🐓The Farmgirl Monthly🐓
Shopping Guide ~ March Edition
FARM CRAFTS
Malibu Compost INC
Since WWII, gardeners have been fooled by chemical and synthetic products that are destroying our health and our planet. So we created a line of true organic soil products that are farm-made and non-GMO, to help you grow healthy soil, healthy guts and restore our planet.

All Malibu Compost soil products are premium, organic, non-GMO, biodynamic and farm-made for you to grow a safe and healthy garden.

Learn more about are compost, potting soil, turf products and compost teas at:

Download - The Healthy Garden Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play & Podbean

The Roo Apron
Our gardening apron is more than just a garment, it’s a tool to make working outside easier. The Roo is perfect for harvesting vegetables, pulling weeds or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply fill the pouch and empty it wherever you need! No more carrying veggies in your shirt, leaving piles of weeds on the ground or balancing a bucket on your arm while picking fruit from a tree. The Roo and Joey aprons have a pouch for that and give you the extra hand you need in the yard and garden. 

The Roo is based in the Pacific Northwest, but has made a name for itself among gardening centers, magazines, blogs and avid gardeners the world over. We’re passionate about empowering people to get outside, grow their own food and contribute to the landscape wherever they are. 

Fruition Seeds
Fruition Seeds shares organic seeds, well-adapted for short seasons, straight from our farm, in the heart of the Finger Lakes of New York. As a girl in my father’s garden, I thought our seasons were too short for growing watermelon, peanuts and peppers that matured more than a half dozen red fruits per plant. Now I know that the seeds we sow make all the difference.

We save and share the well-adapted seeds of beloved heirlooms as well as the new varieties we create, the heirlooms of tomorrow, like our August Ambrosia watermelon. If you’re in the Finger Lakes, at the end of August, don’t be shy! Each season we grow hundreds of organic melons just for the seed inside, so we throw a party to celebrate and share the harvest! Seeds are in the world to transform the world, beginning with themselves. So are each of us. 

You’ll find over 400 varieties of our flowers, vegetables and herbs (even ginger!) for short seasons on our website ~ www.fruitionseeds.com.

Thanks for growing your garden and growing yourself, knowing your seeds, and that you are so much more than you seem.

Truelove Seeds
Truelove Seeds is a seed company offering heirloom and culturally-important vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Our seeds are grown by more than 20 small-scale urban and rural farmers committed to community food sovereignty, cultural preservation, and sustainable agriculture. At our farm just west of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we grow our ancestral seed crops. For founder Owen Taylor, this means growing varieties from Southern Italy and Ireland, while for our apprentices, this means varieties from West Africa, the British Isles, Ecuador, Poland, and beyond. All our growers produce high-quality, ancestral seeds for our catalog and we share our profits directly with them: 50% of each packet sale goes back to the farmer who grew it! The photo featured here is of Chris Bolden Newsome of Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram's Garden holding freshly-shelled Brown Speckled Butterbeans - a variety he grew up shelling with his grandma Newsome on her porch in Greenville, Mississippi. 

~ Farm Girl Wisdom ~
Goats 101: 5 tips for raising goats ~
Frenchie Farm
When we decided to start a homestead, I knew that I wanted to raise goats. My husband wasn’t totally on board, but I somehow convinced him that it was a good idea…. and within 1.5 years we more than tripled our goat herd. Whoops!

If you haven’t raised livestock before, then making the decision to get goats can feel overwhelming. What are their nutritional needs? Can I buy just one? What type of shelter do they need? Don’t fret, because my Goats 101 post includes 5 tips for raising goats.

1. How many?

Tip #1 in Goats 101? Goats are herd animals, so they absolutely NEED a goat buddy. Even if your goat will be around other livestock, you cannot purchase a single goat. A lone goat is a sad (and very noisy) goat! When deciding how many goats to purchase, two goats is the bare minimum.

2. Shelter + Fencing

Goats require appropriate shelter and adequate fencing for weather and predator protection. Regardless of which type of shelter you choose, it must remain dry and include clean straw or pine shavings for bedding. Goats do not like to be wet, so they must have access to a safe, dry, and clean shelter at all times.


Essential Natural Dye Tools and Materials ~ Timber Creek Farm
There are certain essentials in natural dye tools and materials, that need to be gathered before you begin to set up a natural dye workshop. Your original impression might be that this will really add up to a lot of money. That is actually not the case! First lets go over the tools you need, then I will give you some tips on shopping for deals.

