Into hibernation we go. As the daylight hours grow shorter this month and the cold comes to blanket our gardens with snow, our plants retreat just like we feel like doing. Our annual accenting flowers like zinnias and sunflowers will die completely along with our rooftop peppers and tomatoes. Our perennial plants like apples, sedums, hazelnuts, and jerusalem artichoke will pull all their energy back to their roots and lose their leaves to protect themselves from the freezing temperatures.
To make sure our garden plants and soil are safe this winter and next season, here is what we do at the Tiny Diner to winterize the living spaces:
Thick straw bale mulching on vulnerable perennials
We mulch any exposed area that will not get snow with straw bales. For example, our dry creek bed which does not get covered with snow due to the solar array, will have 2’ thick straw bales to insulate the plants throughout the winter months.
Seeding cover crop to prevent soil erosion
We add cover crop like winter rye to our annual areas (we do this at the beginning of October to make sure the seed sets and roots before the ground freezes). This holds the soil stable where it could blow or wash away if left bare.
Straw-filled coffee bags for insulating small spaces
For more fragile herbaceous plants, new fall perennials or small trees that have not had time to root properly and go deep, we stuff re-purposed coffee bags with straw and place them around trees and on top of herbaceous perennials to help insulate in case there is no snow cover this winter.
Leave grasses and flower stalks alone and refrain from “super-tidy-stripping” life
We DO NOT cut down the flower stalks and grasses on our property to “tidy” the space. This would leave a pollinator dead zone that we do not want to cause. By leaving the stalks and grasses at least 24” around the property, we provide adult insect pollinators and their baby larvae a refuge from the harsh winters before spring hatching.
Last week we cut the last of our flower bouquets from the gardens as the icy sleet came down. This week we will put the finishing touches of insulating mulch and check on our water cistern (make sure it is empty!). The last task that we have to prepare for the very end of the growing season is to dismantle our thicket to make way for a new, more sturdy structure in the spring. More on that soon. Good luck with putting your gardens to sleep in a healthy way!
If you need winterizing tips, feel free to write to the Garden, Market and Farm Adviser: email@example.com.
Eating seasonally in the north country can be yummy, colorful, and nutritious – especially if you use squash. Unlike summer squash, winter squash has a hard, protective skin that allows it to be stored for months in the winter if stored in a cool dry place. It comes in many different varieties of diverse shapes and sizes – yellow to green to white to bright red spheres, doughnut shapes, hook shapes, etc. We typically eat the flesh of squash but their seeds and blossoms are edible too.
Did I mention that squash is pretty nutritious? According to Berkeley Wellness, it has tons of cancer-fighting agents like beta carotene, lutein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and vitamin E. Knowing this, and that you can use squash to make bread, soup, bars, pies and other warming dishes, what more can you ask for from our bountiful earth?
So where can you find squash? Given that it is winter squash season, you can find winter squashes at local farmers’ markets and in grocery stores. Common varieties include Butternut, Acorn, and Spaghetti but don’t stop there. Very beautiful and tasty varieties like Cinderella, Delicata, Candy Roasters, Seminole Pumpkins, and Pennsylvania Dutch Crooknecks are other fantastic options to name a few. Right now, you can find the Cinderella Pumpkin (ornamental as well as delicious) for sale at a huge discounted price at the Tiny Diner through Tuesday November 7th (this squash variety is grown by squash specialty farmers at Piney Hill Farm).
And once you buy squash, there are so many recipes to try. Here is a list of 16 really simple recipes get you started. Buy squash now during the height of squash season so you can get a fair price and so that you have a plethora of squash to use throughout the winter. If you find a variety and recipe that you really love, we would love to hear about it at the Tiny Diner! Send to the Garden, Market and Farm Adviser, Koby: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay warm with squash this season!
