Multi-use Plants

Courtesy of Paige H., Patchwork Farms, Austin, TX

We’re doubling some of our vegetable sales with flower bunches when available. Sunchokes produce a wonderful long-lasting cut daisy, so the plant produces two sources of revenue. The flowers and the roots. Chives and leeks are similar. People love to use the giant green star stems in contemporary arrangements. Unless you’re collecting seed, it’s a nice way to expand the use of each plant.

Surviving a Cold Snap

Courtesy of Paige H., Patchwork Farms, Austin, TX
I just loaned my standard Christmas lights (read “not LED, so warmer”) to my neighbor who is concerned about her citrus. She’s borrowed my quilt batting and has strung the lights inside the tree wrapped with the batting. Sure beats burning tires.

Trellising Tomatoes

Courtesy of Michael B, Austin, TX
You can fit about 1 tomato tripod per 6 sq. ft. or so.  The tripod is held together at the top by twine.  I allow my first sucker to develop as the second leader and then trim every sucker from then on out. I usually use the stretchy plastic ties for the first leader connected to the bamboo because twine can suffocate it if you tie it too tight.  I come out once per week to pull suckers and to make sure the second leader is being wrapped by the twine. The bamboo poles are 8′ and are sunk down about 1′. The downward pressure from the second leader makes the setup very sturdy and leaves you with about 7′ vines
(plenty for most varieties.) Super simple, and very little upfront cost.

Researching Restaurant Regulations

Courtesy of Paige H., Patchwork Farms, Austin, TX:

When researching local regulations regarding restaurant sales, make sure you ask agencies at both the city and state levels. If you get conflicting answers, don’t be surprised. Your next stop should then be some restaurant managers . They’re the ones who have to answer to the Health Department when they drop in for inspections. The restaurants have to be intimately familiar with the regulations that govern them. Follow that with caterers in your area who are usually running independent operations and had to do everything themselves to set up their kitchens and packing systems based on regulations.