My reasons to go no till

no till gardening
Isn’t she cute

No till

Some of you are probably wondering “no till” ooookay. The sound of it actually seems counter productive right? I thought so too. When you think of preparing your field or garden bed one of the first things you think of is ” I need a rototiller.” Once you have your spot and the tiller, you work back and forth until you achieve that perfect soft soil. No weeds, no clumps, looks and feels great. However is it really? Sure, for hundreds of years we have produced thousands acres of crops with this method but what if we can produce a better more abundant crop? Sounds perfect right. More land, more machinery, more help, more seed, more fertilizer, more tilling…..blah blah blah. I am usually hesitant to jump up on the soapbox…..so excuse me while I climb up.

Reasons

The reasons I chose to go with the no till method are these….First of all I wanted to try and grow super healthy blooms. We have pretty harsh seasons here in Minnesota. Super cold winters and where I live really hot summers. Second I do get a little nerdy about organic things…tend to lean towards them. Third, money. A new rototiller is just not in the budget. Forth, want to streamline the process since It is only me and a little helper. Fifth what if it works….

What I have been learning

I have to admit one thing. When I first started my beds I did use a tiller. I have a small mini mantis tiller which I think I have had for about 10 years.. still works. Even tho I do hope nobody watches me start it because I know it is a scene. So that was the only time I tilled, which Connor Crickmore from neversink farm says is ok.

tractor tilling field
tilling

When you till the soil your are making it easier to plant. Those of you who like to till, please feel free continue no offence taken. However tilling disrupts the life in the soil. So when you see the birds following the tractor….yes they are eating all the worms and bugs that are overturned and therefor do not make it back into the soil to do their thing.

earthworm
worm

If you can leave the soil in tack then these guys can do their work and essentially till the soil for you.

Making it workable

Making the soil workable and keeping the weeds at bay are helped by using tarps and black landscape fabric. I use a pitchfork to fork the soil. Not turning it but just loosening it. Next is scuffing the top layer of the soil on the beds and adding my organic fertilizers etc  then cover the rows with black landscape fabric.  I covered my in between rows with fabric initially because I made the rows to narrow to get my mower in between. Low and behold it totally helped with my weed control.  Covering the soil also helps with erosion. I am excited to see how my flowers do this coming season.

reasons for going no till
reason for no till method

I will keep you updated on my progress here and let you know what is working for me and what is not. Please if you have anything to add please do so.

Lemon Blueberry Sour Cream Cake Kermakakku

Lemon blueberry kermakakku finnish sour cream cake

Kermakakku is a favorite of mine. Kermakakku is a traditional Finnish cake. It is slightly dense with a hint of cardamom and almond. Translated Kermakakku is Cream Cake. I have been missing my childhood food lately. Maybe turning 40 has something to do with this. I made the original Finnish sour cream cake a few weeks ago, then on Saturday I made this lemon blueberry version. Love at first bite!

The lemon juice added a hint of lemon and made the cake moist. I didn’t add a glaze to the top but a lemon glaze would make it even better! I will add a recipe for that at the bottom of the post.

sifted dry ingredients for kermakakku
sifted dry ingredients

If you do not have a sifter. You can use a small strainer or colander and lightly tap the sides. Works like a charm.

finnish sour cream cake kermakakku
kermakakku batter
finnish sour cream cake
kermakakku

When the cake is done you will notice cracking on the top. Gently poke the cake with your finger, it should bounce back. You can also check the cake by poking it with a skewer or fork. If it come out clean it is finished.

Lemon Blueberry Sour Cream Cake Kermakakku

This lush kermakakku will be the hit of the party. Serves 18 so there is plenty to go around

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 18 people

Ingredients

  • 2 whole eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Grease a bundt pan and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of granulated sugar. Heat oven to 350 degrees

  2. In a mixing bowl cream together eggs and sour cream until smooth. Add lemon juice and cardamom

  3. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to egg mixture. Mix until well blended. 

