Wellness Fair

Mark your calendars; in less than a week (Wednesday, January 20th), DUG will be participating in Capital Chiropractic's Winter Wellness Open House. I'm really excited to be a part of this community event which promotes wellness and healthy living.  I will be offering samples of various types of microgreens.  Along with sampling some tasty microgreens you will be able to make bike powered protein smoothies, view a new photography exhibit from Christopher Maharry, toast the new year with a healthful glass of red wine (or water), and mingle with some great folk!

The event is from 5-7pm at Capital Chiropractic which is located in East Village on 601 East Locust Street, Suite 102.

I am honored to be featured as Capital Chiropractic’s guest blogger, so head over to their website and check it out!


http://capitalchirodsm.com/events/our-health-community-meet-jenny-quiner-of-dogpatch-urban-gardens/


Your Urban FarmHer, Jenny

The Capital Chiropractic crew (from left to right): Jen Morrow, Abbie Sawyer, and Dr. Chris LoRang

New Year & New Plans!

Happy New Year to all!

These past few weeks have been wonderful as we were able to spend quality time with family and create many lasting memories.  Seeing the joy on my boy’s faces on Christmas day is something you just can’t beat.

The newest farm update is that we recently bought the ½ of land located directly behind our current plot.  We close on the property at the end of the month and are currently exploring all our options for what we want to do with the land. One thing that is for sure, we will be constructing a building on the back plot.  The backside of the building will be my work space and will house a washing station, processing space, packaging area, as well as the walk-in cooler.

I’m really excited about the front portion of the building because it will be our FARM STAND!  This is something we wanted to have all along and purchasing this land allows us to offer this amenity.  We will sell our produce directly through the farm stand and will also sell other locally sourced products.

The microgreen operation is expanding and doing well.  Le Jardin used my China Rose Radish microgreens as an in ingredient on their New Year’s Eve menu and I’ve been meeting with other metro restaurants about my products.  I’ve also been experimenting with various grow mediums to find out which yields the highest quality product.  My seed inventory keeps expanding and this week I’m experimenting with broccoli, red cabbage, and swiss chard.  If you’re interested in trying some of my product just let me know!

Cheers to healthy food, healthy bodies, and healthy spirits throughout 2016.

Your Urban FarmHer, Jenny

 

 

 

 Walter, Lewis, & Oliver excited for Santa!

Walter, Lewis, & Oliver excited for Santa!

 Newest plot plans

Newest plot plans

 Microgreens on Le Jardin's dish

Microgreens on Le Jardin's dish

Our "new" farmhouse

My 10 weeks of maternity leave came to an end this week and I’m back educating the youth at Dowling Catholic High School.  Instead of me blogging about how finals week went for me, I’m going to pass this blog off to my husband, Eric…

Hello DUG bloggers, Eric here!  I am a Realtor for Iowa Realty, and I grew up in the center of the world (aka) Beaverdale.  As a result I have always had an affinity towards older homes. I market a large portion of my business to the neighborhoods in the Des Moines North West corridor like Beaverdale, Roosevelt, Cottage Grove, and Waveland. Homes in these neighborhoods always sell at a fast pace; despite the fact that they tend to have small kitchens, bedrooms, closets, and baths. The foundations are older and commonly leak (well… only when it rains) yet these homes still fly off the shelf. One word can describe the demand, character. No amount of space, or modern finish, can pull this type of homeowner away from the mature trees and the aesthetic of a Beaverdale brick or a Waveland bungalow. The commercial districts are always packed and whatever form of micro-culture that these shops are selling, we are always buying. 

Because of all of this I have started a business of restoring homes.  My focus has been restoring homes in Des Moines North West communities to sell and rent.  This business has come in handy for my wife’s newest farming endeavor because the land that we bought has a home on it.  I like to look at it like we bought a home with some land, but Jenny keeps reminding me that this is the other way around. 

It seems fitting that the home on the Dogpatch Urban Garden plot was one of the old farmhouses for the employees of the Meredith Family Farm (more on the history of the home in another post). It feels, in part, like we are bringing the home back to its roots. 

The family we bought the house from lived there for many years. It was their childhood home and their mother could no longer maintain the house so they decided to sell.  The condition of the home structurally was just fine but it needed some ascetic updating. 

The goal was to get the home renovated and rented within 3 months of purchasing it.  Jenny posted information about the home and farm on a few of her social media outlets and was able to connect with an interested family.  The kicker was they needed to move into a place by December 15th.  This cut my original timeline by half for the restoration. To say that achieving this timeline in the midst of my wife starting the new business, raising our three children, and maintaining my regular workflow was going to be tight is a huge understatement. That said, thanks to an amazing crew, we were able to get the house ready just in time.  The couple that has moved in is almost too good to be true. They have a huge passion for what we are doing with the farm and we couldn’t be more excited to have them as tenants. 

