Owen Seeding

Owen Seeding
Little Owen Sowing Seeds

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grow Good Things CSA Futures... Edible Investment in Local, Sustainable Food Production

The following is the content for a pamphlet I have designed to promote the funding model we will be using for the Grow Good Things CSA this year.  Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested in becoming involved...  The brochure (with pictures ;) will be distributed at the Joel Salatin Meat & Greet next week in High River, and is available by mail or PDF on request...

Based on Golden Rose Farm in the High Country Foothills of Southern Alberta, our objective is to ensure that the tradition of sustainable farming continues to grow in the rich soil of our family’s farmland. 

We believe in using organic, permaculture, biodynamic and complementary food growing practices; and we are committed to purchasing organic, open-pollinated, and heritage varieties of seed.  

Grow Good Things supports and encourages the preservation of the genetic integrity and diversity of our food supply; and works for the education and advocacy of sustainable food production, marketing and consumption.


Grow Good Things CSA Futures is a flexible prepayment plan that contributes directly to the growth and development of our non-conventional Southwestern Alberta farm.  Your start-of-season investment provides us with the operating capital we need to purchase essential items such as seeds, soil amendments, drip irrigation, row cover, fencing and mulches to extend the growing season; and enables us to hire the necessary labour to produce excellent crops.

In our 3000 sq ft unheated greenhouse and outdoor growing areas we will be growing the following types of foods for the 2013 CSA:  Greens such as Spinach, Swiss Chard, Lettuces & Kale; Beans, Peas, Carrots, Radishes, Beets, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Chili Peppers, Edible Flowers such as Bachelor’s Buttons, Pansies, Borage and Nasturtiums, Herbs such as Spearmint, Oregano, Sage, Parsley, Thyme and Basil; Rhubarb and Alpine Strawberries.

In addition, 2013 investment will be directed to initiatives that will increase our farm’s diversity such as the installation of a Saskatoon orchard, the construction of a movable Chicken Tractor, and entry into sustainable Beekeeping.  Yields from these endeavors may be low in the startup year, but will greatly add to our farm’s long-term sustainability.


As members of Grow Good Things CSA Futures, you receive the value of your investment back in farm-fresh produce and market goods.  Instead of receiving a weekly ‘share’ of mixed vegetables, participants will have a registered gift-type card that they can use for purchases from our table at the Millarville Farmer’s Market.  We believe that this CSA model will enable people to receive more of what they like, in timing that suits their lifestyle. For example, if you like to freeze a large quantity of blanched greens for winter soups and smoothies, or dry a large quantity of kale to make kale chips, or process a number of pounds of tomatoes for canning; this plan offers the flexibility to cash in your CSA Futures as your tastes dictate.

Members will receive a weekly email on Sundays throughout the growing season (which runs from the beginning of June to the beginning of October); detailing what products will be available at Market the following Saturday.  It is recommended that orders be made by Tuesday to reserve your goods.  There will also be other types of homemade / handcrafted items available at our booth that may be included in the CSA program; such as bedding-out plants, tea blends, salves, wool-felted objects, frozen and preserved foods, natural bug repellant, and other crafty items.

Grow Good Things CSA Futures Membership can be purchased for varying amounts, depending on your requirements:

Option 1: $250

Option 2: $500 - receive 5% more product (Value $525)

Option 3: $1000 – receive 7% more product (Value $1070)

Option 4: $5000 – receive 10% more product (Value $5500)

Option 5: Work for Product - $12 of product for every hour worked

Options 3 & 4 work well for extended families, groups, offices & restaurants – delivery to a common location may be possible.  Option 5 may be combined with any level of investment; please speak with us to work out the details.

This structure serves only as a guide, as any level of investment can be applied to our program to enable us to build capacity and add to the diversity of our farm.  Futures investment can be redeemed over future seasons, although we hope they are used primarily for the year in which they are purchased.


