Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

A Few Seeds I'm looking for.....

If you didn't know we do take trades for seeds too......reciprocal of course with anything you might want from the Face Of The Earth Seed Bazzare. Here is a little of what we are seeking for future breeding projects.

These Carrots If bulk is offered I'll match with bulk of what you want!

Good round raddishes in a multitude of colors as well as long winter type raddishes

Good sized sweet well netted yellow muskmelons

Spinach of many types

Mustard greens

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Resume.......

Unfotunately being a farmer doesn't always make ends meet and ocassionally a job must be sought off farm to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately having a seven year work history working for yourself on a farm doesn't tend to get you hired anywhere for some reason, not to mention it definitely doesn't seem to get you hired doing something that you actually love that wouldn't necessarily feel like a job!

Yes the economy sucks. I get it. Yes, I don't have a long list of recent employeers you can call for verification exct. but surely theres got to be someone out there willing to hire me to do something for you or your business!

So, let me cover my qualifications, perhaps not in the most organized resume sort of way, but something similar anyhow.

I grew up on a tobacco farm In Pekin IN. I've been running farm equipment since the age of seven and I am proficient in cultivation, plowing, fertilizing, mowing, and planting and any number of other machinery driven jobs. I have a strong background in self taught plant breeding. I am an expert composter; both thermophilic and "cold" composting and I have an intense love for plants and animals and could be considered a professional seed saver.

I have tons of experience in plant propigation both from seed and cuttings including grafting, cloning, root cuttings, air layering, rooting and more. I have mixed potting soils using both professional materials as well as homemade compost and locally sourced sustainable ingredients. I have five years of experience in worm composting as well.

I have experience with woodland management and am proficient with a chainsaw and am familiar with trail making. I also am proficient at maintaining and increasing woodland bio-diversity such as ginseng and yellow root, both of which I have raised from seed to fruition. I know my local flora and fauna and have a bit of experience with grading timber and maintaining a stand with a good mixture of species.

I have experience with a number of different types of livestock including poultry of all types, pigs, and also goats. I have incubated eggs, raised poults, and even made my own feed from corn I grew and harvested on my farm in conjunction with other crops. I have butchered a few hundred chickens, turkeys, rabbits, guineas, quail, and squirrel at this point in my life; safely, quickly, and proficiently.

I have a strong connection to my community and the wider agriculture community via my blog at and also my messageboard at, both of which are focused on education of the general public. I also serve on the board of Washington County Artisans and Farmers as Vice President and I am working with the board of Old Settlers Days to improve the festival. I have done historical reenactments as a Yeomen farmer at both Old Settlers Days and Becks Mill. I am a former board member of Washington County Farmers Market and a previous member of Pierce Polk Vol. Fire Dept.

I have a lot of customer service experience due to my several years of working at farmers markets. I also have a strong background in advertising as I am the primary driver of business to both my produce business and also to my seed company. I also work on the marketing comitte of the Washington County Artisans and Farmers market. I am proficient at contacting newspapers and driving media attention as well as designing and distributing flyers and brochoures.

I have some carpentry skills due to the necessity of needing to build barns and animal pens on the farm as well as house repairs, building greenhouses, and generally making due with what I have on hand. I have some chemistry experience from making wine and soap by hand from scratch.

I have experience with conducting education and giving tours as I have done for several years to large groups here on my farm. I am excellent at giving presentations to large groups of people due to my many speaking engagements at local social clubs including the Rotary Club, Chamber Of Commerce, and Master Gardeners.

I have written articles for many publications including, Lost River Market and Deli newsletter, Not Just Heasay News, and several blogs.

I'm a hard worker capable of picking up 75 lbs of weight at frequent intervals and up to 150 lbs. I can and have dug ditches, ponds, root cellars and holes to put plants in. I'm not afraid to get dirty and I am certainly not above or new to mucking out a barn or pig pen. I am proficient with a wheelbarrow and a maddock. I have tons of landscaping experience including design including permaculture.

Oh yeah, I also volunteer to play Santa Clause on a yearly basis for my town Christmas celebration as well as the fire dept. Christmas celebration.