It is with many heavy hearts that we inform you of the passing of Bruce Frederick Bacon. He died 2 weeks ago on September 30th, 2017. For those of you who did not know him, he was the energetic activist farmer and philosopher who owned Garden Farme in the City of Ramsey. He strongly encouraged all farmers to focus on soil-building biodynamic and organic farming long before it was popular. For the past 30+ years, he has been growing the soil as well as organic produce, teaching and sharing his knowledge through farm internships, soil convergence workshops, farm dinners, small-scale no-till farm rental and so much more.
As a supportive farm-to-restaurant establishment, we have been renting a rural plot of land from Bruce at Garden Farme since 2014. We have rented various gardens at the Farme, employed a farm manager, and call our rented plot, “Tiny Diner @ Garden Farme.” Our Rural Farm Manager, Tony Root, has grown produce for the Tiny Diner as well our other restaurants (The Bird, Barbette, Red Stag, Pat’s Tap, etc.) all season long. He has worked with Bruce on establishing new fall planting garlic beds, efficiently utilizing the Upper Garden wonder soil space, and greeted Bruce weekly throughout the season.
We hope to continue our relationship to Bruce and his legacy to keep his farm building soil, biodiversity and habitat for years to come by continuing our TD@GF farm-to-restaurant plot. As the season ends and family and friends have time to process this huge loss of our friend and leader in holistic food and farm production, we will keep our community updated on the next steps in Garden Farme’s future.
His funeral was held on Sunday October 15th. To find out more about Bruce, his farm and agricultural legacy, come to his Memorial (TBD – we will post on our Tiny Diner Calendar) and check out these articles written about him and Garden Farme.
Garden Farme: A Cool Garden on a Really Hot Day. Photo Journal by Stephen L. Garrett and Matt Frank
Our weather patterns are changing FAST. As a grower, they have been hard to read this season.
Based on our experiences at our local farms and gardens this season, extreme climate effects are building steam as our earth heats up. Just in the midwestern region, we have had a June drought, multiple hail storms, a chilly August and mild nighttime temperatures in October. Plus, a really wet fall. Crop production and perennial flowering times have been off their typical course. Many farmers lost their tomatoes from blight in August and here at the Tiny Diner we have lost some hearty perennial flowers like Coreopsis and Joe Pye Weed and seen more fungal diseases and insect imbalance than in previous years.
Across the country we are seeing mega storms and fires that we have not seen before. These will likely become even more commonplace for years to come. How will we adapt? How will we continue to notice change? And see what is working in our gardens and farms, and what does not work? And how can we work together to counteract a heating climate instead of settling for it?
We are hoping to incorporate even more plant diversity at the Tiny Diner as we search for locally-bred perennial crops. We are encouraging everyone to keep their own written/typed/photographed account of the changing weather patterns where they live, and observe how they feel, how insects and other animals are responding to the changing weather and to try to mitigate the extreme weather patterns by caring for our soil and supporting perennial agriculture (offsets carbon while providing food for us and habitat for other species). It will take all of us doing our best and having fun together to ride these waves of global temperatures rising and subsequent weather extremes. Check out the links below for ideas and resources to inspire us to stay connected to our earth, grounded and adaptive.
Here are some ways to record changes you see:
Backyard Phenology: Tracking Nature’s Cycles in a Changing Climate
Here are some ways to support regenerative and perennial agriculture:
If you have any concerns or ideas that you want to echo at the Tiny Diner, contact Koby, Farm, Garden and Market Adviser: email@example.com
Where can you find fresh local flower bouquets in September? While many of our yards and farms are slowly dying back this month, a source of great flower colors, shapes, and sizes can be seen growing on the corner of 40th street and 42nd avenue in south Minneapolis. Once the Tiny Diner Urban Farm, it is now home to one of the only organic flower growers in the region: Northerly Flora.
Northerly Flora is owned and operated by Longfellow neighborhood resident Molly Gaeckle. She uses the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model to distribute her flowers to customers, where the customers prepay for 3-5 months of fresh flower deliveries each week. This is her first season with her CSA at the urban farm and all appears to be growing well (except for a few bunnies mowing down tiny flower seedlings). If you would like to see the space and how she has changed and improved the former TD urban farm, or if you would like to reserve flower bouquets for next season, please contact her Facebook or Instagram @northerly.flora.
