Renewable Farming

“We have seen an unparalleled surge in garden seed orders…”

… and we are temporarily not accepting new orders as we focus on filling existing orders.”  That’s the online message posted on the Seed Savers Exchange website March 27. The heritage seed organization is rushing to reopen new-order acceptance as soon as possible.

April 8, 2020  By Jerry Carlson —  Garden seed firms across America are experiencing a run on their seed supplies. One small firm says “We’re being slammed with five times our normal sales volume.”  One of our favorite suppliers, Albert Lea Seed, reports “temporary limits on in-store seed shopping” in the midst of a surge in demand while their staff complies with Minnesota’s Covid-19 guidelines. A staff member at Albert Lea Seed tells us, “Farmers, gardeners — everyone’s trying to get seed early.”

CBS News posted a video reporting that many retail garden centers, which have already opened in warmer regions like California, are seeing double or triple normal sales.

I see the burst of new demand for garden seeds as a positive signal for Americans’ long-term nutritional health. During WWII, the campaign to raise “Victory Gardens” encouraged 20 million new gardens, which produced almost half of America’s fresh food needs. Today, some see the Covid-19 battle imposing a need to put America on a “war footing” again. One aspect of this: How-to-raise-food videos are sprouting across YouTube. Moms Across America today posted an urgent request to support small farmers who raise fresh organic produce. In many states, their local farmers’ markets are closed and helpers can’t come to work in the fields.

Families “socially distanced” at home are looking for productive together time, plus wanting to avoid some grocery-store trips. I expect their kids will discover that home-grown, fresh veggies actually taste good, compared with aging chainstore imports from Mexico or California. Even before the coronavirus crisis, a single-mom health care worker told us, “I teach my kids how to grow a vegetable garden, and how to fish. I don’t want them ever to be hungry.”  If you’d like a refresher video on healthy soil and healthy gardening, here’s a link to an online “Your Best Garden” course with Matt Powers. Moms Across America is promoting this video this weekend.

Many farm families who normally have off-farm jobs could be constrained to the farm through April; possibly May. If they tap some of that home schooling and gardening with their children, their rewards will yield more than just good food. 

My heritage on a southwest Iowa livestock farm included a big garden, plus an orchard full of fruit trees. We grew most of our vegetables, milk and meat on the farm — canning or freezing for year-round food security. Ironically, two out of three of our adult kids are doing the same, and so are some of our grandkids who have the land available. Our grandson Blake owns and operates “Deep Root Acres” here on a 20-acre patch. Almost all of the following photos were taken here over the past eight growing seasons. We, of course have huge growing advantages: We have an unlimited supply of WakeUP since we manufacture it, and we’ve field-tested dozens of biologicals and crop nutrients which WakeUP enhances.

If you’ve never tried WakeUP and would like a small amount for your garden, please call or e-mail us and we’ll try to accommodate you.

Enjoy the show!

One of our WakeUP clients, Heartland Farms of Waterloo, IA,
irrigates and foliar-fertilizes several acres of strawberries with
an old fire truck. WakeUP and nutrients are metered into the water.
Result: Strawberries with sweetness and flavor unmatched in stores.


A client and friend in Florida, Travis Murphy, markets an OEM version
of WakeUP primarily for citrus. His family raises box-framed veggies
and strawberries for home use. These greens and berries are lush
with foliar-fed WakeUP Advantage and 20-20-20 fertilizer this spring.


Our first garden trial of WakeUP a decade ago showed that raspberries bloom more profusely, and set more and sweeter berries. Also, foliar-applied WakeUP didn’t bother the hundreds of honeybees which pollenate the flowers.
Spraying tomatoes with WakeUP, AgriEnergy SP-1 and 20-20-20 
released a torrent of blooms. The blooming continued even as part
of the plants carried ripe tomatoes in August. Sweet yellow tomatoes
are my favorites in salads.
Our only challenge in September: How can we get all our delicious tomatoes harvested? They were simply too tasty to waste.
Blake grew the sweetest melons I ever tasted. Brix levels
approaching 30. The secret: A wide array of foliar minerals,
mobilized with WakeUP Summer. Keeping quality was amazing.
Melons harvested just before frost in October remained crisp
in 40-degree storage into early December.
That approached an old advisory from consultant Dr. Carey
Reams: Good fruit and vegetables don’t rot, they gradually dry.
Pole beans kept blooming and generating crisp beans until frost. We took baggies of snap beans to church; people joked about having to lock their cars in the parking lot, to avoid having to cope with our green bean surplus. We kept spraying WakeUP weekly, anyway, until mid-October.
Non-GMO sweetcorn made Blake and Terry excellent
cash earnings during their high school years.
After the first season, they had a list of standing orders for bushels, and they supplied a local Hy-Vee supermarket.
One of Blake’s money crops: Garlic, especially raised for sale as seed garlic. Our storage room smelled like a pizza parlor, but customers like the product — worth a surprising amount per pound.