Dude Ranch News: Planting Seeds, Eating Dirt

Haberman gardeners have completed their first major planting at the Dude Ranch. Potatoes, brussels sprouts, onions, broccoli, mustard greens, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, radishes and beets are in the ground.

For our youngest Dude Ranchers, planting was cool, but eating dirt, collecting eggs, picking dandelions, and digging in freshly tilled soil was far better.

dirt in mouth  collect eggs
Teaching kids how to garden is a key part of the Dude Ranch. By putting seeds and shovels into their hands, we are helping accomplish a primary goal of the employer-sponsored garden movement: lower healthcare costs by helping the next generation of consumers make healthier, more sustainable food choices.


Mother Earth News Starts Front-Lawn Company Garden

Putting their corporate lawn to good use, a team of employees from Mother Earth News and its publishing house broke ground this week for two large garden beds that will feature a mix of vegetables, flowers, paths and benches made of recycled materials, including old tree stumps.

Here’s a tip from the Mother’s team for first-time company gardeners: don’t break that campus lawn with shovels. Rent a sod-cutter – and reduce waste by sharing the sod with a co-worker who’s spiffing up his or her own lawn.


Dude Ranch Among Best HR Ideas for 2010

Great news from the Dude Ranch: Human Resource Executive editors have recognized it among the “Best HR Ideas for 2010.” The magazine’s competition recognizes HR programs and initiatives that make a difference for the profession and the workforce in a very unique way.
So says one staff writer: “Cake. Donuts. Cupcakes. Cookies. While junk food is usually offered in vending machines or served during meetings in many workplaces, things are different at Haberman, a public-relations firm. The company has set up an organic garden near the office and employees take turns working the land. . . .”
Ready to plant? We are. Stay tuned for field reports, tips and how-to’s, and stories from others with shovels and seeds in hand.


Dudestock 2009: Divine Weather, Gorgeous Gardens, Scrumptious Food

The Dude Ranch’s first-ever harvest party, dubbed Dudestock by a most-awesome Haberman client, seemed to mark perfectly the passing of summer to fall. Having a party outside in late September is daring. However, when Dude Ranch wants to show off, things have a way of working out.

Most of the Haberman gang and their families -- and a handful of expert gardeners who helped make the Dude Ranch a success, such as Greg from Riverbend and his wife, Mary -- joined the celebration. Our fantastic garden staff, Stephanie, Eric and the M.I.G (Men in the Garden) were also on hand to relax – not pull weeds!


This is a Prize?

That's what Anna Kruchowski said as she spread awfully stinky, but
oh-so-beautiful, compost at the Dude Ranch recently. She earned this
honor by submitting the winning name for our office composter, “Baron
Von Mülchhausen” (that’s Oscar for short).


The Baron is producing compost regularly now – about one bag a week
– which is an important part of what’s happening at the garden these
days. As tomatoes and fall lettuce, Swiss chard, green beans, carrots
and other root crops ripen, we’re putting many parts of the garden to
sleep for the winter. Working in compost now ensures healthy soil for
next year. Are you putting your garden to sleep? If so, what are you up


School's in Session: Saving the Taste of Summer

As predicted, we’re swimming in cukes, tomatoes, herbs and a variety of other late-summer crops, which called for a lunchtime learning session with Liz Morris Otto on saving the bounty for winter. 

Yummy recipes included: roasted cherry and roma tomatoes for pizza; crushed tomatoes for chili and soups; dried herbs for favorite savory dishes; sweet refrigerator pickles; and frozen brussels sprouts, beans and carrots and more. Good thing we had the class. Scads of veggies waiting to be claimed disappeared by day’s end. Have fun storing up for winter Habermaniacs! Check out a few food preservation ideas posted in our recipe section. Have any to share? Send them our way!


Abundance. . .and Leaf Spot

August is a fabulously busy time for Minnesota gardens. The Dude Ranch is no exception. We’ve added a second harvest on Thursday each week to keep up with production. Haberman employees do this harvest on their own, without a lot of hands-on oversight from Liz or Stephanie, our gardening experts. This week, we welcomed our youngest gardener yet: Lola Mai, one-month-old daughter of storyteller Molly Gaines.


Just Brainstorming: A Dude Ranch in Hawaii

In the Dude Ranch mailbag this week was a nice letter from Ray & Eloise, a Wisconsin couple who read about the Dude Ranch while vacationing. They write: . . . “came across this article in a Kona, Hawaii newspaper while we were in vacation last week and thought it may interest you in how far an excellent idea would travel.” Enclosed was a copy of the article, published in West Hawaii Today. Show of hands: who wants to pilot a Dude Ranch style employer-sponsored garden in Hawaii? Pineapples anyone? Thanks for the heads up Ray & Eloise!


Compost - From City to Garden

We're pumped about Haberman’s recent purchase of a NatureMill Plus Edition composter (sold by our client Green Depot) for our office kitchen. Starting this week, it will consume our apple cores and banana peels with ease; then we'll sprinkle rich compost on our Dude Ranch soil. A machine with such a noble purpose deserves a fabulous name. Always up for a contest, Haberfolk and their immediate family members submitted potential names last week. In a closed door meeting today, members of our "Sustain Team" narrowed the field to three candidates: Baron Von Mülchhausen, Oscar, and El Compostador. They are weighing their options now and will vote by the end of today. The winner earns bragging rights and the opportunity to spread the first batch of fresh compost on the garden. Do you have a favorite name? Any campaigning you do may influence the result.


Green Beans Galore

Healthy doses of sun and rain means we’re swimming in green beans -- 40 pounds of beans, to be exact. That’s enough green beans to equal the height of August, one of our garden helpers and a soon-to-be eighth grader.

August beans 

We were excited to harvest and deliver beans, cabbage, beets and onions to a local food shelf and a family in need. Haberman folk also planted more green beans and carrots for fall harvest. The beans were up within seven days. The carrots continue to be an incorrigible crop and have yet to show-off their frilly tops. Share with us your green bean recipes and carrot-growing tips!  Next week:  TOMATOES and CUKES!