Author Archives: Paul

Radish Wrap Up

[Leigh’s note: Paul’s back on the blog for what I guess we’re going to call a guest post, so enjoy!]

Now that all of the radishes have been harvested and the bed has been cleaned out, I thought I would talk about our first crop.

This year we are doing variety testing where we test which varieties of different vegetables grow best in our climate, soil, etc., and which ones produce the most uniform, appealing crop. Before we increase our scale, we need to know which vegetable varieties will be the most successful. As Leigh mentioned in a previous post, we tried two varieties of radish this year—Early Scarlet Globe and Plum Purple. We got both varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, a seed house outside Decorah, Iowa. Both had a great taste and weren’t too woody, but one was a clear winner.

The Early Scarlet Globe matured evenly and put more growth into the root (the edible part of a radish) than the tops. It also was spicy enough to have a good flavor, but wasn’t too spicy. The Plum Purple had a great color, but it didn’t produce as many radishes per foot of row and some were quite spicy. Also, many of them grew large, numerous leaves but only had a small, inedible root. Fortunately we planted three times as much of the red variety as the purple.

So what does this mean for the future? Well, I still have half of the red variety seeds and so this fall I will plant another crop of that variety. In future years we will probably plant the Early Scarlet Globe variety as our main radish variety, but I still want to try out some other varieties to get a diversity of colors. Johnny’s Selected Seeds has a few hybrid radishes in non-red colors that could be promising.

In the meantime we have a lot of other vegetables to try. We already have the kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in the ground and there are many others that will be going out soon, including five varieties of tomato. We’ll keep posting as the year progresses and more things are harvested.


The Steel that Connects Us

There is one thing that continues to strike me as I do more and more research.  We are incredibly interconnected, both between one another in modern times and with people and events of the past.  One particular example sticks out to me with the research I’ve done in the past couple days.

Highwood Station ca. 1910. This station was operated a little over a mile from our house. Photo courtesy MN Historical Society.

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History Rules

Every time that I do more research on the house I have to filter through a lot of information and decide what is reliable and what might be straying from the truth.  I was fortunate to have great history teachers in high school and college who taught me how to research well.  As I’ve researched recently, I started thinking about what processes I use and have come up with a list of rules for historical research.

What's in a name? Three spellings, one person

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In the Beginning

When I’ve been able to find a little down time lately, I’ve started looking into the history of our house.  Leigh has already mentioned the story behind our house being the “statue house,” but my recent efforts have gone back much further in history.

Through my limited research (and there is a lot more digging that needs to be done), I have learned that our “house” was built in 1890 by a recent Swedish immigrant named John Blomberg.  The reason that I put “house” in quotations is because the house that he built was what is now our kitchen and bathroom (a one-story, 14’x20′, possibly one-room house).  The rest of the house (what we consider the main living area) must have been added on at some point later on.  John built the house right around the time he married his wife Annie and while working for the Chicago, Burlington, and Northern Railroad.  By 1900, the Blomberg family had left Saint Paul to farm in southern Washington County.

I was able to learn the above information by looking at a couple of historical sources.  These same sources can be used by anyone who wants to learn the history of their house.

A clipping from an 1881 directory of McLean Township (the area where our house is located which was annexed into the city in 1887). One entry shown in the directory is B. Franson, who John Blomberg boarded with before building the farmhouse and then became his next door neighbor.

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