Here are is a 2017 mid-season reflection from Molly:
Northerly Flora’s first season has been a blast so far! It started last year as a new found excitement in
flowers and a plan to incorporate more into my large garden. But it quickly spiraled into renting a plot in Longfellow and really diving into a Flower CSA business. I am a ‘learn by doing’ person, so this first year has really been about experimentation and research. I was inspired to grow cut flowers as an effort to bring some beauty into my community in a very tangible way. Flowers are a gift, they make people happy and feel special, and I felt really motivated to bring some of that into people’s lives this year.
So far we have had 2 months of beautiful bouquets, each week showcasing new and interesting blooms. There have been successes and failures, the snapdragon crop was bountiful, and my CSA members loved the plum sunflowers in the most recent bouquets. However, I was so excited about these China Asters that look similar to peonies, but Aster Leafhoppers showed up this spring, and infected a lot of the crop with Aster Yellows. The highs and lows are a farming reality, it’s all part of the process.
I’m grateful for how well the season has been so far! It’s great being on this plot in Longfellow because my members can stop by weekly to pick up their bouquets and see the work that goes into creating it each week. I think folks are enjoying that direct connection to the garden, and learning about the flowers showing up in their homes each week.
– Molly Gaeckle, Owner and Operator of Northerly Flora
Thank you Molly for growing wonderful flowers that not only brighten our human lives but also feed our neighborhood pollinators. Also, thank you for using chemical-free (organic) production methods to keep our waters, soils, and communities free of pesticides/herbicides and other carcinogens. We can’t wait to peek in on your production next year and see what you have growing!
On Sunday August 20th we held the 4th Annual Tomato Tasting at the Tiny Diner with Seed Sages. Given the cool temperatures, we were a bit wary that the tomatoes would not be ready or that the day would be too cold to enjoy. But the sun came out and wonderful farmers donated 25 varieties of tomatoes to make a tasty, colorful and fun event.
Participants sampled small bites of the 25 varieties while listening to music provided by Heart of a Tin Man. Tomatoes entered in this event were donated by Fresh Earth Farms, Java Cycle, Open Arms Farms, Tiny Diner @ Garden Farme, Hungry Turtle Farm, and Seed Sages. By the end of 2 hours, over 100+ people sampled tomatoes, voted, and donated money to provide a stipend to a seed-growing farmer next season.
The winning tomato was Be My Baby from David Arnold of Hungry Turtle Farm (Amery, WI). A close 2nd Place was the Hungarian Heart from Earth Fresh Farms (Chris James and Rebecca, Hastings, MN). 3rd Place was a tie between Esterina Cherry by Open Arms Farms (St.Paul, MN) and our very own Sungold by Tiny Diner @ Garden Farme, Tony Root (City of Ramsey, MN).
Our fall schedule is loaded with healthy ways to manage water, use flowers and herbs, take care of our pollinators as well as an introduction to permaculture. PLUS, our last full month of our Tiny Farmers’ Market on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm. Don’t forget we still have a week in August as well of fun classes like growing your own mushrooms, weed identification and herbal infusions!
“Flower Essences for Gut & Brain Health”
Thursday September 7th
This class offers both an introduction to flower essences for beginners and for those already using flower essences. Flower essences are simple, safe, medicines based on plant energetics, similar to homeopathy. Flower essences are mostly known for treating emotional states, but with deeper knowledge they can also be used to treat the body.
We can use flower essences together with knowledge and suggestions from Chinese Medicine to improve and balance gut health and mental energy. Suggested donation $10. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to RSVP.
Instructor: Loyola Colebeck is an accredited clinical Flower Essence Therapist and Trauma Constellations Facilitator. She practices integrative therapy and provides an in-depth training course in Flower Essence Therapy at Adagio Holistic in Minneapolis and speaks at conferences and schools in the U.S. and abroad. She loves teaching and is passionate about helping others to their best, happiest, healthiest state of being. See: www.mindisbodytherapies.com
Clean Water Starts Here!
