Seed To Bowl Farm is a MOFGA certified organic, urban farm located in Portland, ME. We are currently producing: organic fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and conventional eggs. All vegetables and herbs are started by seed, on-site. We are inspired to harness and use what nature provides us. We have 10 kw of rooftop solar PV, a solar hot-water system and a 1325-gallon rain collector, which provides nearly all of our summer irrigation needs. We offer free Level 2 EV charging while you visit. Our main goal is to create a living model of food and energy security for the coming Third Industrial Revolution. For all inquiries, email Justin at: email@example.com
MAY: Like always, I’m falling behind on updating the website. Some exciting news is that Monte’s Fine Foods https://montesportland.com/ is selling our produce. So far we just have our Garden Greens mix for sale, but there will be a lot more to come. Next will be some early potatoes. We’re coming off a very cold night and I have all the beds covered for extra protection. After a very cool damp April and start to May, it’s been bone dry for about 2 weeks. Farmers are on the front lines of human-caused climate instability. We have to adapt quickly to manage swings in temps and precipitation. Anyway, I filled up the big rain tank during a big rain storm on April 30/May 1 and it’s been providing irrigation for the past 2 weeks. I’ll try to get some photos up of how things look. It’s been a great season for salad greens and we should have a steady supply through May and June.
APRIL: Super busy. Lots going on. I’m falling behind on posting pictures, but I hope to get some up soon. Things are looking great. I’ve been harvesting salad almost every day for a few weeks and the greens bed is looking really good. Early Radishes are almost ready. Green bean and zucchini starts are in the ground with some protection. First sowing of carrots happened last week during a stretch of some very warm weather. I am starting to get some things dialed in. For example, the soil blocker has made the starts so much healthier. And I’ve got almost all the beds covered with either plastic or Agribon and it has made a huge difference in extending the season.
MARCH: We’re almost at the equinox and things are getting busier. The low tunnels with the 1” metal electrical conduit hoops have withstood two heavy wet snow falls and the veggies inside look good. I have some lettuce mix, spinach and kale growing as well as some beets and cabbage that I just transplanted into the beds. I also did a round of direct sown radishes that are just starting to pop up. And I decided to try some extra early potatoes in the bed that will eventually be home to the peppers. I got my labels done for using on the packages that I sell at Monte’s. They’re pretty simple, but should get the job done. See below for some photos of what’s been happening. FEBRUARY: Happy Valentine’s Day. Things are looking good in the garden so far. I transplanted the first round of extra-early spinach, kale and lettuce starts into the beds with the low tunnels. They look good and should be ready for harvest in a week or two. The next round of starts contains beets, onions, and Asian salad greens. The onions will be inside for about 6 weeks before they go into the ground. The beets and greens will go into the low tunnels next week. It looks like we’re headed for some warm weather in a few days and I am planning to direct sow some radishes and spinach after the soil warms up. I also got a load of wood chips from Joe which I’ve been slowly distributing around the yard. I’m excited to see how well the low tunnels work for season extension. I will try to maximize the amount of food I can grow in them with tight spacing between plants. JANUARY: A new year and some new goals. Just finished the MOFGA re-certification for the year. I am slowly figuring out how to grow food year round in our cold Maine climate. After a number of setbacks with the plastic quick hoops, I am making the switch to metal hoops for the main beds along the house. The last snowstorm dumped a lot of heavy wet snow. And when that snow slides off the solar panels, it lands directly on top of the quick hoops that are covering the beds. I purchased a hoop bender and the metal electrical conduit that I will use for the hoops. Those should be strong enough to withstand the weight and force of the snow. I also made the switch to soil blocks instead of plastic plug trays for all of my seed starting. I think it will save time and make healthier seedlings. See picture below. Additionally, I am planning to sell produce this year. I am working on labels and insurance to make sure everything is safe and secure with the operation. It looks like we’re in for an arctic blast later in the week. After that passes I am planning to set out some very early lettuce, spinach and kale starts in the covered quick hoops. Fingers crossed.