The future of sustainable organic agriculture is a shared partnership between producers (farmers) and consumers.  In the difficult growing region of Southwestern Alberta, we hope to spread the word that growing and eating local food is not only possible, but that it is a worthwhile objective to pursue. 

Farming is a part of our heritage, and the more it is encouraged and nourished, the more it can flourish.  Please pledge to support our local independent small farm, and help us Grow Good Things.

“Put your money where your mouth is.”

 For  more information, please contact

Bridget Lacey

Grow Good Things

PO Box 1343 Turner Valley. Alberta T0L 2A0




  facebook: Grow Good Things CSA 




Saturday, March 9, 2013

A brief history of Grow Good Things... and whats around the curve :)

In order to attend the Joel Salatin Meat 'n Greet in High River next week as a table host, I've been asked to write a brief bio and history of our farm & organization, and answer the question "What makes you a Lunatic farmer?"

There are so many reasons that farming in the Foothills takes lunatic measures.  The extent of our madness is best defined by the weather we are susceptible to in this region.  'Freak' June, July, or August snowstorms are not uncommon in our already short 90-day frost-free season.  Vicious hailstorms shred crops and destroy buildings in unpredictable bursts throughout the short summer, and the desiccating winds often whisk the snow off the ground, leaving perennial roots exposed to winter temperatures that can exceed -45C.  Living on the edge of Kananaskis country; wildlife such as deer, cougars, coyotes and even wolves and bears linger on our doorstep, eager to partake in the spoils of farm food production.  And to top it off, the culture of sustainability is not yet fully-integrated into the fabric of our petroleum-based society, which means that organically-grown foods are often not recognized for their inherent value, and must be sold at market in direct competition with conventionally-grown products.

Way up in these High Country foothills, Golden Rose Farm stands as a multi-generational food-growing operation, raising a spectrum of organic vegetables, grains, cattle, pigs and chickens at one time or another since its establishment in 1947Grow Good Things founder Bridget Lacey grew up on the farm, helping her parents William & Jacqueline as they established one of the first certified organic greenhouse operations in Alberta during the 1990’s, before it was fashionable.  At this time, Jackie was also the manager of the Millarville Farmer’s Market, and so Bridget was raised working alongside a diversity of farmers from across rural Alberta; earning an innate understanding, respect and love for the growing, production, and marketing of home-grown food, and the people who dare to try and make their livelihoods in such a difficult profession.

Golden Rose Farm is not presently active in livestock production, since the collapse of the cattle industry in the past decade.  We currently lease our pasture to neighbors who graze their animals on it, and who have tractors sound enough to harvest the hay crop.  The greenhouse plastic has blown off the frame so many times that Will Lacey’s organic greenhouse operation shut down in 1999.  

A few years ago, Bridget began working alongside like-minded friends in the Calgary-and-surrounding-areas community to develop Grow Good Things as a source of advocacy, education and empowerment for the expansion of organic food gardening.  With the objective to encourage everyday people to become involved in local growing, the work of the organization has included the development of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program, assisted in the building of community gardens, the installation of permaculture designs on participant’s land, the installation of self-watering food growing beds in urban areas, and the resurrection of the large greenhouse on Golden Rose Farm, southwest of Turner Valley.  

Although the Grow Good Things team straightened the frame and recovered the greenhouse in 2011, the top layer of plastic was likewise blown off by high (hurricane force) winds later that winter; and so we are left now with a 3000 square foot cold-frame with fans and irrigation.  And so this year, Bridget is putting a new SPIN on greenhouse production by focusing on growing the foods that do best in the short-season, cold-night, and storm-susceptible region we live in; Greens, Greens, Greens!  The farm will also be experimenting with flowers and herbs for teas and salads, a few mixed vegetable crops, harvesting the rhubarb patch, and the establishment of a Saskatoon orchard.  A one-acre planting of the adaptogenic herb, Rhodiola Rosea is also going in the ground as three-year-olds, and shelter belt trees will be planted to boot!  Bees and Chickens are on the horizon, so stay tuned ;)