Before You Buy Anything…
It’s important that you keep your natural dye tools, and equipment separate from the pots, pans and utensils used for cooking food. Even using substances from nature can lead to toxic buildup on cookware and utensils. With a small investment, you can gather equipment specifically for your dye work.

Look for used or new, stainless steel pots. You can use aluminum pots but the metal might affect the resulting color. Once I fell in love with the natural dye process, I invested in a large stainless steel pot that can handle a larger amount of fiber or yarn. These are great for natural dye tools.

A bucket for rinsing out the yarn can be useful. Small measuring cups for dissolving powdered dyes with a little water come in handy. A glass mason style jar is another option. Measuring spoons, long handled tongs, long wooden or metal spoons, strainers, and pot holders are essential. Once you begin experimenting with pH, a pack of pH strips will come in handy.


Flower Farming ~ Tangebloom
Whether you’re new to flower growing or a life-long blooming plant devotee, the thought “Hey, maybe I could do this for a living?” may have crossed your mind. It’s no wonder why - flowers are beautiful! They bring people joy, evoke nostalgic memories, and appeal to our senses. We bestow them to celebrate milestones and honor memories. With pollinators in crisis, they’re also a beneficial crop to cultivate.

Before you quit your day job or till in your vegetable field though, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture while addressing some hard questions. The best way to do this is to get hands-on experience on a flower farm.

Flower farms across the United States - and indeed around the world - have opportunities for folks interested in growing flowers. Whether you want to dive deep with a season-long internship or volunteer on the weekend, there are plenty of ways to try flower farming on for size, no risk required.

For a breakdown of opportunity types and a list of flower farms looking to fill positions, visit our blog and apply today.

Hospitality on the Farm ~ Bethany Campbell
One of the most powerful ways to combat the increasing rate of family farms disappearing from our national landscape is to impact your family, friends, neighbors and community with some good old fashion farm hospitality. The best part? You don’t have to have a booth at the farmer’s market, a barn to get married in or even a significant amount of acreage. Nope, you can give a shot of healing to the family farm epidemic, with just who you are and what you have right now!

I’ve always been one to enjoy having people over and planning special events. Whether for a dinner, holiday meal or birthday party. Planning and hosting people comes naturally to me. We are celebrating 23 years of marriage along with raising seven kids, so there is always something to celebrate!

Over the past 10 years, we’ve raised our children with a menagerie of chickens, turkeys, rabbits, dogs and other small animals. More recently, the desire to live a bigger farm life, spurred us to purchase a 16 acre farm in Maryland. Allowing us to have larger animals, more garden area and pasture, along with a beautiful barn. Even before we moved in, my love for having people began to merge with the possibilities on the farm. We thought about ways to use the farm outside of our family and how we could be hospitable to others around us.

Something our family has taken on, is hosting a monthly community book swap, called “Books in the Barn”. A completely free event for anyone in the community who would like to come and browse through a growing number of books, all donated by members of the community, and take as many home as they would like. It is great to see people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds engaging in this event. Not only are we getting to know our neighbors and community, but they are getting to know each other as well. The best part? Many who come wander around the property a bit, show their kids the animals, marvel at being inside a bank barn and connect in a way no local library can compete with. In just one short year, we’ve hosted hundreds from our community, on the property, and through this event. We’ve also had dinners, movie nights, picnics, creek splashing parties and even one wedding reception! 

For us, the secret has been this - don’t wait, use what you have. 

Initially, all our plans were so far out in the future. We mused about a wedding venue, or an AirB&B, or a farmer’s market, or a farm stand, or a pumpkin patch, or, or, etc.. All exciting. All something we could do on the land. Not all feasible for some time though. We eventually concluded that while working towards a bigger future, we could start small and with what we already have. 

FARMHOUSE KITCHEN RECIPES
Vintage Bird’s Nest Pudding
I first came upon this recipe for Bird's Nest Pudding in the Little House on the Prairie series and then later in the Little House on the Prairie Cookbook. It intrigued me from the very beginning. It is described in the book, Farmer Boy in the following passage:

“Almanzo poured the heavy cream over the apples nested in the fluffy crust. The syrupy brown juice curled up around the edges of the cream…”

It is just as delicious as it sounds with a fluffy and light, just sweet enough crust with rich brown sugar filled apples nestled in it. Topped with sweet cream, it is over the top scrumptious.

I’ve adapted the recipe for more modern kitchens and tastes. I hope your family will enjoy it as much as ours!

Ingredients
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and halved
⅔ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp...
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