Monday September 11th
Learn how you can positively impact the health of our waterways through your yard and neighborhood. Homeowners and renters alike can take action to keep our water clean with easy steps. We will discuss our biggest water pollutants and talk about fun and effective strategies to reduce those pollutants. Class is free!
Deirdre Coleman has a degree in Biology, Society, and the Environment from the University of MN and runs the Master Water Steward program with the Freshwater Society. She is also a resident of Minneapolis and an avid paddler.
Pollinator Hotel How-To
Wednesday September 13th
Learn about the many types of bees and other pollinators that help us grow our fruits, vegetables, herbs and more! We will discuss and demonstrate how you can support pollinator habitat with our pollinator condo and by getting started making your own to take home! This is a free class!
This class will be taught by Cody Mastel, Tiny Diner’s Lead Gardener, and Koby Jeschkeit-Hagen, Tiny Diner’s Farm, Garden, and Market Advisor.
Minnesotan Grown Color: Introduction to Natural Dye
Saturday September 16th
Join us as we explore the art of growing, harvesting, and dyeing with plants grown here in Minnesota. You’ll learn how to process plants and flowers from the forest, prairies, and your own gardens to create beautiful hues. By the end of class you’ll have learned the basic techniques of making dye from a couple of plants available in Minnesota this fall. Participants will need to bring two to three different 100% natural fibers to dye (linen, silk, wool, cotton), that weigh no more than 8 oz all together. Fibers can be purchased at a fabric or craft store. Suggested fee: $10.00. Space is limited! Please RSVP to email@example.com
Combining her training as a papermaker and book artist, and sustainable gardener and designer, Libby London uses and grows plants for natural dye and fiber. She grows and harvests dye plants in sustainable and ethical ways. Researching and experimenting with drought tolerant and resilient native plants for fiber and dye is important to her in the face of climate change. For more information check out her website northerndyer.com or Facebook @northerndyer.
What the #$%& is Permaculture Anyway?!
Wednesday September 20th
Join us for this introductory class that will go over permaculture basics! If you are someone who has been hearing the term permaculture being tossed around but have no idea what it means, this class is for you! We’ll talk about it’s history, values, practitioners, and give examples of how you can incorporate permaculture into your own life. Even if you’re not a gardener, this is a framework that goes beyond gardening/farming but can be used in countless aspects of your life!
Andrea Eger is Tiny Diner’s Permaculture Education Coordinator and has been a community organizer and organic farmer for the past 5 years on farms all over the world. She first learned about permaculture in 2008 while working at a women’s collective farm in Guatemala and was instantly hooked.
Cody Mastel is Tiny Diner’s Lead Gardener. Cody is the owner of Land by Hand, an ecological design/build organization, where he collaborates with small businesses, homeowners, farmers, neighbors, educators, and change makers in the Twin Cities region to co-create a more beautiful world. Learn more about Cody and his work at landbyhand.org
Tony Root is the Tiny Diner’s Rural Farm Manager on the 2-acre rented plot at Garden Farme in the City of Ramsey. Not only does he grow 30+ crops for all of our restaurants (including the Tiny Diner, Barbette, Red Stag, The Bird, etc.), he is also our knowledgeable and caring soil, pollinator and people steward of a very special garden at the Farme. Before he came to be the Farm Manager this season, Tony has a wide range of passions and experiences that he brings to the table including but not limited to: farm management, youth development, arborist adventures, and endurance running. All of these experiences create a very peaceful and present managerial, gardening style within Tony’s intensive production plan.
Tony loves to be on the land. Every morning he comes to the Tiny Diner @ Garden Farme plot from his city abode, he cherishes the quiet reminders and earth rhythms that tell him we are part of a larger pattern of life. He seeds new successions of lettuce, radishes, carrots, and green beans, while keeping a close eye on longer-running crops like winter squash, sweet corn, hot peppers, and potatoes. If he is not creating an Amaranth stalk trellis or adding compost to newly prepped beds, Tony may be found harvesting twice a week for our restaurants, preparing produce for our Tiny Diner Farmer’s Market, or cooking.