And so despite the adversity we face every year, the future of the farm remains promising.  Bridget dreams of Earthship greenhouses built into the south-facing sides of the large hills on the land.  Mix in sheep and chickens and ducks and pigs and fruit orchards and hemp fields and wind-catchment and aquaponics… and demonstrate the kinds of lunatic methods that will soon be commonplace elements of permacultural food growing operations across the world!  The future is taking shape with every conversation that is shared with likewise lunatic farmers and eaters who have the passion and wherewithal to support the objective of growing food sustainably in cooperation and respect for the land and elements we live with.

This year, Bridget will be opening Grow Good Things Futures, a prepayment plan that will work similarly to a CSA, but instead of receiving a weekly "share" of mixed vegetables, participants will have an account card that they can debit food purchases from throughout the growing season, equal to the amount of their investment.  We will email a list of the week's available products out to members on Sunday night, and orders can be picked up at the Millarville Market on Saturdays; or throughout the week as may be arranged.  We believe that this type of model will enable people to receive more of what they like, in timing that suits their lifestyle.  For example, if you like to and freeze a large quantity of blanched greens for winter soups and smoothies, or order a large quantity of kale to make kale chips, or a number of pounds of tomatoes for canning; this plan offers the flexibility to cash in your CSA Futures as your tastes dictate.  We will be vending at the Millarville Farmer's Market on Saturdays throughout the summer, and so CSA members may find it convenient to come weekly and purchase bags of greens, flowers, veggies, herbs and sprouts from our table there.  We will also sell canned and frozen goods as the season progresses, and handcrafted goods which may be purchased as part of the program.  Half-Share memberships are selling for $220, and Full-Shares for $440; however any level of investment can be applied to our program.  Futures investment helps us build greater infrastructure and increase our food growing capabilities; and could be redeemed over future seasons. 

Grow Good Things is also looking for partners across the community to collaborate on the development of a regional SEED BANK, specializing in retaining and expanding a catalogue of open-pollinated seeds that grow well in our region.  We will begin to distribute seeds this spring to fellow gardeners in the Alberta region who are willing to try and save a portion of their harvest for seed; with the hope that they will return newly saved seed by mail in the fall.  The project collaborators will seek to build a permanent seed vault storage facility as community property, most likely using grant applications for funding.  This type of collaboration is very important to establishing long-lasting food security, and to preserving the genetic heritage of our food supply.

Please get in contact with Bridget if you are interested in becoming involved in any of these projects, she can be reached by email at bridgetlacey@gmail.com.  The learning and sharing opportunities are limitless, as we grow together with our community.

- Bloom Where you are Planted

 “You may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”
- Billy Joel

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Seedling Sale on Now! Get your locally, organically, lovingly grown plant babies!

We have a beautiful bunch of plant babies growing right now, and they need good homes to go to this month!  Select from a broad assortment of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers; grown in organic conditions from organic seeds.  Tomatoes of various colours and types, brassicas, marigolds, peppers, zucchinis, melons, asparagus, strawberries!!!  See the full selection listed on the order form I've posted below.

The 3.5" pots are $3 each or 4 for $10; and 6packs may be available for $7 each; just call or email myself or Isis to inquire. We can deliver in town or to Calgary for a fee; orders can be grouped to save on delivery charges :)

As I will also be delivering my baby next week (on Wednesday by cesarean section); it would be great to get orders in a.s.a.p., so we can prepare to get the plants to you by May-long weekend.

I can't figure out how to get the spreadsheet to post to the blog or anywhere online, so email me (bridgetlacey@gmail.com) to have me send you the PDF file; or to simply tell me your order (if you can read the form online).  Thanks so much for your support!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring!

