Folk Fibers Blog / farming

  • Featured In This Weeks Johnson's Backyard Garden Newsletter

    When I was in need of a sufficient growing space for the Folk Fibers dye garden I went to a guy that I know has land, my former boss Brenton Johnson. The story about Brent starting his farm in his backyard here in Austin is no secret, it's sweet and simple, and printed on thousands of CSA boxes and produce labels.  Brent still owns the house on Holly Street where JBG got started in the backyard, and front yard, and both sides.  Brent rents out the Holly Street residence and one of the tenants is how he found his amazing graphic designer (and my pal) Ryan...

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  • INSIDE MY LIBRARY

          Inside the book "Living on a Few Acres" copyright 1978 

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  • FROM THE GREENHOUSE TO THE GARDEN

    Spring Has Sprung In Austin & So Have I ! Six weeks ago I started 500 indigo seeds inside the JBG greenhouse. The JBG greenhouse still feels a little like my house, and Brent is so kind to continue to allow me access to the greenhouse. It is actually really easy to grow from seed if you have a well working greenhouse, sometimes it feels a little too easy, especially when you have a friend like Kim to water for you. If you don't watch yourself you can easily grow a ton of plants and your problem will be finding room for...

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  • GERMINATING DORMANT SEEDS

    Many plants have dormant seeds as a biological mechanism to ensure that seeds will germinate at the right time and under conditions that are favorable for the growth and survival of the next generation.  There are two types of seed dormancy: Exogenous (seed coat dormancy) and Endogenous (embryo dormancy). Some seeds have hard seedcoats preventing water absorption and the exchanges of gases. Without water absorption and gas exchange, germination would be impossible. There are several treatments to break dormancy for the purpose of inducing germination.  Scarification and Soaking are two pretreatment techniques that I have chosen to highlight.  They are simple and effective and I use...

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  • THE SECRET TO ORGANIC SOIL MIX

    Organic Soil Mix 1 wheelbarrow-load Vermiculite 1 wheelbarrow-load Peat Moss 1 wheelbarrow-load Aged Manure 2 4-inch pots Blood Meal 2 4-inch pots Rock Phosphate 2 4-inch pots Green Sand  After a couple years of working on organic farms, and managing a greenhouse, I have a clear understanding of what makes a successful soil mix. In the diagram above I extracted the basic ingredients to illustrate the raw materials.  The option to use comercial pre-packaged potting soils are widely available at nursery and garden supply stores, but you can also make your own potting mix! Making your own mix allows you to control the types and...

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  • LOOKING FOR RAINBOWS TOPLESS

    Working on a farm is not romantic.  The work is humbling, but the rewards are virtuous. I swapped stories the other day with Kim, one of my farm friends.  I opened up the conversation with the question,  "what was an early farm experience that confirmed your love for working on a farm" Kim said her first farm job was in Newark (outside of Rochester) New York at a farm called Peacework. On her first day she was assigned to do some transplanting in the greenhouse.  She had a lot going through her mind and was nervous that her speed and technique may not be up...

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  • STORING SEEDS

    A Garden's success depends in part on the quality of seeds planted. It is a shame to let seeds deteriorate inside a drawer or closet when simply putting them in an air tight container, inside the refrigerator, or freezer is the better option.  I am writing this because I realized many of my friends and family were making this common mistake, so perhaps it can be helpful to share what I know on seed storage. Conditions essential to good seed storage are just the opposite of those required for good germination. Good germination occurs when water and oxygen are present...

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