This is just a small sample of what I have done as a farmer over the past seven years, if this skill set might match your job or an employer that you know of please contact me at:

Alan Bishop

5604 S. State Rd. 60

Pekin IN 47165

or call


Bishops Homegrown 2012 CSA

Hey local peeps, heres your chance to join our CSA for 2012~

Bishop's Homegrown 2012 CSA
5604 S. State Rd. 60Pekin IN 47165

Introduction: Bishop's Homegrown is a small “eco-logically” grown farm in Pekin Indiana. We first started operating as an offshoot of my parents/grandparents former tobacco growing operation offering fresh produce, good plants, and compost all produced using traditional non chemical methods.. Much of our work in recent years has been focused on breeding and or collecting and replicating more nutritious and well adapted local plants and animals for the local/regional market and particularly catered towards low input farmers. From these enterprises we have seen much success and we have built an inventory of locally adapted – low input adapted plants and seed that is unmatched by any other in Washington County Indiana and likely by any in Southern Indiana in general.The Farm and Certifications:We feel that we are now in a position to be able to share these plants and their bounty more freely with the surrounding community as we have further modified our low input (no chemicals) production methods to fit a model which gives the greatest yield with the least amount of input.

In conjunction with the newly formed Washington County Artisans and Farmers market we would love to be one of the first blocks in the formation of a new local food shed! This is why we are offering a 2012 CSA program to interested locator consumers who want the freshest and best local produce grown with the least amount of chemical contaminants possible. This gives the consumer a chance to not only know where the produce that graces their table comes from but to also foster a relationship with the farmer and become more aware of the hows and why's of local food products. We are not organically certified but we are customer certified, meaning that we hope that you our discerning customers will take the time to come and tour our farm and fields over the years. We feel that this is far more “authentic” and meaningful than any government issued “stamp” of approval.

What We are Offering: Currently we are offering three membership options, first up is a general overview of all three plans: You receive Weekly Basket of Produce running from roughly May-Sept/Oct. Depending on climatic conditions and production conditions. This will run of the gammit of most commonly grown food crops as well as many rarities including some occasional fruit and berries. Discounts and first chance at bulk produce plus the perk of extra produce when available at no extra cost. 10% Discounts on other items such as heritage turkeys for Thanksgiving, seeds, plants, compost, and more. One turkey is included every Thanksgiving for family plan members. You will be expected to pick up your produce weekly on Saturdays from 8:00 Am - 12:00 Pm at Washington County Artisans and Farmers Market held in Pekin Park.

Perks of family plan: By signing up for a family plan you share with me in the risks and benefits of farming. Early in the season the basket may be sparse. Later on a rich abundance is expected which aught to more than compensate for the sparse weeks. Family plan members have my highest allegiance: You get my first of season vegetables before anyone else. And if there is just a tiny bit of your favorite crop left I will save it for you. If you have a favorite variety I may try growing it for you. You will also get the first chance to purchase any bulk quantities of produce we have on hand at a discount compared to farm stand prices. Obviously types of produce and amount thereof varies weekly. The family plan also includes one Heritage Turkey a year prepared specially for you for Thanksgiving.

Individual and couples plan: Couple and Individual plan members will also receive first and last of crop perks that don't go to market if there is enough quantity after the family basket orders are filled. Otherwise, they will receive all of the same produce, in lesser quantities than the family basket delivered with the same quality and care. They will also receive a 10% discount on turkeys, seeds, plants, and compost.

Prices are as follows:
Family Plan (4 people): $15.00 a week. Running from (roughly May/June-Oct) – 300.00

Couples Plan (2 people) $10.00 a week. Running for same amount of time.- 160.00Singles Plan

Individual plan $8.00 a week. Running for same amount of time. - 130.00

I can also customize plans if someone wants to talk about doing so. All plans can be paid a year in advance or up to April 30 of 2012. We may be able to work out a week to week billing plan as well. The current prices will be somewhat discounted for those who wish to join a year in advance as such forwarded cash helps us prepare greatly for the year ahead, the advanced pricing scheme lasts until December and is as follows:

Family 290.00
Couples 150.00
Singles 120.00

Make Checks Cash able to Alan Bishop and either visit us in person or mail to 5604 S. State Rd. 60 Pekin IN 47165.

