Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Epic Tomatoes

Over the winter, I read Craig LeHoullier's new book, Epic Tomatoes (2015, Storey Publishing). I was dubious that I could read an entire book about nothing but tomatoes, but Craig's book is compelling and inspiring; it influenced me to grow a much wider variety of tomatoes than ever before. His focus is on "heirloom" or open-pollinated varieties rather than hybrids. I've learned that if I'm willing to compromise on appearance and shipping/storage qualities, I'm likely to gain in fantastic and unique flavors.

Here is a photo of a variety called Purple Cherokee. The flesh is sweet, juicy and it is indeed purple-ish in color. Notice that this tomato is huge---one pound and four ounces. There are so many varieties of tomatoes to grow. It's ridiculously limiting to buy the few varieties that your garden center provides. We urge you to plan ahead for next year and try something new.

Now I'm back to the canning, freezing and processing that consumes my day. Happy gardening!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ruthless and Strategic

Dee and Cathy have watched Red Bucket Farm grow over the last several years. They are dear friends who have shared many meals with us; they have also laughed and cried with us. So I'm not offended when they refer to my last blog as "the best rant on the internet" or when they describe me as a "ruthless and strategic" urban farmer.

Ruthless and strategic refers to the fact that I don't get emotionally attached to a bush or a tree or even a chicken. For example, we have been attempting to grow gooseberries for years. After two attempts in different locations and about six years invested, we have finally arrived at a crop large enough to produce one fruit pie. And guess what? Even though it was delicious, I'm pulling out those thorny bushes---way too much trouble and space for too little food. It's just a matter of practicality.

Reactions to my last blog (May 29, 2015, The Cost of Gardening) varied widely. Many were stunned and silent, and one person accused me of being hostile. Interestingly, the folks who agreed with me felt the need to do so privately. A friend who operates a small business understood entirely---so many people expect a discount large enough to obliterate his profit. But the most telling response came from a lifelong farmer, a pig expert who I know at my church. When I told him about the cost-of-gardening blog and the responses to it, he laughed out loud and said, "Now you understand the economics of agriculture."

Ruthless and strategic? Yes, indeed.