Check out a few of the before and after photos of the restoration. This home turned out better than expected.

 Master bed after

Master bed after

 Mater bed before - Located in the attic

Mater bed before - Located in the attic

 Walk-in closet in Master-bed - Windows are on order

Walk-in closet in Master-bed - Windows are on order

 Master bath finished

Master bath finished

 5085 Meredith Dr.

5085 Meredith Dr.

 Dining Room - We replaced panel on the wall and ceiling with drywall, removed the old linoleum, repainted, and replaced the lighting.

Dining Room - We replaced panel on the wall and ceiling with drywall, removed the old linoleum, repainted, and replaced the lighting.

 Family room 

Family room 

 We replaced the countertops, added a dishwasher, hardware, faucet, flooring, painted, and kept the vanity and cabinets.

We replaced the countertops, added a dishwasher, hardware, faucet, flooring, painted, and kept the vanity and cabinets.

 The vanity we used was all metal and porcelain. It was likely manufactured in the 50's and is still in pristine shape.

The vanity we used was all metal and porcelain. It was likely manufactured in the 50's and is still in pristine shape.

 Front Porch

Front Porch

 Bed before

Bed before

 Bedroom

Bedroom

 Main bath before

Main bath before

 Main bath after - We removed the old tile, added new drywall, vanity, lighting and flooring.

Main bath after - We removed the old tile, added new drywall, vanity, lighting and flooring.

 Master bath - There was a ton of unfinished space in the attic that we turned into an awesome walk in closet and bathroom

Master bath - There was a ton of unfinished space in the attic that we turned into an awesome walk in closet and bathroom

Microgreens

The work outside is basically over for the season, so now I have shifted my focus indoors.  Eric and I recently rearranged our basement so that we could build a nursery.  ( I have discovered it’s very important that I clarify that we built a nursery for our plants, not for children.  We realized this term was causing confusion...rightfully so.)  I know the nursery is bittersweet for Eric because his music room is now replaced by my plants.  All I can say is, I know I’m loved!

Since I love having young children in my life, I figured why not incorporate young plants into my life as well!  The nursery is already blooming with my new microgreen operation.   For those of you that aren’t very familiar with microgreens, prepare to have your mind blown.

Microgreens are young, and tender, plants that are used in foods to enhance color, texture, and/or flavor.  They are commonly used by higher end restaurants yet are also increasing in popularity amongst household kitchens.  Microgreens are great additions to salads, soups, sandwiches, smoothies, omelets, or as plate garnishes.  

Microgreens are essentially the shoots of vegetables, greens, and/or herbs that are grown until their cotyledons (first leaves of an embryonic seedling) and/or true leaves emerge.  They are commonly consumed with the stem as well as the leaf.  What’s so amazing about these plants is they taste just like their vegetable.  For example, radish micos taste just like radishes and pea shoots taste just like peas!

Microgreens are not to be confused with sprouts or baby greens.  They are all different from each other yet tend to be thought of as the same.  Sprouts are the youngest and smallest form of the early plant.  Microgreens are the next stage of plant development and baby greens form after microgreens.  That said, there is no clear definition that can easily distinguish micro from baby greens.  Essentially, micros are smaller than baby greens yet larger than sprouts.

Studies have shown that microgreens have a higher nutritional content compared to their more mature counterparts.  The added nutritional value is one major perk of these super plants!  While not all micro seeds have the same nutritional values, studies showed that on average microgreens had 5 times higher amounts of vitamins and carotenoids (helpful in decreasing the risk of disease in humans) compared to the more mature plant.

Who's ready to try some microgreens?!?!  Let me know if you are interested and I would love to have you over for some taste tests, or I can grow some specifically for you.

Your urban farmHer, Jenny

 

 The basement nursery

The basement nursery

 Trays of sunflower and pea microgreens

Trays of sunflower and pea microgreens

 Sunflower microgreens

Sunflower microgreens

 Pea shoots after 8 days of growth

Pea shoots after 8 days of growth

 Finished product of sunflower, radish, and pea microgreens

Finished product of sunflower, radish, and pea microgreens

Closing out the fall

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones!  We spent our time in Des Moines, split between both our families, and made some great memories.  One highlight for me was seeing my oldest two boys bowl for the first time.  It was a hit!

The craziness of the land prep for the farm has settled down.  We basically have the land ready to hibernate over the winter.  Here are the last few things we accomplished in order to be as prepped for spring as we can be:

After the sod was pulled, Eric and our neighbor Lucas cut down a total of three trees (one on the plot, one in the front yard, and one of the neighbors trees).  Getting those trees down really enhances the growing area and decreases a good amount of shade cover.