Pot Belly Pigs as Homestead Hogs?


Winehead-Given to me by an old friend of my fathers who pulled up to the farm one day in a 1970 rusted out stepside truck; barefoot, cutoff shorts, no shirt, hair to his ass, beard to his chest, with this big boy in the back of the truck. He was on his way to a David Allen Cole concert and I traded him a bottle of Bishop's Homegrown Elderberry wine for him!

The Girls Pen

I'm sure there are gonna be an equal amount of both farmers and animal rights activists both reacting with the same indignant and ignorant thought to that statement!

"Potbellies are pets not food!"

Wrong. Potbellies have a long history of domestication for exactly those purposes in the Far East! As a matter of fact they are the "Heritage" homestead hog of Vietnam and Korea!

We had been discussing raising pigs for meat for the house and possibly for sale for quite some time and I never could decide which breed I really wanted to go with, like all things I leaned hard towards creating my own uniquely adapted landrace.

I had a number of considerations to look at when selecting a type based around my production practices. Mostly I wanted the following:

-Efficiency. How quickly do they grow? How much do they eat? Can they forage?

-Cleanliness and Sloth: One thing I hate about most hogs I see even on pasture farms is their laziness. I want an active forager that's up doing stuff, checking things out, and generally being a "pig"....rooting around.

-Litter numbers and mothering instincts: I want a fair number of piglets come breeding time but I don't need 20 each from each sow I have. Eight or nine would be more appropriate and have a higher rate of survivability. I also wanted good mothering instincts. I don't want mothers that abandon piglets or roll over on them.

-Demeanor: I prefer to eat a pig not the other way around.

-Size: For home use I don't need a huge pig as I don't want to have to freeze or smoke (though I will build a small smokehouse soon to go with the new greenhouse and rootcellar!) several hundred pounds at a time. Meat on the hoof to me is far more secure than meat that is preserved via freezing.....even cured it has to be used in a certain amount of time. It's also a whole lot easier for me to sling around 150 lbs during butcher as opposed to 300 or 400 lbs.

I settled on the potbelly for all of the above reasons..........and because I got three of them for free from some local friends.

......And a fourth from another old friend.

My plan is still to create a landrace which will be made up of Potbelly (2 strains) and American Guinea Hog along with genetics from any other small breed pig which might suit my fancy in the coming years, Kune Kune would be nice but is nearly impossible of prohibitively expensive to afford at the moment.

My most important consideration is good foraging skills as I have plans to create some pasture areas for the pigs (ducks, turkeys, exct.) over the coming months as well giving them some amount of "free" range with the addition of some electric fencing. One thing I would really like to do is breed the pigs in January or so (both sows I currently have) and raise about 6 for meat the first year. I'd like to fence off a couple acres of Amanda Palmer and turn the pigs and turkeys loose to forage in the fall as the corn dries down (easier to take the pigs to the corn than the other way around) allowing them to forage and strip the corn plants, root up the field and of course fertilize it alongside the turkeys leaving nothing left for the following spring but to take down the fence and replant Amanda Palmer corn for animals! This eliminates plowing, fertilizing, hand harvesting, shucking, and grain storage and gives good, fresh, farm raised pork! Of course in time pasture stips can be established as well alongside the fruit and nut trees where the pigs can be actively encourage to eat low quality fruit as well as windfall fruit while improving the soil and plants on those terraces.

Of course there are other economic advantages of raising my own pigs on farm as well, extra piglets can always be sold to those with a similar interest or for raising as housepets and extra fatening hogs can be taken to butcher for sale to customers. Another reason we leaned hard on potbellies (and hopefully soon guineahogs) is for their lard content. These days lard is oft overlooked as unhealthy in the Western diet but it has been consumed for thousands of years and can't be any worse than some of the GMO based vegetable oils in the long run. Of course as well lard can be used to make a fantastic soap and since we just happened to recently venture into that business we will certainly make use of any farm byproducts we can get including the lard.

