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Planting Just Ahead.

Warmed and Spouted ‘Caribou Russet’ Seed Potatoes on Wood Prairie Family Farm.

  We’re believers and we think it’s worth the effort to Greensprout the Organic Seed Potatoes we’re going to be planting on our farm.  After grading and warming up our seed, we apply special Organic Seed inoculants to the warmed seed tubers.  We prep Seed further by moving them into our 55ºF Light Shed.  Greensprouting, known as “Chitting” in Europe, speeds up plant emergence and when the procedure is carried out to full term, moves up the field harvest date by 10-14 days.  You can read up on additional details about our Greensprouting process in the Farm Stories section later on in this Seed Piece.

   With this issue we are experimenting with a modified mobile friendly format which should improve your ability to view. Let us know what you think!

  Also, in this issue of the Wood Prairie Seed Piece, as we approach warm weather and Sweet Potato Planting Time, please find our Limited-Time Offer for FREE Organic O’Henry Sweet Potato Slips.  Plus, in How-To Gardening Resources we share a classic 1943 University of Missouri Farm Bulletin 464, entitled Growing Potatoes in Missouri. Historical publications like this one are valuable because they inform us about time-honored scientific agricultural practices.  Too often, basic science became neglected when the powerful influence of industrialized agriculture - and their penchant for selling purchased inputs - picked up speed in the decades following WWII.

  Here, we have always – for nearly 50 years – run Wood Prairie Family Farm as an Organic farm.  Over those many years all of our crops have been 100% Organic.  Our Organic experience is here to serve you and that means you can trust us with ALL your Organic needs, including Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes, Organic Sweet Potato Slips, Organic Vegetable Seed, Organic Herb Seed, Organic Flower Seed, Organic Cover Crop Seed, Organic Fertilizer, and Tools and Supplies.

  Thanks for your support and Happy Planting!

Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm

Bridgewater, Maine

Click here for the Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.

Special Offer! FREE Organic O'Henry Sweet Potatoes!

Place a New Order and Receive (6) FREE  O'Henry Sweet Potato Slips ($14.99 value) with a Minimum $70 Order.

FREE O'Henry Slips Will Ship at End of May.

Please use Coupon Code WPFF257.

How-To Gardening Resources.

Wood Prairie Family Farm Stories.

Caleb Unloading a Truckload of Empty Tulip Crates.

We have a friend in Connecticut we know from the Direct Gardening Association.  He is in the longtime business of wholesaling Tulip Bulbs he imports from Holland.  Six hundred Tulip bulbs fit into a crate and fifty crates fit tightly stacked on a pallet.  The crates are used only once for transatlantic shipping and then somehow seem to find a channel and make their way onto American family farms where they fulfill a myriad of farm applications.  Here, Caleb is using a Clark forklift to unload pallet after pallet of empty Tulip Crates.  The tractor-trailer which brought us our crates was a backhaul after having delivered Aroostook County Certified Seed Potatoes to a farmer in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.  Andy, seen pointing, is an independent trucker with his own rig.  He lives in mid-coast Maine and hauls Potatoes during the Winter and Blueberries in the Summer.  In between Summer runs, he owns a mini-excavator business and he hires out for construction projects like installing septic systems.  It took us one hour using two forklifts to unload the crammed-full 51-foot trailer.   Then Andy was off in his 1999 Peterbuilt semi to pickup another load of Certified Seed Potatoes and head south once again.

Giving a Boost With Organic Inoculants to Warmed-Up Seed Potatoes.

We’re big believers in the value of Greenspounting the Certified Seed Potatoes we plant on Wood Prairie Family Farm.  So, all 25,000 pounds of Certified Seed we need for our own planting undergoes this beneficial yet optional seed pre-conditioning procedure.   After grading over the Seed tubers, we warm them up to 75ºF in our Hot Room for a week or so in order to break dormancy.  Then, next step to is to cool the seed down to 50-55ºF and expose the warmed tubers to light.  While inspecting the Seed a second time, we apply our own mixture of special Organic Biological Seed Inoculants to the sprouted tubers.  In this photo, using his right foot to engage the foot-pedal-control of the conveyer belt on the red Haines hopper, Caleb controls the tuber flow.  If you look closely you can see two spray nozzles doing their job dispensing the inoculants as Seed tubers roll over and over on the ‘Roller Table.’  The goal is to wet 100% of the tuber surface with the inoculants solution.  At the end of the line, Justin fills Tulip Crates with spuds and stacks crates onto awaiting pallets for transfer into the Light Shed.  In Northern Maine we’re still emerging from Winter and many nights still hover near the freezing mark.  Thanks to warming days, soil temp has risen to 44ºF.  We don’t plant Potatoes until soil at 4” depth hits 50ºF, readings taken at 7am before temps get skewed by the sun.

Harrowing Wood Prairie Potato Ground for First Time This Year.

We began harrowing this week on the exact same date as we started harrowing last Spring.  Here, looking over her shoulder is Caleb’s sister Amy, driving our 1967 92-horsepower Oliver 1850 Diesel tractor.  Caleb and Justin completely rebuilt this electronic-free work horse American tractor eight or nine years ago and it’s still in prime condition.  On this sunny, chilly day in the fifties, Amy is pulling a 19-foot-wide IH (International Harvester) 4500 Vibra Shank harrow which combs through the soil and kills developing weeds.  This is one of the Home Farm fields where we’ll plant this year’s crop of Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.  She is driving southward.  Just this side of the thick Spruce trees ahead, ten days earlier, there remained the remnants of deep wind-deposited snow.  Every year snow is slow to disappear because of that tree shade.  Over thirty years ago we developed our Four-Year Crop Rotation.  This means we last planted Organic Potatoes in this field four years ago.  In the intervening years these fields have been in soil-improving carbon-capturing sod.    Just home from college, last week Amy completed the second year of her five-year program at Husson University in Bangor.  She is working towards earning a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy and has made the President’s List both years.  After college, Amy is hoping to eventually land a job at a school up here in Aroostook County.  For now she is a key addition to our Wood Prairie planting crew.  At age 20, she has never missed planting or harvest on our family farm. .

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Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 / 207 (429) - 9682
Certified Organic From Farm to Mailbox

Wood Prairie Family Farm | 49 Kinney Rd. Bridgewater, ME 04735