  4. Pour mixture into greased pan. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 55-60 minutes. Check cake after 55 minutes. Use a fork or skewer to poke cake. If it comes out clean its done. If not bake extra 5 minutes. Cool cake for half an hour. With a knife gently scrape between pan and cake. Turn cake over slowly onto serving dish. 

Lemon Glaze

1/2 cup powered sugar

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together. Drizzle over cooled cake

Flower Farmer inspiration

flower farming sources
Would love this farm setting

Here is a little of where I got my flower farmer inspiration. I do get some weird looks and questions from people when they find out I am growing flowers to sell. ” Sooo you like sell plants for people to buy….so what do you mean cut flowers? You must have a massive garden, wow I would love to see your yard. Where did you come up with that? That is interesting?”  My answers though can be a little on the boring side.  “No I don’t sell plants”, cut flowers, you know like the bouquets you can buy at the store….No I don’t have a massive garden and my yard is questionable.  Although I do agree with the interesting part. It is also satisfying, addicting, and it takes work.

Books and Blogs

A few years ago I borrowed a book from the library called The flower farmer by Lynn Byczynski. I loved it. It was chalked full of information and inspiration. I did not really think about people actually ” farming flowers”. She had a small scale cut flower garden, that I copied on paper and was going to plant the following spring. I had no intention at that point to grow to sell. I bought the book!

Floret Blog
Source Floret

I am not sure how I stumbled on floret. However this was the second batch of kindling that fueled my cut flower obsession. Erin Benzakein and her husband Chris have this amazing flower farming story. You should take the time to read a little about it. I also bought her book Cut Flower Garden . Amazing. Did I already say amazing..Erin also has a blog and sells seeds and tubers.

So one thing led to another and I decided to jump in. In the spring of 2017 I bought my first seeds from floret and Johnnys Seeds and got to work.

Another one of my sources of information has been from Curtis Stone ,he is an urban farmer from Kelowna British Columbia. I have learned a lot about soil management and crop rotation etc. Interesting stuff…

Continuing Education

I am convinced after my first year that I will be in constant learning mode. I hope to attend a few workshops in the coming year. It will be nice to learn “in real life mode”. I will keep you posted!

 

What’s happening in 2018

what's happening in 2018Hello! Happy 2018. I hope your Christmas and New Years holidays went well. Ours did. It is always so nice to take the time to reflect on what is truly important.  I thought I would give you a quick peek at what happening here at Midwest Cut Flowers for 2018! Like always I have a hundred and fifty things I would like to do, but will probably only accomplish a few. Oh well, I am who I am right?

Branding

I finally had a professional logo made! I was so excited with the outcome!! Check it out.

 

The logo combines my flowers and my Etsy shop.  I had Liz from just artin around design it. She was awesome to work with. I would recommend her! I can’t wait to order my business cards, stickers and tags.

Etsy shop

Speaking of my Etsy shop…. I have been lacking in keeping it updated and stocked with wonderful new and exciting items…..That however is supposed to change here in 2018! My plan is to add market bags, aprons and pot holders as I get them finished. My hope is to have a lot of inventory so I can be ready for the fall outdoor market at Mama’s Happy. This was such a great event that I am already in planning stages for it!

Cut Flowers

I have just ordered my flower seeds and dahlia bulbs. Most of my seeds are from Johnnys Seeds and this year I ordered bulbs from Swan Island Dahlias. Here are a few of the new dahlias and seeds that I ordered this year.

September Morn Dahlia Swan Island Dahlias
September Morn

 

Amber Queen Dahlia Swan Island Dahlia
Amber Queen
Johnnys Seeds Queen Lime Orange Zinnia
Queen Lime Orange Zinnia

 

Johnnys Seeds Costa Mix Snapdragons
Costa Mix Snapdragons

I am still hoping to get an order into Floret for some seeds. This is such a great website. It has been fun to follow them as their business has grown. Very inspiring.