DECEMBER(cont.) Still harvesting carrots. Pulled 4 pounds today, the result of an early August sowing. I cleaned up one bed that had been covered by a quick hoop. The hoops collapsed during a heavy wet snowstorm over the weekend. To my surprise, the carrots and spinach that were underneath were fine. So I’m down to one covered bed as we reach the solstice. On a different note, we got some cool drone photos and videos of the property. I posted two of them down below with the other photos. Well, happy solstice. This has been quite the year. I hope to continue growing this little farm into the future and seeing where it goes. DECEMBER: For the first time since I’ve started growing veggies, I harvested fresh food in December. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to keep pushing the limits on season extension. Carrots and spinach seem ideal for late fall and early winter harvest. And now that winter has fully set in, I’m switching gears to focus on next year. We got garlic planted last week and that will help me make the garden plan for next season. I’m beginning to understand how to multi-crop each bed to maximize production. That means feeding the soil lots of organic material so the plants have all the nutrients they need. On a different note, I’ve decided to sell produce at Monte’s Fine Foods next year. So I’ll spend some time over the winter to work on packaging and labeling ideas. I’ll post on here when the veggies are available for sale at Monte’s. NOVEMBER(cont.) Now that the first few hard frosts have taken hold, things are feeling more like winter is nigh. I have topped off all the beds with mulched leaves. I covered some of the beds with quick hoops to extend the season. I’m still harvesting carrots, kale, chard, mesclun and spinach. And after spending some time inside the ‘greenhouse’ yesterday, I’m feeling more optimistic about being able to harvest some salad out of there in the winter. There is some mesclun that is growing well and seems to be surviving the lower light levels. I fully enclosed the inside with plastic to make it warmer. I’m also feeling like I might be able to get some harvest in the late winter/early spring. This has been the most productive year of gardening I’ve ever had. Numbers like; 93 lbs. of tomatoes from 4 plants, 46 lbs. of green beans, 62 lbs. of carrots (…and counting, I should be able to harvest carrots from under the quick hoops right through November and December.) And 43 pints of blueberries, a nearly continuous harvest for all of July and August. I am thinking about the best way to move the harvest more quickly and smoothly next year. I see three or four good options and I’m not sure what will work best. I’ll keep this website updated over the winter. I’ll also put up some photos of the beds all ready for winter and the ones that are covered with the quick hoops. Happy gardening. NOVEMBER: It sure doesn’t feel like November today (11/6). Human caused climate instability is here and happening now. For me, there is no doubt. Anyway, for now, we’ll keep growing food and spreading the word about weatherization, solar PV, heat pumps, EVs, battery storage, etc. And speaking of food, the garden is still producing food. I harvested 3 lbs. of bell peppers yesterday and 5 lbs. of carrots two days ago. And there’s still a good bounty of spinach, kale, chard and mesclun mix. It’s leaf time in the neighborhood and I’ve already made quite a haul. Now it’s time to mulch them and work them into the soil. I know the warm weather won’t last long, so I’m trying to get as much done as possible. Plants in the greenhouse aren’t getting enough light so I might abandon that idea and focus on putting up plastic and agribon on the beds with hoops. OCTOBER: The days are definitely getting shorter and the leaves have started their annual farewell. I’ve been a little behind schedule, as always, and managing to bring in a decent harvest most days. Kale, chard, lettuce mix, spinach, mesclun mix, carrots and green beans are still going strong. I set up my first ‘greenhouse’, which is nothing more than our rain tank flipped upside down and lifted up on one end so I can scoot underneath. See pictures below. And it’s just about time to cover some of the beds that have hoops on them. We’ve had two heavy rains the past week, including an absolute deluge in the middle of the night with thunder and lightning. The succession sowing of carrots, spinach, and greens has been great and I will increase that next year. Been reading a new winter gardening book by Eliot Coleman and feeling very encouraged to extend the season as long as possible. Happy growing.
SEPTEMBER: Well it’s been a busy fall, trying to wrap up some things and start others. The shorter days have condensed the amount of time I can spend in the gardens. Hence, I haven’t been updating the website as often. It’s been an amazing year with carrots, green beans, lettuce mix, kale, chard and peppers still coming in. The cannabis has been getting harvested a little at a time, but now it’s getting close for the final push. I have a number of things going for fall and winter including the new “greenhouse”. Soon it will be time for gathering leaves and mulching the beds.
