organic matter. Although high CEC soils can hold more nutrients it does not necessarily mean that they are more productive. Much depends on good soil management.

Our CEC level - 3.6 meq/100g

Potassium : Magnesium Ratio

On some crops, high magnesium levels may reduce potassium uptake by the plant. The ratio of Potassium to Magnesium should be between 0.2 to 0.3 for bets uptake. Ratios below 0.2 could cause reduced potassium uptake.

Our K : Mg level - 0.06; Our Ca : Mg Ratio - 1.70

General Recommendations

Limestone application is targeted to bring soil pH to 6.5.
Adjust N rate up or down according to climatic conditions and management practices.
Incorporate recommended lime, phosphate, potash, and half of nitrogen prior to planting. Side dress with the remaining N about 6 weeks later.

Our plan:

To maintain our "all natural" approach, Baker Heritage Farms will be using cover crops to bring soil condition and health into acceptable ranges as much as possible. Our next step is to determine what cover crops will be most efficient in accomplishing this goal. We will be working with the Kerr Center on determining the best cover crops as their farm is very close to ours and most likely had similar conditions originally.

We will be providing continuous updates.

Baker Heritage Farms

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

We would like to welcome anyone that is new to our blog as well welcome back our regular followers. It has been rather hot in southeastern Oklahoma but, due to our past pop-up showers, we are still fairing a little better then some of the surrounding areas. We actually had to mow our test garden this weekend and will most likely have to mow our horticultural section again before long.

This Saturday we took soil samples to be sent off to the lab on Monday. For those of you who have never taken soil samples (we hadn't), it is a fairly easy process, and is highly recommended if you plan to use bio-intensive rotation and cover crops to improve your soil and control weeds and insects.

Process For Obtaining Soil Samples

You want to get a good sampling of the soil you will be planting in. You should try to get initial samples from 10 (small area) to 20 (large area) random locations within the planting area. While you will only be submitting about 4 ounces of soil for testing, you want a good cross-section of soil to test.

If possible, avoid small areas that are different (such as dead furrows, corners, end rows, and/or poorly drained areas) and try to stay at least 50-feet away from barns, roads, lanes, or fence rows (this may not be possible for backyard farmers). Take an even number of samples from upland and bottomland (this was not a problem for us as our horticulture section is all pasture, we did not include the test garden, which is essentially bottom land, in this test).

Save yourself some money. You do not need soil probes and tips for your coring process (these run from $50.00 on up). All you need is a clean plastic bucket (these run about $5.00 at Walmart) and a clean shovel.

Before taking the sample, scrape away plant residue (we used our weed eater to make a clear area). Your sample should be at least 6 inches deep (or primary tillage depth if deeper). Our samples were taken about 8 inches deep.

You should plan to take soil samples for testing every year at about the same time to (1) ensure that you are progressing towards healthy soil, and (2) to document your progress. Each new test will further guide you in ensuring that you are building healthy soil.

Obtaining Soil Samples

1. Dig a V-shaped hole to sample depth;
2. Cut a thin slice (approximately 1 inch) of soil from one side of the hole;
3. Slice off the sides and the top leaving a slice of approximately 1 inch and put sample into pail;
4. Continue until the desired number of samples are obtained, mixing the soil after each addition;
5. Once you have all of your samples, mix the sample soil well and place approximately 4 ounces into a sandwich baggie for shipment (most labs will accept this method, though some will provide shipping containers.
6. Send sample in.

We will be using A & L Laboratories ( for this sample. We will be testing for the following: Organic Matter, Phosphorous, POtassium, Calcium, Magnesium, pH, Buffer pH, Sodium, Sulfate-Sulfur, Boron, Zinc, Manganese, Iron, and Copper. We will need this information in order to plan for our cover crops, which will need to be planted soon. The cost of the testing is estimated to be about $20.

The next problem we already know we will be encountering is braking up the soil. The horticultural section consists of just over 1.5 acres and is virgin pasture (it has never been broken up to our knowledge) and the ground is very hard. Donald and David visited the local John Deere dealership to discuss possible tractor implements to assist in this job; however, the dealership did not have a tremendous amount of knowledge on the subject. In our area, equipment needs are generally related to cattle operations or very large crop operations, with little or no exposure to smaller acreage operations.

Implements we are looking at include a moldboard plow (from $800 - $1,300), middle buster ($250), or subsoiler ($300). The only thing that we have learned is that we would destroy our tiller if we tried to use that. Donald is hoping that Kerr Center will be able to provide some input when he takes the soil sample test over to them for evaluation.