Venues

I have another place that I am going to bringing my fresh cut flowers. It is right here in our small town of  Delano.  Red Rooster Soaps  is an occasional shop that just opened in December. Exciting stuff.  Stop by and check it out next time you are in town.

Blog

As for my blog, I am going to try hard and post at least once a week. If I don’t have time to ramble I will just post pictures of what is going on around here.

 

 

 

 

Little video

Sometimes things just take you by surprise. My oldest daughter sent this to me yesterday!  I was so surprised to get it. What a fun gift. Thanks Erica.

It is such a good recap of my first year. I am looking forward to next year. I hope she will do another video for me.

 

Gifts for gardeners

gifts for gardenersHi! Of course I have to a “gifts for” post right! As we are moving into the holiday season with Thanksgiving knocking on our door and Christmas running up the road…..here are a few things to think about for the gardener on your list.

This bucket  is so awesome. Not the prettiest thing but super useful. I use mine all the time.

The gardener on your list will love these mason jar planters. No soil necessary! Very cool! Easy instructions to follow. What a great, middle of winter beat the blues thing to do.

Every gardener loves to watch the birds. I don’t know if it is because we are outside so much and notice them and their sounds…but every gardener I know loves them. What do you think? Do you like to watch the birds. It really isn’t just for old people you know!  I really like the simplicity of this feeder.

I love Orla Kiely prints. They are bold and fun and always draw my eye. I received this journal as a gift from a friend and love it!! It has all the nerdy nooks and crannies that you love in a journal.

Of course a garden calendar is always nice. This one I found in Etsy in a shop called LouPaper. I love her illustrations.  Check it out here. 

 

Whoa! This thing looks amazing and scary at the same time. I would love this guy. It would come in handy for all kinds of garden jobs. Perfect gardener gift.

This wonderful time of year has come once again. Time to reflect on what we are thankful for and focus on what is important in our lives. Let us all take the time to slow down and enjoy all that the season has to offer. I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas.

Finnish Pulla Cardamom Bread

So lets just say that I love pulla. Get it out in the open, when it comes to Finnish cardamom bread, I love it! I eat it plain, with butter, toasted, toasted with butter and jam, toasted with butter and cheese and if it gets a little old, dip it in coffee.

Finnish Pulla. Cardamom bread. Traditional Finnish recipe

Pulla is usually baked as a loaf. However for special occasions the Finn’s or Swedes will braid it into a ring, add a glaze or almonds to the top.  This dough is very versatile. You can use it for small single buns or cinnamon buns. I like to make 2 batches and use one for the traditional loaves and one for cinnamon buns.

Pulla is also called Nisu, which simply means” wheat” or depends on who you ask “this bread”. Pulla simply put means “bun”.  Pulla is typically served at most coffee tables throughout Finland. The Finn’s enjoy their coffee at a prepared coffee table set with napkins, cookies, pulla and of course coffee in cute cups.  There is a saying in Finland “Parempi leipä kuin kulta” which translates to “better bread the gold” I think I would agree.

For better results make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Also I like to use whole cardamom seeds that I crush with a mortal and pestle or a coffee grinder. It gives much better flavor then the cardamom you buy in the spice section already ground.

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in water  fairly hot to touch.  Mixture will be light brown in color and foamy.

Cardamom

Pour the milk that has been scalded and cooled to room temperature into the bowl. Mix in eggs, sugar, cardamom and salt.

Add 5 cups of flour. Mix until smooth. Add melted butter. Then add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough is smooth to the touch.

Dough

Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled.

Divide risen dough into 3 equal parts.

Divide each 1/3 into 2 equal parts and roll out until approx 30″.

Fold 1 of the rolled pieces of dough over the other. See photo above

Braiding with 4

Follow the guide above for the traditional braiding. The pulla can also be braided with 3 strands. Braid as you would a regular braid.