With butter-like soil and hearty seeds, Tony’s observant eye creates restaurant produce with more delicious layers than a seven-layer bar. He hopes to continue as a farmer and earth steward, as well as open up his own food truck and get back into endurance running. Just as farming and growing beauty has been his calling, he has a very fitting last name: Root. Lets be sure to thank Tony and other farmers every week for the care they produce to the land while providing all of us with one of our most basic and pleasurable needs: REAL FOOD.
Thank you Tony and keep up your great artistry on the land!
Our Tiny Diner August Calendar is filled with many great classes and events so we can taste tomato diversity, grow mushrooms, identify weeds, use herb and so much more! See descriptions below.
August Tiny Diner Classes
4th Annual Tomato Tasting
Date: Sunday August 20th
TOMATO TIME! Come to the Tiny Diner on a relaxing Sunday to taste 20+ varieties of tomatoes grown by local gardeners and farmers. Music, light refreshments, and tomatoes! Vote for your favorite variety and learn how to save tomato seeds at the Seed Sages Booth.This event is free! Suggested donation: $5-10. Your donation will go to Seed Sages and provide scholarships to local growers who will grow seed crops in 2018.
Class: Fungi Alchemy: Growing Mushrooms in the Garden!
Date: Saturday August 26th
Learn how to grow low-maintenance gourmet mushrooms in your garden beds, on logs around your yard, or even your compost pile! This class will provide a basic overview of outdoor fungi cultivation as well as hands-on installation of an edible mushroom patch to the ever-evolving Tiny Diner permaculture demonstration site! Class costs $15. Please RSVP to Andrea to reserve your space: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Information: Cody wears many hats throughout the work and play of Land by Hand, his ecological design/build organization. He collaborates with small businesses, homeowners, farmers, neighbors, educators, and changemakers in the Twin Cities region to co-create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Whether digging in the garden, paddling a canoe, foraging in the forest, or facilitating groups, Cody is motivated by a constant fire of acquiring, mastering, & sharing skills that inspire & empower others to follow their intuition and learn through hands-on experience. Learn more about Cody and his work at landbyhand.org
Class: Weed Identification: The Good, The Bad, The Beneficial
Date: Monday August 28th
Ever wonder what all of those unwanted plants are popping up around your garden? In this class, we’ll teach you how to identify these plants and what their purpose is in your garden. Looking at what’s growing in your yard can teach you a lot about what’s happening under the soil. We’ll talk about how to “read your weeds” as well as go over which common weeds are beneficial for pollinators, invasive, medicinal/edible or adding nutrients to your soil.
This class will meet at Tiny Diner and then travel one block to Bancroft-Meridian Garden, a permaculture designed food forest that offers free fruit to the community.
Instructor Information: Neal Baxter has been the coordinator of Bancroft-Meridian Garden for many years and is a board member on the neighborhood council.
Andrea Eger is Tiny Diner’s Permaculture Education Coordinator and has been a community organizer and organic farmer for the past 5 years. She received a Permcaultre Certification in 2012.
Herb Series with Chandra Botanicals
Class: Backyard Snackin’-Herbal Snack Making
Date: Thursday August 3rd
Hiding away in your garden and backyard are many “weeds” and plants that are both tasty and nutritious. Learn how to prepare local, abundant, herbs that are in season. This is a hands on class where we will be harvesting herbs from Tiny Diner’s permaculture garden. Class will include samples and recipes to take home! Early bird tickets are $12, general admission tickets are $15.
Class: Crafting Herbal Syrups
Date: Thursday August 10th
Herbal Syrups are a great way to preserve the bounty of an abundant harvest, come learn how to create your own with fresh local herbs! Great for adding a sweet herbal boost teas, cocktails, desserts, and more! Class will include samples and recipes to take home. Early bird tickets are $12, general admission tickets are $15.