The final task we accomplished with the land was spreading 20 cubic yards (20 tons) of compost. Moving “dirt” is never a fun task, but getting the compost spread is essential for the soil health. Luckily, I had a good crew to help with the task!  With the 20 cubic yards we were able to get roughly an inch of coverage over the whole growing area.

There were some areas on the plot where we were unable to get the sod pulled.  It was very compacted and the sod cutter was just not able to get the sod cut.  We think those areas were so compacted due to the fact that the previous owners had an auction before moving out and there were some heavy trucks on the plot.  We put tarps over the remaining sod so that it will be killed by the spring.  We should have no problems getting rid of that sod when we till the plot this spring.

Now I feel like we are in the “hurry up and wait” stage for the garden.  That said, there are still a lot of things in the works.  I recently started the microgreens operation in our basement, Eric is busy flipping the house, seed catalogs are pouring in (yay!), and we have some exciting news about the growth of the farm to announce soon!

Get out and enjoy this great weather before the snow flies (again).

Your urban farmHer (and proud University of Iowa alumni), Jenny

 

 

 Uncle Jon - Oliver's bowing mentor

Uncle Jon - Oliver's bowing mentor

 1 man + 1 chainsaw = Bliss

1 man + 1 chainsaw = Bliss

 The never ending pile

The never ending pile

Happy Meleagris gallopavo day!

Bonus points to you if you knew that Meleagris gallopavo is the scientific name for turkey!  Partial bonus points if you googled Meleagris gallopavo and discovered what it meant!  

Turkey day is upon us so it seems only fitting that I give some shout outs to those people that have been integral parts to the start up of Dogpatch Urban Gardens...

Big thanks to:

Eric - While technically DUG is my personal business, this could have never happened without my amazing husband. He has given me full support and the confidence to start this adventure. He has done so many things during the infancy stages of DUG. He's my business mentor, website creator, handy-man, free laborer, networker, and even childcare while I have farm work to get done.

Dad - Thanks for being Eric's copilot on the walk-in cooler journey. I hear Melvern, Iowa is beautiful this time of year!  Thanks for your labor as well as input on the business end of things. I really appreciate your knowledge and input!

Mom - Thanks for your willingness to help out with my little rugrats. They love the time they get to spend with you and I love being able to get work done without a 7 weeker, 2 and 4 year old by my side!

Lucas, Adam, &, Kendal - One thing I love about our neighborhood (the Dogpatch) are our neighbors. People here help each other out and we've benefited first hand from the work from our Piekenbrock crew. Lucas, Adam, and Kendall have all contributed by getting their hands dirty and lessening our load. I am very grateful for all their have done. On that same note, big thanks to their better halves (Dida, Chantel, and Mel) for letting us steal them away from your families!

Hillary - Our amazing logo was designed by Hillary Fieldsend (http://hillaryfieldsend.com). She has been great to work throughout the design process.  My initial thoughts of what I wanted the logo to look like evolved throughout the design process and she did a great job of listening and creating the final product. 

Baby Lewis - Thank you for being a good sleeper and allowing me to get work done during your 2 hour intervals between feedings!

Dogpatchers - Thanks for reaching out on Facebook and introducing yourselves. I can't wait to meet all of you and get to know you better!

Those of your reading this blog - Thank you for your enthusiasm and support of DUG. It really helps to motivate me to grow the best possible product for you. I’m excited for spring to get here so I can supply you with fresh, local, and nutritious produce!

As you can imagine, Life is CRAZY hectic right now. That said, I couldn't imagine it any other way. I was driving behind a van yesterday that had a bumper sticker that spoke to me. The bumper sticker said, "If you think my hands are full you should see my heart."

Hope your hearts (and stomachs) are just as full as mine this thanksgiving!

Your urban farmHer, Jenny

 Quality time with Grandma

Quality time with Grandma

 Piekenbrockers: Lucas, Liam, & Dida

Piekenbrockers: Lucas, Liam, & Dida

 Piekenbrockers: Chantel, Zophia, & Adam

Piekenbrockers: Chantel, Zophia, & Adam

 Piekenbrockers: Kendal & Mel

Piekenbrockers: Kendal & Mel

 zzzz...

zzzz...

Oh my sod!

Dogpatch Urban Gardens is officially underway!  We closed on the house, as well as the land, on October 27th, and have our work cut out for us.

I like to think we bought land that conveniently has a house on it as well, but my husband, Eric, may disagree.  He is a Realtor and wanted to buy to property to restore and rent the house as well as start the urban garden.  So while we are prepping the land for spring, Eric is also working his magic in restoring the beautiful home to be rental ready by 2016 (if you know of anyone who may be interested in renting this property please let me or Eric know!) As of now there is a lot of plumbing work happening in the home, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of the restoration.