AUGUST(cont.): We’ve had some relief from the heat and dryness. Summer is losing its grip and fall is creeping in; with longer, cooler nights and shorter days. That being said, the garden still has a lot of food bursting forth. We’ve been harvesting a pint of blueberries each day for over a month now. Both the roma sauce and the heirloom slicing tomato plants are flush with ripe fruit. I’ve made sauce twice already, with another box full of tomatoes ready for the pot. Bell peppers are ripening nicely as are the carrots. I’ve started fall carrots, spinach and mesclun in a few beds and they have all sprouted. Lastly, this is the first year I’m trying pole beans and they look great and should start bearing pods in a week or so. AUGUST: It has been hot and dry for a while. So all the warm season veggies are thriving. Tomatoes and peppers are ready. Cucumbers and zucchini are still going strong. The green beans are just about done for now. A second harvest of pole beans will be ready in a month. And the blueberries are going crazy. We’ve already harvested 25 pints so far and the bushes are still covered in berries. I am watering the gardens and harvesting every morning. This has been the best year by far. JULY (cont.): The garden continues to pump out food. Green beans, carrots, cucumbers and zucchini have all produced really well. Blueberry and raspberry bushes are loaded with fruit also. The first tomatoes are getting close to ripe. JULY: It’s been a wonderful season in the garden. Everything is growing really well this year. I’m definitely lagging behind on posting pictures. There’s just so much work to do that I usually forget to take photos. Zucchini, snap peas, green beans, chard and kale are all available. Cucumbers will be ready later this week. And blueberries are just starting to ripen.
JUNE: Great start to the growing season. A little dryer than usual, but we’re getting a good soaking rain today and tomorrow. Greens are still going. Harvested our first zucchini yesterday. The strawberries and blueberries look great. Strawberries should be ready next week, blueberries in about 2-3 weeks. And we’re trying a ‘3 sisters garden’ with corn, pole beans and squash. The corn was seeded yesterday.
MAY: It’s been a warm, dry May and the garden is in full swing. Everything is seeded and planted and now it’s a matter of watering and weeding. The greens bed is brimming with kale, chard, spinach, lettuce and mesclun mix. The strawberries are getting close and the zucchini plants have a few fruit already. I’m feeling encouraged by the good start to the season. APRIL: I’ve been “getting after it” in the garden. The fences are up, a bit bulky, but they work. I rebuilt three beds. Got compost on all the beds. Even got a load of wood chips from Joe distributed around the yards. We’ve had a very mild April with few nights below freezing, so the early greens are already coming in. Harvested our first salad the other day. Peas are just coming up through the soil. MARCH: MOFGA recertification is complete. I have decided to drop certification for eggs and cannabis this year. It was creating some unnecessary work. I started some very early spinach back in February and am hoping to get it into the garden next week. I also started the other early crops; kale, chard and lettuce last week. I’ll post pictures as they get bigger. I have a few projects to do this spring including rebuilding two of the raised beds, putting up new fencing around the bigger garden areas and continuing to work on the paths.
DECEMBER: Happy Solstice. It’s been an intense past 6 months. I haven’t had much time or energy to write any updates. It was a great year for Kale, Chard and Peppers. I also discovered fall carrots and will repeat that next year. I had a productive fall and the beds will be ready to go in the spring. Also got a lot of work done on the paths. I’ll write the totals of a few of the crops from this year. Happy Growing. Carrots: 25 lbs. Peppers: 25 lbs. Tomatoes: 78 lbs. Zucchini: 30 lbs. Kale: 20 lbs. Blueberries: 17 pints Cherries: 21 lbs.
JUNE: Kale, Chard, Lettuce are in. Chasing the pests, pulling the weeds.
MAY 27: The greens bed is brimming with goodies. Kale, lettuce mix, chard and spinach are all available. Limited supply so please call ahead. MAY: Despite a few mistakes and pulling a lot of invasive weeds, I’m feeling more enthusiasm as I harvested the first salad of the season today. The warm weather starts are looking healthy. Onion plants are in the ground, peas are coming up, and early green beans have sprouted in one of the hoop houses.
APRIL: Tough month. Wasn’t motivated to post much about the farm as things were a bit overwhelming.
MARCH: Another growing season is here. MOFGA re-certification is complete. The hens are laying eggs again. And the first seeds are planted. Today is unseasonably warm, however it won’t last long. Cold temps are supposed to return tomorrow. I am hoping to make better use of the website this year.
MOFGA re-certification is complete for crops and eggs. Early seeds were started indoors on 2/27 and 3/4 with Oli as helper. (photos below) Seeds planted: spinach, Swiss chard, kale, leaf lettuce, Little Gem lettuce, peppers (germination test) I also got a yard of organic compost and top-dressed all the beds as it has been unseasonably warm this week.