Class: Herb Infused Vinegar Class- Create Healthy and Tasty Tonics
Date: Wednesday August 30th
Nourishing and Nutritious- herb infused vinegars are a great way to capture the power and essence of fresh and dried herbs. They are a delicious way to add herbs to your daily regimen and make a great addition to salad dressings, marinades, glazes, and more! We will create a custom herbal infused vinegar for you to take home with you. Class will include samples and recipes to take home. Early bird tickets are $12, general admission are $15.
Instructor Information: Marie Spencer is a Moonchild and Community Herbalist, and a member of the American Herbalist Guild. Captivated by nature and its endless wisdom, she began an in-depth journey into the world of herbs over 6 years ago. Her past studies include Environmental Science, Art History, and Philosophy, at the University of Minnesota and St. Catherine’s University. She can be found in the woods, hiking, helping, foraging, cooking, crafting potions and lotions, laughing, and loving in her spare time.
Classes for Kids
Herbs, Weeds & Edible Flowers
Date: Wednesday August 2nd
Even in the city, edible and medicinal plants surround us every day. During this class, kids and their families will learn about the plants, weeds and flowers they see in their yard, parks, playgrounds and while walking down the street. We will go over which ones are edible and which are helpful. We will also cover foraging safety and how to harvest kindly. A short discussion will be followed by a tasting tour of the Tiny Diner’s garden and some plant-related fun activities! This class is pay what you can (suggested price per ticket $20). Email email@example.com to reserve your spot. Space is limited!
This class is suitable for children ages 3 – 9 years old, but all are welcome! Parents are required to be on site throughout the duration of the class and are encouraged to participate! Please bring sunscreen, a hat and a water bottle for your child. This event is rain or shine.
Megan Trehey is dedicated to learning and growing the medicine of her bioregion as a way to cultivate healing within her community. With a background in early childhood education, she has extensive experience gardening with kids and families. She learned about herbal medicine by completing a nine month herbal apprenticeship. You can find Megan working at Land by Hand, an ecological design, build and education organization that utilizes the principles of permaculture. landbyhand.org
Clare Gardner Nieto grew up roaming the woods and fields with her mother, a self-taught naturalist and expert gardener, who taught her from an early age the names and signatures of plants and the knowing of the natural world. Clare has spent the last few years studying herbalism and flower essence therapy. Find out more about her and her work at www.claregardnernieto.com.
Pollinators! (and Other Helpful Bugs)
Date: Wednesday August 9th
We encounter them every day, but do you know who the pollinators are? During this class, kids and families will learn about who our local friends are, what they do and why they are so important to the earth. We will then explore the garden and see if we can spot them on their favorite plants and flowers! There will be an opportunity for each child to create and leave class with their very own way to care for the pollinators.
This class is suitable for children ages 3 – 9 years old, but all are welcome! Parents are required to be on site throughout the duration of the class and are encouraged to participate! Please bring sunscreen, a hat and a water bottle for your child. This event is rain or shine. This class is pay what you can (suggested price per ticket $20). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Space is limited!
One of the specialties in the North Country are fresh berries all season long – if we know where to look and what to plant. Right now, alpine strawberries, blackcaps (or black raspberries) and white pine berries are ripe and ready for harvesting. Alpine and white pine berries (strawberries) are small yet well-rounded in flavor and produce a lot during the hot summer months. Berries are full of antioxidants and have great flavor, providing our bodies with a flush of cancer-fighting resources during the time of the year that the sun is at is most harshest levels.
At the Tiny Diner, we grow some berry plants to showcase what we can plant to provide berries for ourselves and our bird friends. Here is a month-matching berry plant list that you can follow to wild harvest or plant if you have space. Be sure to come check out our gardens at the Tiny Diner to see what is ready and taste test a few!
June: Strawberry, Red Raspberry, Blackcaps, Golden Raspberry, Honeyberry
July: Blackberry, Currant, Gooseberry, White Strawberry, Blueberry
August: Blueberry, Elderberry, Grapes (not a berry but still same effects), Sandcherry, Chokecherry, Pincherry
September: Late-season Raspberries and Grapes