Since closing on the property there has been a lot of work happening here.  People in the area are very curious and it’s been fun to have people stop by and pick our brains about what we are doing to the land.  There’s a great buzz and excitement about this upcoming urban garden.

Eric and my dad recently rented a Uhaul and went on a fun journey to Malvern, Iowa to pick up our walk-in cooler.  We purchased the cooler off of Craigslist from the local town watering hole because they were upgrading and needed to sell their old one.  The cooler is larger than we expected (which is not a bad thing) but it will take some time to reassemble.  Luckily we won’t need to use it until produce is being harvested starting in the spring.

Our big undertaking as of now is preparing the land for spring planting.  When we bought the property the ¼ acre plot was all sod.  We rented (and by “we” I mean Eric) a sod cutter and Eric and some very helpful men in the neighborhood started pulling and rolling the sod (big thank you to Adam and Lucas for your help).  In about four hours they were able to make a healthy dent on the sod removal but we also realized this was a MAJOR job.  There were a lot of sore backs in that 4 hours of work, so I decided to hire the rest of the job out.  I found two men on Craigslist and they were wonderful.  They finished the job in a day and were great workers. 

All in all it took about a week from start to finish to have all the sod cut and rolled.  Throughout that week we had advertised “free sod” on Facebook, Craigslist, and put a sign in the yard.  We were able to give away all that sod in the week time.  It was great to give sod to people who needed it, but it also was so helpful for us for people to take it off our hands.  Win-win situation!  The free sod really brought our community together and it allowed us to meet many new people in our neighborhood!

There are varying philosophies on the best methods to remove sod (plowing, tilling, lasagna method are just a few) and they all have pros and cons.  Using a sod cutter to remove all that sod is a double-edged sword because we need it gone in order to plant our crops, yet it also removes precious organic matter.   In order to help rejuvenate the soil we also added 20 cubic yards (roughly 20 tons) of compost. 

Stay tuned for the next post to hear all about the joys of spreading 20 tons of compost!

Your urban farmHer, Jenny

 The men in my life ready to work

The men in my life ready to work

 5085 Meredith Drive

5085 Meredith Drive

 The walk-in cooler unloaded into the garage

The walk-in cooler unloaded into the garage

 The infamous tool we hope to never use again

The infamous tool we hope to never use again

 Never too young to roll sod

Never too young to roll sod

 FREE SOD

FREE SOD

It's All Happening

I have decided to make the plunge and follow my dream of running a sustainable urban garden! This is happening in the midst of having my third child, Lewis Jon Quiner, I am creating the new business and couldn’t be more excited about it.  We have had three children in the past four years, so my husband and I realize that we embrace chaos.  That said; why not make life even crazier by starting a new business in the midst of everything else! 

Our family recently bought land in our neighborhood (which is affectionately called the Dogpatch) and I am creating an urban garden that will grow produce and supply local products for the Des Moines community.  We decided to name the garden, “Dogpatch Urban Gardens” in large part because of the neighborhood (I’ll share the neighborhood’s naming origin for a different D.U.G post) but also because of my love of dogs! 

The D.U.G. produce will be available at farmers markets, local restaurants, and with a little luck I will be constructing building a right here on the farm to distribute produce straight from our on site farm stand.

My goal is to make this a destination for residents to come throughout the growing season. I love to talk about gardening, as it has always been a passion of mine, and am happy to welcome you on to the garden any time.

This newest endeavor will be an amazing journey for me as well as my family. I am doing this to create something more for the already amazing community that I live in, but also enrich my family’s values, and create a sense of what life can be like when we work directly for the food that we eat. I can’t wait to see my boys pulling weeds and eating fresh food in the fashion that food was intended to be consumed: straight from the dirt to all of our tables. 

Throughout this journey I will document the process and share with all of you. I am sure there will be ups and downs along the way but I can’t wait to dive in and contribute to the community.  Your support throughout this journey is greatly appreciated!

Stay tuned to learn more about Dogpatch Urban Gardens via the D.U.G. Blog.

Let’s Grow!

Your urban farmHer, Jenny

 From Top to Bottom: Oliver 4 - Eric (dad) - Walter 2  - Jenny (mom) - Lewis 1 mos

From Top to Bottom: Oliver 4 - Eric (dad) - Walter 2  - Jenny (mom) - Lewis 1 mos

 Monroe and Callie Quiner

Monroe and Callie Quiner

 We're located just North of Beaverdale on Meredith in between Beaver and Merle Hay Rd.

We're located just North of Beaverdale on Meredith in between Beaver and Merle Hay Rd.

 What real family life is like at the Quiner's.

What real family life is like at the Quiner's.

 Here are the boys working with Dad to pull up the sod to make way for the new garden.

Here are the boys working with Dad to pull up the sod to make way for the new garden.