APRIL UPDATE: With things on lock down for COVID-19 we've been at home working and playing in the yard. We have plenty of seeds started and lots of things growing that will be ready to share. For now, all orders will be by appointment. We are also planning to have free plant starts at the end of the driveway in the coming weeks. It will be all self-serve with plants clearly labeled. Free seed packs are available at the end of the driveway on dry days: spinach, lettuce mix and peppers
MAY UPDATE: It has been a cold and windy May so far, but that seems likely to shift soon. I lost a tomato and cucumber to frost the other morning, but there are plenty to replace them with. All extra starts will be out at the end of the driveway for free. I upgraded my LED high lumen bulbs and have gotten great results on all my starts. I'm thinking of setting up a shop in the shed with an off-grid PV system to power the lights and heat trays. Otherwise, greens are coming in now and will be available by request starting next week. Chives are available as well. Stay strong. Eat well.
JUNE UPDATE: Holy sh*t. The revolution is here. Grab your shovel and get your fingers in the dirt. Let's all learn to grow our own food again. Despite the crazy climate, no rain for almost a month and a late frost that wiped out some stuff, this has been a banner year for the farm. Pictures below of what's going on right now. If you live in the greater Portland area and need fresh, organic produce and an egg or two during the revolution, please email or call. Eat well, stay strong. June 14 A couple of good, soaking rains have kick-started the garden. Kale is in. Herbs as well: cilantro, dill, chives, oregano. Berries soon. Eggs: 4 for $2
June 20 HAPPY SOLSTICE. Things are in full swing. It's been hot and dry since our last rain and the garden is kicking. It's a daily battle to keep 'chippy' (our friendly chipmunk) from burying seeds in the beds and from eating the strawberries. :< Peas are in. Zucchini soon. Plenty of chard and kale. Pictures below of the garden in mid-season. No Justice. No Peace.
June 27 A good soaking rain yesterday afternoon was a wonderful delight. Then I noticed the damage from 'Woody' (our resident woodchuck). She ate our cauliflower and dill as well as significant consumption of lettuce, chard and kale. It truly is a Hardscrabble Harvest. Some for them, some for us.
July 26 Well, it's that time of the year. Everything is coming in all at once. I've been busy with harvest and delivery of produce. So far, we've had a great year. The soaking rain and plentiful sunshine have the gardens in full bloom. Some pictures below from the past month. A lot of chard, kale, carrots, cukes, zucchini and green beans. Tons of blueberries as well. Almost a pint/day for a week straight. The onions and garlic are done as well. Meghan has begun preserving for the winter as well. There is kale and chard in the freezer. And our first jar of 'refrigerator' pickles is ready for eating. We also got a Powerwall installed. We can operate off-grid, if necessary. And we upgraded our water storage. 1325 gallons. We've already filled it once from a big storm. That's me with the tank, before we moved it to it's home.
AUGUST UPDATE: Things are slowly beginning to transition to autumn. We've had a nice break from the heat, although the dryness continues. It's mostly a game of harvest and water now. The animals sense the shift in seasons as well and their foraging efforts have surged as of late. Oh well, some for them, some for us. We completed our MOFGA inspection for the year and I added MC3 certification for the cannabis I grow. For now it's a hobby and the long term goal is to sell organic seedlings in the spring.
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: The season has shifted and so has the energy of the family. We're starting to prepare for the upcoming fall and winter. It was a great year 'on the farm'. Here are a few pics of apples and tomatoes. We made apple sauce and tomato sauce which are in the freezer. This has been a banner year for chard and there is still plenty in the garden. The cannabis is going bonkers, a few pics below. I still have Killawatt and Silver Wizard growing and they look very healthy.
OCTOBER UPDATE: Another successful season has come to an end. The cannabis is in and cured. And a few bell peppers that were started way back when, at the beginning of the pandemic, have fully ripened. The beds are slowly getting put to rest. I topped the main beds off with mowed leaves yesterday, a sure sign that fall has settled in. It's a lot later than usual and my climate hackles are in overdrive as fires continue to rage (this time near Boulder, CO). Each year will present new challenges in the garden as we are now on a 'climate escalator' going up, with no end in sight. Stay strong, eat well.
NOVEMBER UPDATE: The election is over and it looks like Biden will win. It's been a stressful few weeks. The weather has been unseasonably warm, which is concerning. It's supposed to be in the 60's for the next few days. I'm trying to take advantage of it and get things in order for winter and next spring. I've managed to bring in lots of leaves from the neighborhood and the beds are in great shape.