Tag Archives: gardening

Project “Save the Pumpkins”

It is the same at Johnstown Farm as it is in all of Kansas – HOT and DRY.  Many weeks ago we began our “Save the Pumpkin” campaign.  Johnstown Farm has always been dryland farmed (no irrigation systems required). However, these past two summers have gone beyond what any poor seed/sprout/plant can be expected to survive. We began this summer using flood irrigation to get to the pumpkin field, but this past weekend, Kansas conditions beat us, and we installed a drip system irrigation on the field. Hard work, but worth it!  Someone joked at an agriculture meeting, “If you want to feel like a successful gardener, grow a pumpkin.”  I think they were correct “grow A pumpkin” – not acres of pumpkins. One can be babied, in fact a small crop of them can be babied, but acres of pumpkins….  Right when we think we’ve got a handle on the water, there are bugs, then heat, then weeds….

We are thankful for the irrigation system!

Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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Just What I Like!

Ahhh…this is my favorite time of the growing season! The plants have sprouted, and the weeds, bugs, and deer are leaving everything alone for the time being. Our hay bale seeds actually sprouted faster than the fields. The conventionally and strip-tilled patches were next. The no-till plants have proved to be the slowest to come up, but they are beginning to peek out. The rain from last week (approximately 2 inches) has proven to be the lifesaver for our crop-literally!

Hay bale gardening

This is the strip-tilled patch into the radish crop

Here is the no-till patch with the radish cover crop

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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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Gardening Time

We are welcoming back spring at Johnstown Farm! Yea! I am always inspired by spring. It makes me want to take on new projects, especially in the realm of growing crops and gardens. Because of the blessing of much rain these past two months, we are seeing the farm come back from winter’s hibernation. It is so refreshing to see green everywhere, especially in light of the drought conditions last summer/fall.

Every year, we plant a “home garden.” This is supposed to be a small garden to supply the family with greens, right? Well, it always seems to get a bit unmanageable. This has been extra difficult since opening Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch. We weren’t willing to give up the home garden, but we needed to simplify.

Those of you who have been out to the farm and have met Angie, my sister, know that she is the creative dreamer behind much of the Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch and agricultural education for Johnstown Farm. She is always up for a new experiment.  Angie spent the winter months studying different gardening techniques.  Thus, this spring we are trying “square foot gardening.” The idea is to grow a garden in raised beds much more efficiently (effort and space). Well, once Angie dreams… here we go!

Grammy, Angie, the grandkids, and myself planned the garden with seeds and egg cartons.

We went to work measuring, cutting, and screwing together our raised beds.

A lot of Johnstown Farm soil, some gypsum (because our soil is heavy on the clay), and some compost (because we do not have a respectable compost pile yet-any suggestions?) and the beds were ready to mix. The beds were then gridded into 1 foot squares.

Looks great – the garden and the kids!  This was about three weeks ago. We are seeing sprouts and dreaming of a bumper crop. We did have to modify the beds by covering them with plastic mesh to keep those chickens out. Speaking of chickens- we still have a couple dozen eggs each week that aren’t spoken for yet, so if you are interested in farm fresh, free range eggs email us at


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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Grammy's Pumpkin Patch


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