Here are some fancy daffodils! To come home to them after a few days away was incredible. We are noticing a huge difference in stem length and sturdiness two years into these babies, particularly in the Bridal Crown variety – a double narcissus with a heady intoxicating fragrance, probably my favorite…

Happy Spring!

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Dry beans

cropped-img_03661.jpgDry beans come in so many varieties of color, texture and flavor (not to mention growing habit) that there is always something new for us to try. We’re not certain that growing dry beans is economically viable but we love them so much that neither of us can imagine stopping. You feel a tangible wealth admiring totes full of multicolored beans and we have die-hard dry bean regulars who validate our work almost every week at the Farmers Market (hey guys!!!). Beans grown with care and sold “fresh” are worlds away from the tasteless, cardboard dry beans you find at conventional grocery stores. We keep experimenting with our methods to try and make the whole process more efficient, but sometimes the simple ways suit us best.

Dry beans either have a pole or a bush habit. Pole beans require trellising to climb – without it, they’ll reach for anything close by – especially each other.

This year we experimented with interplanting sunflowers as additional trellising for our 14 rows of pole beans. We chose Mammoth Grey sunflowers which end up 12-14 feet tall.

The beans appreciated the extra vertical space (and the birds feasted on the seeds) but ultimately we feel the giant flowers provided too much additional shade, compromising our beans’ productivity. It was beautiful, though.



In the fall comes a mad rush of harvesting the beans at their driest stage, before it starts to rain in earnest. We usually give them a few days in a greenhouse to get them nice and brittle and then thresh the beans from their crispy pods. We are lucky enough to have access to a bean thresher from the ever-generous Dusty Williams, which works well so long as we actually take the time to pull the pods from their plants.

After this, the beans need to be winnowed to separate out the remaining chaff. This is Nick’s favorite part of the whole process. By pouring the whole mix in front of a powerful fan, the chaff is blown away and the beans fall into a tote.

Henry is learning to get out of the way of the fan, sometimes.


We sometimes feel a little sheepish that we charge a hefty price for our beans, but they are truly a labor of love. They are worth it.

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Garlic and Quickbooks

This winter we have finally invested some time delving into Quickbooks. We bought the program in February 2015 and had an intensive and helpful how-to session with a truly patient woman, Diane, in March. Despite our best intentions we didn’t touch the program again until about three weeks ago, in late December, as we started to try and untangle the farm’s finances.


But now that we’ve done so, my fear of the program is gone and the benefits are clear. Among many other fascinating and mundane details impossible to truly appreciate as you’re hurtling from place to place around the farm all season, Nick and I have realized how important garlic is to our business. For a small and highly diversified vegetable and flower farm, we devote a fair amount of space, time and energy to this one crop, and last year 14% of our income came from garlic alone.

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Garlic necessitates bursts of concentrated energy. Planting in the fall and winter is a steady clove-by-clove march to finish one bed after another. Each year we’ve put more in the ground, and this year we planted 20 beds.

Then comes mulching the whole lot with straw to keep down weeds, retain moisture, and not least add organic matter to our already-fertile Nooksack soil.


IMG_3064Depending on the seed load of the straw we sometimes do a cursory weeding once in the spring, although we skipped it last year.


Summer rolls around and we use the tractor to lift the heads of garlic out of the ground, tie them into bundles and finally hang all of it to dry and cure.

At a certain point in the summer and early fall we begin to sort our garlic, putting aside particularly desirable heads to use for seed once again in the coming cooler months.


The cyclical nature of all this blurs the boundaries between each year and can really make you question the validity of a Gregorian calendar in the first place. Generally speaking, we are fine with that. But for less romantic purposes such as “budgeting” and “taxes,” that’s where Quickbooks can come in, helping divvy up the harvests and bursts of effort so that we actually know where we stand – which is up to our ears in garlic.

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Cafe au lait dahlias are a dream



We feel so rich !

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Carrot harvest and stringing up dry beans

Summer has been good to us – as well as relentless in its dry heat. We have nothing to complain about compared to many regions of the country, but for the far northwest corner of Washington state this year has demanded near-constant irrigation. Without a few rainy days tucked in here and there we feel like we have been running full speed for months.