In the meantime, the test garden seems to be doing as well as can be expected. The first planting of corn now has some ears that have begun to tassel; unfortunately, they are about six inches off the ground and will be less than six inches long (in other words, worthless). Our other plantings of corn may do somewhat better. Our squash is doing very well. They are blooming and bees are busy pollinating (at least that is what we hope they were doing in there). We have at least two rows of beans that seem to be doing ok. Our watermelon also seems to be doing ok, as are our pumpkins; however, our cucumbers seem to have disappeared. We still have three tomato plants, but no blooms and the season is about over, so they will most likely not produce.

The yellow tape and computer disks seem to be doing their job of keeping deer out of the garden. A few of our sunflowers even appear to be recovering from being salad for the deer.

All in all we are very satisfied with the progress of the garden. The purpose was not as much for production as it was for learning.

Our next step is to determine what crops we will plant in the main horticulture section this coming spring as well as what we will be planting in the test garden next year. These plans, along with the soil test results, will help us determine what winter cover crops we need to plant.

Until next week,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

Sunday, July 15, 2012



Too much data! Donald attended another New Farmers and Ranchers Class at the Kerr Center yesterday. Each class results in more information to be digested. One would think that a year-long course would allow sufficient time to not only learn, but put newly gained knowledge to work. Not so - there are just not enough hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in the year. If only we did not have to work to support our habits (and farming is definitely a habit).

Yesterdays class included an update on how we were all doing with our gardens, how the Kerr Center's trials were going, an overview of weeds, insect, and disease management, demonstrations of various pieces of equipment, a walk-through of the trial plots Kerr Center has established for the class, and a very informative presentation on Bio-intensive growing. In addition, a tremendous amount of literature was provided, including "Identification, Biology and Management of Insects Attacking Home Garden Vegetables in Arkansas", "Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management", and "Weeds of Arkansas". The primary instructor of the course was involved in each of these publications and this class was the beneficiary of the information as this is the first (and trial) of three classes.

While the handouts, publications, and other materials received each class and in-between each class, are extremely valuable, the presentations during class are just as valuable. A number of ideas are gained from each class, but there is never enough time to put them into practice, though we attempt to at each stage of our farming efforts. During Saturdays session, the various classes and types of insects, weeds, and diseases were discussed, as well as the tools that can be used to combat them. In organic gardening, the most effective controls come from the organic system itself. Using traditional organic cultural practices increases soil health while:

  • Increasing the impact of beneficial insects while reducing the impact of non-beneficial insects;
  • Decreasing weed invasions; and
  • Controlling diseases.
As you can probably guess, there are a number of insects, weed seeds, and diseases that are airborne rather than soil borne, which results in infestation regardless of soil practices. These issues are addressed using cultural tools (rotation, mixed planting, cultivation tools, etc.) as well as the availability of allowed natural and synthetic chemicals (used as a last recourse).

After the information from the class is absorbed, and as time permits, more information will be provided.

There was a very interesting presentation by Kerr Center interns on Bio-Intensive Growing. This trial is based on publications written by John Jeavons, a master gardner and ecologist. The concept claims that anyone can grow vegetables using less water (67% - 88% less), 50% less purchased organic fertilizer, and providing a 100% increase in soil fertility. If you have 9,000 square feet of land, you too can grow enough vegetables each year to sustain one person. This is based on a 4,500 square foot garden (so you can probably do it with 5,000 square feet, the amount of land usually available in a back yard). Donald is considering running trials on this method (it uses smaller plots with a double-dig system) but it will be a year or two before we are ready. As time and space permits, more on this system will be provided in this blog.

The presentation of some of the tools that are useful for for backyard or small acreage farming was excellent and we will be looking into many of these tools.

 There are numerous cultivators available that make weed control much easier and result in a higher rate of effectiveness. They are wheeled cultivators and come with attachments. We will definitely be looking into purchasing one as we will have weed problems until we can get them under control through the use of cover crops and rotations.

Other Tools
Did you know that a hoe is not a hoe? I should have learned that years ago, I break too many of them. the garden tools you can pick up at Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowe's, are not designed for farm work, and are not really even designed for gardening, unless the garden is small and you have perfect soil. As all of our "gardening" tools have taken a beating this year, we will be looking to replace them with higher quality tools (real tools). We expect that this will be much more expensive then going to Walmart or Home Depot, but we should be able to save much of the additional costs as we should not have to replace them as often.

This past Friday Donald was able to get the balance of the actual garden section mowed between pop-up storms (more on these below). We need to get our soil samples pulled next Saturday and sent in as Donald has worked out arrangements with Kerr Center for assistance in reading and interpreting the results as well as planning for our winter cover crops. He just learned that the cover crops should be planted in August (and he will be traveling the entire month).
Main Garden Section
The main garden section will be in front and will be approximately 2 acres, with 3 - half acre plots and miscellaneous plots on the west side.