Egg wash on pulla
Egg wash

Place braided dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let rise about 20 min. Brush loaves with a beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar.  In the photo above I used raw sugar. I have also used a cinnamon sugar mix.

Baked pulla loaves
Baked

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 min. Cool on racks.

cutting cinnamon buns
Cutting the cinnamon bun dougn

 

Each 1/3 can be rolled out flat and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  Roll up the dough length wise and cut at an angle. See photo.

pressing the cinnamon bun
pressing the bun

Place each bun onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and press down in the center with your index finger. See photo

Cinnamon bun with pulla dough
ready to bake

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with your choice of sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 min.

cinnamon bun
Baked cinnamon bun

Enjoy!

5 from 4 votes
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Pulla

A slightly sweet dense cardamom flavored bread.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 16 slices

Ingredients

  • 2 cups scalded and cooled milk
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 whole eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7-7 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash on loaf

Instructions

  1. Scald milk. Let cool to room temperature. Set aside. 

    2.  In mixing bowl add yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar. Pour in warm water and stir. Cover and let site for 5 min. 

    3. In the mixing bowl stir in milk, sugar, eggs, cardamom and salt. Stir until blended. Gradually stir in 5 cups of the flour. 1 cup at a time. Mix until well blended. Slowly pour in the melted butter until dough is shiny. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time. 

    4.Place dough into a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled. Approx 45 min. Divide the dough into thirds. Working with a one third at a time. Cut in half or thirds and braid. Move braided loaf onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Let rise 20 min. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with choice of sugar. 

    5.Bake for 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

    6.Cool on rack.

I hope that you enjoy this Finnish treat as much as I do. It makes a great gift!

A note a quote a gloat #2

Hey, its time for another installment of a note, a quote and a gloat. If you are new to this blog, I randomly will post little tidbits of flower information, a flower quote and notably a flower joke. aka a gloat.

This quote is said to originate from The Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), yeah its been around for ages. This quote makes me think of my husband’s aunt. I was blubbering one day about life and she said “girl you gotta bloom where you are planted.” She cut me no slack…I so needed this little reminder at the time and since then. I have told myself hundreds of times….”self remember…bloom”

NOTE

Did you know that 80% of all cut flowers sold in the USA are flown in from other countries. There is a movement slowly moving back to flowers grown here in the USA. Hence my little flower farm. Debra Prinzing has been a great advocate for the local slow flowers movement. Most of the local flowers that are being grown, are being done without the use of pesticides. This way making it safe for both the farmer and consumer.  Another plus to this, locally grown cut flowers last longer and look amazingly better. Seriously next time you are out and about and see a flower stand or at a farmers market. Pick up some locally grown cuts and see the difference for yourself.

 

GLOAT

What did the big flower say to the small flower?

garden love

Hey there bud!

If you missed the last a note, a quote and a gloat here it is  post # 1

Hope you enjoy your day.

Fall in Minnesota

Fall in Minnesota is such a wonderful thing. After sweltering hot summer days and buzzing mosquitoes we are quite ready for fall. Fall in Minnesota brings amazing flowers!! They to are enjoying the cooler temps. Here are a few pictures of what is going on around here in the midwest.

Lovely picture from Nistler farms

My daughter is having a great time working at Nistler farms this fall. They grow such awesome quality produce.

more from Nistler farms

This was my last cut for the flower stand this season!

I have planted quite a few tulips this fall. I still have one more bag to go. These lovelies were a gift from a friend!! Perfect, Thanks Heidi.

Lake Rebecca

This picture was taken at Lake Rebecca park. We are lucky to live by this awesome park. There are biking and walking trails. Canoe and kayak rentals on the weekend. Picnic areas, play area etc. Check it out!

Some ornamental grass that I planted last year! So cool. I am planning on taking pictures of my garden this weekend, so next week I will post what that is looking like.