ken koch

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since Jan 25, 2013
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Recent posts by ken koch

Wholesale Success workshop in Missoula, MT March 6th. Atina Diffley, organic farmer and consultant (Organic Farming Works LLC), public speaker, and author of the 2012 memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works, will bring her more than 20 years of organic farming experience to Montana.

The workshop covers topics such as: Calculating Return on Investment; Cleaning, Drying, and Curing Produce; Traceability; Packing Shed Design; Maintaining the Cold Chain, and how to use the online food safety tool to create your own farm’s food safety plan.

Wholesale Success will support farmers in meeting the burgeoning demand for locally/regionally grown fruits and vegetables. Participating producers will receive a free copy of Family’s 312 page Wholesale Success Manual, normally an $80 value. The manual includes more than 100 crop profiles with crop-specific information on harvesting, cooling, storing and packing standards.

Cost is 10 bucks. Register here:
11 years ago
Emergency prevented me from attending on Saturday... hope you all had a nice time. Sorry I missed out.
11 years ago
I just received an order of various native tree and shrub seeds. (Most of them come from here:
Anyone have suggestions for likely propagation?

(Rocky Mtn Maple, Kinnikinik, Ocean Spray, Rocky Mtn Juniper, Chokecherry, Smooth Sumac, Black/Blue Elderberries, Snowberry, Saskatoon, Redosier Dogwood, Bear Grass, Red Stem Ceanothus, Western Syringa, High Bush Oregon Grape, Russet Buffaloberry, Thin Leaf Alder, Mtn Mahogany, Mock Orange)

Who has had luck germinating stored seeds? Ideas?

Also, any recommendations for seed sources for other native (Western Montana) perennials?

(Possibly another topic, but...) If you could/do have land in Montana, what trees and shrubs would you suggest to plant?
11 years ago
Nice one, Jo!
I look forward to discuss some ideas that a few of us less financially endowed folks may have.
See you there!
11 years ago
Here is a link to the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition's (CFAC) Montana LandLink site, connecting farmers/ranchers to local lands available:
11 years ago
My partner and some of her friends are way into medicinal herbs with the knowledge and experience for effective treatments. We harvest a lot of Comfrey, Thyme, Oregano, Lavender, and most of the herbs she works with I don't even know... there are jars of salves and dried herbs and tinctures and oils, I get overwhelmed... (I grow most of the food, she grows most of the medicine!)
Anyhow, they seem to work well if used in the right way. Better than conventional medicine in plenty of instances (in my opinion). There is this resin we picked up in South America called something like Cohipiba and that stuff is amazing. (Had a huge gash and this stuff magically closed it up in about 12hrs! Within 72hrs, could hardly believe it was there! Wish we could grow it up here in MT, maybe we can?)
On this side of MT, we have what I think they call Bloodroot. Supposedly nice stuff for skin cancers I hear. There sounds to be many other good medicinal natives around as well, but I am not the one to know them.
Anyway, I believe many herbs are effective if used correctly and with the right ratios of other possible herbs. I am no expert though. There are plenty of good herbalists in the area. Ask around and you will be surprised how many practitioners are here!

Anyone have some better information? What do the herbalists have to say?
11 years ago
Does anyone have any reviews of the Missoula course?
I wish we could have made it to this... Sounds very interesting.

Here is a link to NativeSeeds/SEARCH catalog:
(Check out their Glass Gem Corn. We are on their waiting list for some of these seeds!)
11 years ago
Are you referring to Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties at I have not. I will check into it. Thanks Rory! Do you have any other suggestions?
11 years ago
We have been, kind of, amateur breeding lots of our seeds. The bees do most of the work. We interplant varieties some too.
(This is a nice article about horizontal breeding that I am very interested in for localized seeds. )
We did our garden last year mainly just for fresh seed for our seedbank. All the food was gravy... There was plenty to put away and give away. Almost too much to handle. Our seed bank is overflowing. Our cupboards are full'o jars. With a little work you can have fresh greens, but we take a break in the winter and eat a lot of sprouts. If you are in Missoula area, there is a nice winter market. Check out the thread in the Missoula forum at
As far as MT, we are in the bitterroot at about 3400'. we're on a south facing hill and so our ground thaws earlier than the neighbors. But then down only about 300' elevation (3 miles by road), in the river bottom, they get "spring" nearly 3 weeks earlier. So it all depends on where you are. And how well your system is set up to grow.
The farmers markets are a good way to get starts or locate local seed possibilities.
Basically here, June is safe to plant your warm crops (some of the worst ice storms ive seen were in june - july). Your nightshades and many warmcrops will likely need a good headstart indoors. Unless you have some serious thermal-mass (like a rock) and a pond or something, its going to be difficult to get nice fruit on your nightshades and peppers without some type of coldframe/indoor scenario during the early spring. We start many things in cold frames. I even cheat with warmer pads on certain things. In the fall, we cover our more vulnerable plants during frosts. If you can raise your beds atleast 2', you will get a longer season on each side, but then, 24" is a lot of work unless you are doing a small jigamaju.
(Some of these permaculture characters can supposedly grow citrus outside up here... so ive heard! )
So the season is farely short here, but with good timing, a good system and a little research, you can grow almost anything. If your soil is happy and you have some sun and water, should be good. Just watch out for the deer. If you don't have a dog or something, think about fence. (I've heard that human urine works well keepin'em at bay. Sure and fine to share the foods, but if the deer get it before there is fruit...)
I would recommend planting garlics and marigolds and clovers and companion plantings, and all such. We recommend perennials and are getting various berries and fruit/nut trees in here as fast as we can.
As far as veg goes, don't forget: rotation, rotation, rotation, etc.. If each year you improve your soil, as opposed to damaging it, you can't go wrong. (Here is a glimpse of Missoula area ideas...
What types of things are you looking for? we might have what you need. Or our neighbors might. Depends on what you need. Hope your garden went well last year! Spring will be here again soon, good luck!
11 years ago