Our test garden is looking like it may do something, we not sure just what that may be. Remember, we are planting totally natural this year, no fertilizer, no planning, and little organization.
Section I - Sweet Corn, Sunflowers, and Weeds
This was the first plot planted in the test garden. The deer ate the sunflower leaves, though they are still growing. The corn never matured; however, we do have some corn on the plants.
Black Beauty Zucchini
The Zucchini is doing great and is starting to flower.
Moon & Stars Watermelon Patch
The Moon & Stars Watermelon seems to be doing ok. Looks like animals are trying to eat it, but it may also be a combination of soil and weather conditions. It started great and went downhill since.
Scallop White Squash, Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
The Scallop White Squash (Patty Pan) seems to be doing well also. The jury is still out on the pole beans. They are doing better in some places, worse in others.
Sumter Cucumber, Sweet Corn, Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
The cucumbers are acting like the watermelon, they started good but have slacked off. The beans in this area seem to be doing well. The sweet corn may surprise us yet, it is coming up.
Big Max Pumpkins
Again, the jury is still out on the pumpkins. ?They are growing, which is good. Now all that remains is to see how well they will do.
Congo Watermelon
The Congo Watermelon are doing about as well as the Moon & Stars Watermelon, all we can do at this point is hope for the best.

We have had pop-up thunderstorms 8 out of the last 10 days. Unfortunately, the storm Saturday was apparently a wild one, with several trees down on the property. Two trees came down across the small drive up to the barn from the main house (one of them by Danielle's house), one came down barely missing the chicken coop (ok, it missed it by a good foot), and one came down across the road to the back pasture (above the barn). David and Donald were able to get them cleaned up Saturday and today.
Tree across road to pasture
We were very fortunate, as a very large tree went down across a neighbors drive and we had a friend in town that had one fall on their house. Our prayers are with them as their house move 3 inches off the foundation from a tornado in March 2011 and now is move even further off the foundation, tilted at an angle, and with a sunroof in their kitchen.

Blessings to all from Baker Heritage Farms

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Memorial to NaKiTa

NaKiTa - February 4, 2011
Native American Wolf Legends - From the Myths of Many Tribes
Wolves figure prominently in the mythology of nearly every Native American Tribe. In most Native cultures, Wolf is considered a medicine being associated with courage, strength, loyalty, and success at hunting. Like bears, wolves are considered closely related to humans by many North American tribes, and the origin stories of some Northwest Coast tribes, such as the Quileute and the Kwakiutl, tell of their first ancestors being transformed from wolves into men. In Shoshone mythology, Wolf plays the role of the noble Creator god, while in Anishinabe mythology a wolf character is the brother and true best friend of the culture hero. Among the Pueblo tribes, wolves are considered one of the six directional guardians, associated with the east and the color white. The Zunis carve stone wolf fetishes for protection, ascribing to them both healing and hunting powers.

NaKiTa was of the Gray Wolf family, part Northern and part Alaskan, with a touch of Alaskan malamute thrown in. NaKiTa was a sixth generation wolf born in the San Bernardino mountains in December 1995. She came to us in February 1996 and ultimately adopted us as her family.

NaKiTa never lacked courage, always present to protect us from whatever danger might be present, even when we were our own danger. NaKiTa was extremely loyal, she always honored the alpha, played with every member of the family, consoled any or all of us in times of grief. She remembered family members and friends, even if she had not seen them in many years, though she hid from strangers as long as they were not threatening. NaKiTa had incredible strength, easily demolishing any type of bones with her 1,500 pounds of jaw pressure, but was so very tender, just as easily carrying a filled water balloon in her mouth across the yard without breaking it. She was a successful hunter, but only wanted to play with her "catch" (until they died, at which time she would eat the catch, fur, bones, hair, meat, everything). She was not aggressive, unless you were unknown to her and either presented imminent danger or were where you did not belong (such as her den).

Wolves only live an average of 8 years in the wild, and normally only live a few more years in captivity. We were very fortunate to have NaKiTa with us for over 16 years. She began to deteriorate several years ago and we could no longer let her run outside of her pen. In the past year or so she lost most of her hearing, and recently started having hip problems. We made the decision when she first joined our family that she would always be as free as we could allow her to be, and would never be subjected to any painful treatments (we had a vet that always wanted to clean her teeth, which we did not allow) or have to live in pain. In the past week she developed an infection around one eye, which resulted in her going, at least temporarily, blind. Her hips became substantially worse, causing her hardship whether standing, laying, or sitting. It was time to let her go.

This morning we sent NaKiTa to the Lord, praying that she will be loved in heaven as much as she was loved here on earth. She is now at peace.

NaKiTa, you were always there for us, through thick and thin, the good and the bad, celebrating our joys and consoling us during our sorrows. We can only hope that we were there for you as well.

She will be missed, but we will always remember her, and she will live on in our hearts, just as any other member of our family.

December 1995 - July 2012
Rest in Peace NaKiTa

"'The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,' says the Lord".