Happy Vernal Equinox!   This is the premier entry into this blog, which is intended to fulfill my hope that more people will learn to love the joys and perils of growing their own food (including vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers).  I hope to share as much information as possible in this blog format, as I have been collecting info (and experience) in organic gardening for many years (if not my entire life); and know that the info on seed packets doesnt always portray the full picture.  We could all spend hours pouring over gardening books, but that is really winter homework, isnt it?  Spring is time for action and setting your gardens up for success!

SO... the first thing I've done is prepared and posted (below) a planting calendar for seed starting your crops indoors.  This calendar is geared to ZONE 3 GARDENING, so if you are in coastal BC, the Maritimes, or southern Ontario, you may not want to use these dates as your guide (or see the hint below).  I will try to post a zone map in case you are not sure what your "Zone" is.

For this year's estimated Frost Free Date (FFD) - which is how we determine the timeline for seed starting - I have appointed May 20th to be the magical date after which we will no longer experience below zero temperatures in Zone 3.  I picked this date because the New Moon occus on May 20, and so planting and   transplanting are favourable for above-ground crops after this date; however it is a bit earlier than the typical May Long Weekend tradition in our high-country area. Most of the seedlings you will start indoors from seed will be safe to set out as of the Frost Free Date, however it is very important to look at the long range (2 week) forecast around planting time, to make sure nothing horrible is going to happen to you little plant babies in the dark and cold of the night.

Hint: If you do live in a different Zone and you know your estimated Frost Free Date, simply add or subtract the number of weeks difference (from May 20) to the entries in the calendars below, and you will be all set.

There are some other pieces to this puzzle to consider as well, so keep reading to get a more complete picture of how this calendar was put together...

The Old Farmer's Almanac (in print for 220 years) is my source for the planting parameters which use the moon's phase and astrological position to determine the most favourable times for planting (and harvesting, grafting, getting a haircut etc.)  These formulas are used in the biodynamic gardening method as well.  The best way to imagine how this works is to observe the large influence the moon has on the tides; and relate that to how much pull it could conceivably have on every aspect of life on Earth.

The first and most basic thing to remember is that the best time to plant crops which fruit above-ground (leafy greens, tomatoes, herbs etc) are from the New Moon and onward (waxing) until the Day of the Full Moon and on (waning), when it becomes more favourable to plant crops which have below-ground "fruit" (potatoes, onions, rhodiola etc.)

The second parameter is the position of the moon in the celestial sphere (as described in common Western Astrology).  This sign changes every 2-3 days, and moves through the Zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer etc.); Signs which are also linked to the four elements of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water (respectively).  The best planting dates fall on Water Sign dates, with the Second choice being Earth Sign days.

If these parameters do not seem significant to you, or maybe you (like me) just have to plant whenever you get the materials and time together in one place.  If this is the case, the planting guidelines correspond roughly to the number of weeks from FFD that it will take to produce an ideally-sized transplant.  If you are late, dont worry; just getter' done as soon as you can.  If you want to start some things a bit early, it shouldnt matter too much to get a week or two ahead of yourself, but remember that some plants will get stunted if kept in containers too long; they may become leggy (straggly and stretched) if lighting conditions arent ideal, or get rootbound (compacted) if kept in small containers.  Also remember that most plants (but generally not the woody herbs) will need supplementary fertilization with their water once they are about 3 weeks old.  It is easy to find good balanced organic liquid fertilizers in garden stores nowadays.  Please do not use Miracle-Grow or similar fertilizers on anything you are planning to eat.

So thats about all I'm going to share today.  I hope this helps you out a bit when imagining how to get started with seeds indoors.  And, if it is any consolation, know that I will be starting my first seeds tomorrow (onions) and Thursday, which is the New Moon (when I will plant tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, asparagus and lavender)... A little late but I'm confident I will have decent size babies to set out around May 20 (since we still have 10 weeks until that date).  I havent hit the biodynamic dates that well this month, but maybe its all a bit of hippy malarkey anyways, right?

Bloom where you are planted.