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Our giant romaine looks perkier than we do

We’ve grown far more food than we did last year and everything is feeling just a little more streamlined. There is so much to learn – it is overwhelming – but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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A fiery market bouquet we were proud of and new fingerling potatoes

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April already?

We are getting busy! Spring has been by turns lovely and tempestuous here. The colors are getting vibrant for us even while it rains and blows, and farm life goes on regardless of it all.

The Bellingham Farmers Market has started up in earnest, too, so we’ll be there every Saturday from now until November. We have a new spot under the main “pavilion” roof – come and say hi!

We’ve built a hoop house and are in the process of fabricating a movable greenhouse. Nick and some very kind friends bent our own pipes for the framework using a hand-cranked pipe bender (Aaron from Altility Art Studio and Bill – you are the best).

Otherwise we continue on our merry little way, planting early potatoes and harvesting overwintered and delicious leeks. Happy spring!!! Your farmers love you.


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The farm’s first flower

Our first Panda anemone opened its eyes yesterday morning with more coming soon. What an amazing looking flower! No foliage on its strong stem and a mane of frizz. This is a new one for us and we are captivated. We’ve been most excited about this particular variety – white petals and a black center. Nothing else like it.

Gratuitous Henry photo:


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Fall at Spring Time

Autumn brought us a bountiful harvest and a lot of time with friends and family. We filled this Marina di Chioggia winter squash with soup for Thanksgiving, baking it until it was perilously near collapse…

Planting our garlic for the next year is one of our biggest fall projects and every year we have planted more than the last. We separate out individual cloves, push them a few inches into the ground with our thumbs, and mulch them in with straw. Come early summer each clove has formed a head of garlic and we are swimming in an allium bounty!

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It’s cold and wet work but worth every finger cramp.

We’re grateful for autumn when it comes, a moderate reprieve from summer’s maniac pace and a shift in our mindset. The cooler weather is a balm and while we remain extremely busy, our brains turn once again to plotting for next year.

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Flowers in winter

Winter slows down our flower production but brings on a very important preparatory aspect of the farm – saving seeds, corms, and tubers, and also planting for early spring blooms.

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We pulled up all our gladiolas in late fall and have been impressed by the size of their new corms. Generally glad corms are cheap to buy new, but we thought we’d give this a shot!

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We harvested amaranth and sunflower heads to save for seed as well. Last year we grew two kinds of amaranth – Hopi Red Dye and Opopeo – and many, many varieties of sunflowers…most of the seed we left for the birds.

Our dahlias are incredibly important to us and we try to take the best care of them that we can. In late spring we plant single tubers and by fall they have formed clumps of ten or more, all of which can we divided into ten times as many dahlias for the next season! In some climates you can leave dahlias in the ground but where we are up North our freezes make this too risky to trust. So each fall we dig up all our dahlias, rinse them off, label everything, and divide the tuber clumps for storage over the winter. This gives us the chance to select for the varieties that we loved, even though it is very time-intensive…

After all this digging, dividing, and drying, it is a real pleasure to also plant! We’ve devoted an entire greenhouse along with a hoop-house to ranunculus and anemones for their gorgeous early spring blooms – it looks like nothing now, but man will we be grateful for the color when it comes. Specialty narcissi and tulips have also joined our early bloom roster and we are impatiently awaiting their arrival.

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We lost June and July to the vortex

The past two months were an absolute whirlwind out at Spring Time Farm. We will attempt a recap, but here are some important highlights right off the bat:

1. This is Beau, our flower collaborator (and Nick’s hard cider business partner). Beau and his beautiful wife, Jessa, have an incredible knowledge of and gift for flowers…our bouquets are as lovely as they are because of their hard work!

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2. We combined our winter wheat and triticale that Nick had covercropped last fall. Luckily, Dusty owns an old Alice Chalmers and we were able to harvest 1200-1500 pounds of grain, which we’ll use for pastries!!! but mostly covercropping next year.

3. It took three days, but we harvested all of our ten varieties of garlic. Now it’s dried and curing.

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Otherwise we’ve been making our tomatillo salsa for sale and preparing for pickles. We’ve also had some incredible visitors who have been instrumental in making sure that we enjoy our summer off of the farm….


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