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

As mentioned last week, the test garden has been fully planted, though additional seeds will be planted throughout the next month or two, as space permits.

With the exception of the onions (no growth at all, most likely due to being planted too late) and corn (sporadic growth), everything seems to be doing well. The two varieties of squash seem to be doing excellent, at least in the leaf stage. Watermelon, pumpkin, beans, and cucumbers all are peaking up through the soil.

We had problems with animals and something ate the leaves off of the sunflowers. We think we may have an answer. We stretched bright yellow caution tape (ok, it was actually Sheriff line tape) the length of the garden and tied old computer disks to it along it's length. We supported the caution tape with a small rope so that it is about the same height as a deer. We also attached fencing along the bottom of the gate to prevent "walk-in" guests; however, they can still get in from the west side, which is only barbed wire at this time. Donald and David extended the garden fence along the west side but were unable to complete the job due to storms.

It was a very hot week; however, there have been thundershowers each evening since Friday. This has been good for the plants but has prevented afternoon work being done.

Donald and David went down to the pasture early Saturday morning to start working on clearing the remainder of the east fence line. They were successful in getting the fence line cleared to the end of what will be Section One - or the Horticultural Section. Section One was measured and we will only have three plots within this area (we originally thought we would be able to get four in). Each plot will be 1/2 acre (220 feet by 100 feet). We will still have room left for a green house, as well as some raised beds for root crops and herbs. Donald started mowing Section One but was only able to complete about half of it and has not had the opportunity to return due to the storms. Once it is mowed, soil samples will be taken and shipped off to the lab.

Section Two, to the north of Section One, will be the Livestock Section and we are not making any concentrated efforts to prepare this Section at this time, as we will not be adding livestock until possibly next year.

Additional supplies were purchased this week so that the hen house can be completed and the chicken coop finished.

As Donald has a Beginning Farmers and Ranchers class this coming Saturday, only maintenance work will get done.

We are starting to get our accounting records in order and hope to be able to share information on the costs related to the gardens in the near future.

Until next time,

Blessings from Baker Heritage Farms

Monday, July 2, 2012


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms.

UPDATE: This is a late update. As we mentioned in April, Danielle preserved five quarts of dill pickles. We got to test the pickles several weeks ago and the "Pickle Adventure" was actually successful. The pickles definitely taste like dill pickles. Two problem areas that need to be rectified. First, they were very salty. Easily cured by adding less salt. Second, they were squishy rather than crisp. The thoughts are that the cucumbers that were used may not have been fresh. They have been refrigerated since they cured, so we will try them and see if they are more crispy. Great job for the first effort.

A family farm is not just about crop production. A family farm should involve everyone. Many farm women are excellent at crocheting, and Baker Heritage Farms is no different. Debbie does crocheting and loom knitting, as well as cooking and baking. Danielle also crochets and does loom knitting. Amazingly enough, even David loom knits and does some baking. Debbie has preserved jelly in the past and will be working on doing this in the future as well.

While many of the items have been for church functions and activities, eventually these will be added to the farm store to provide financial support for the farm. All of this is in keeping with our primary purpose, to prove that family farming is not dead and can provide a happy, healthy, and wholesome environment for families, communities, and the nation.

We would like to pass along kudus to Harps Food Stores. Harps (also known as Price Cutters) is an employee owned local grocery chain, where Danielle works in the produce department. Recently, the Harps store in Poteau began offering produce from a local farmer. We have known for some time that Harps is a supporter of local farmers and will sell their produce when available. Their support is a key to the success of our "all natural" produce marketing plan. But the local farmer whose produce they are providing is ... only 15 years old. He is growing produce on 5-acres of land with some help from family. Our thanks and appreciation go out to Harps for their continued, and gracious, support of local backyard and small acreage farmers. Retailers like Harps show that they are concerned for their community and deserve our thanks and appreciation for their efforts. See more on the Baker Heritage Farms Facebook page.

David and Donald got the balance of the test garden planted this past Saturday. David says 8 hills of Big Max pumpkin seeds were planted in Section 4. We also planted Kentucky Wonder (Pole) beans where the onions had been planted in Section 2, as well as in areas of Section 3 and 4. Another watermelon patch was tilled to the east of Sections 3 and 4 and 6 hills of Congo watermelon were planted.

While we will still be planting some remaining seed (just to see how long we can plant), the majority of the work in the test garden will now be maintenance.

Next Saturday we plan to complete clearing about 250 feet of the east fence line and begin laying out the main garden plots so we can start the soil testing process.

Mary, our church secretary, has also been a strong contributor to Baker Heritage Farms. She has been dropping off food scraps for our composting operations every week, for which we are thankful. Our composting efforts will also increase now that the garden is planted.

Until next week,

Blessings from all of us at Baker Heritage Farms