I spoke to an old family friend the other day while collecting persimmon germplasm for next season who told me his family used to raise potbellies and potbelly derrivatives for food and he spoke highly of them. The only real difference as I understand is you don't really get bacon of them which is fine with me as my main interest is ham, lard, jawl bacon, and pork chops as well as a whole roasting small pig for get togethers! (what other farm do you know you can go to and eat roasted potbelly, drink homemade elderberry wine, buy seeds, eat rabbits, eat duck, buy homemade soap, homegrown produce and discuss philosophy?)!

He also told me a cool trick for clearing up lard, which is aparently yellow when rendered, drop a few potato slices into your pot and it will pull out the impurities and turn the lard white!

Some of you may have seen some of the pics in this article before for an article I wrote for a magazine in the UK and posted on the blog before about creating hog houses. For those who are interested in getting into potbellies on a budget, definitely consider building out of pallets as they are freely available material that readily ends up in the landfill and make good sturdy enclosures. The pigs haven't even attempted to escape at this point!

Also, be sure to check out Wind Ridge Farm in Kentucky for more information on raising potbellies for meat.

Enoch's Garden

A "Tire Garden" proper....

If there is such a thing as a proper tire garden!

Back in the 70's tire gardens were all the rage as the back to land folks made use of what sources they had due to a lack of money, jobs, or desire to be a part of capitalism (or perhaps all of the above). I've seen a ton of articles about tire gardening in old Mother Earth News Magazine that my friend Karen Padgett passed on to me but somehwere way back then the idea got dropped.....

Likely, as with most things, I'm sure some eco trend probably contributed to this as well as yuppy folks deciding they didn't like the looks of the black rubber monsters surrounding their be honest I had never even considered doing it until this year.

While working some business deals with a neighbor he showed me his tire garden. A few rows here and there spread out throughought his quarter acre garden filled with asparagus, garlic, beans, potatoes, squash and some various other crops. I still wasn't sold on it yet, I mean afterall what of the health and eco-logical consequences of all that rubber and heavy metal....I began my research and learned that the chemicals and heavy metals are actually so tied up in the rubber matrix that they don't present any problems until reduced to tiny particles.....I began hauling tires and compost from the neighbors farm, truck load after truckload!

Lots of hard manual labor latter I had a nice little tire garden on the hill behind the house and a second smaller one next to the drive.

Why tires you might ask?

Let me explain my theories and thoughts.

The tires warm the soil quite a bit earlier in the season than even an ordinary raised bed giving you a couple weeks early planting in spring and late harvest in the fall.

The tires can be used on sections of ground not suited to ordinary cultivation such as steep hilsides, areas of poor soil, and rocky ground opening up new opporotunities for planting that did not exist previously.

No till planting; part of what makes this work and proved its value to me was the no till method of planting. Essentially you are creating a nice habitat to culture useful micro-organisms which maintain fertility as long as you start with a good quality compost and top dress a little over winter and in the spring. In between the tires I leave a nice 2 foot walkway which I cover with straw and in time I will build these row centers up in every other row by applying straw through the growing season and compost in the off season, after a few years of building up humous in this way I can plant the center rows to low impact crops such as strawberries, onions, and garlic nearly doubling the productivity of the given pieces of ground.

Most of the articles I read in Mother Earth advocated cutting off the outside flap of the tires but I decided to keep them as the one on the bottom will help to retain moisture in dry weather.

The only down side of the tires is the high heat of summer which I handle with the straw in between rows by simply piling it high enough to cover the edges of the tires, even then the tires get dry, this of course could be remidied with some drip irrigation on the upper slope of the hill above each row of the tire.

Cover crops could really expand the soil line beneath the tire, Daikon raddish would be a great crop which could help to break up the hard ground underneath the tires and make some water channels as well as pull up nutrients otherwise not available in the tires.

We decided to name the garden "Enoch's Garden" in honor of Enoch and his wife Sarah who are credited on the deed to the land as the original owners of this farm and builders of the barn that I recently renovated. It is of course also an homage to my interest in Gnosticism as well. By next year we hope to have a fence built around the garde to preclude access to the ducks and turkeys. At the moment we are building u strawberry stocks, garlic, multiplying onions, walking onions, and potatoe onions there as well as about 50 varieties of garlic. We will also be overwintering our turnip and kale and collards there for seed production next season.

This past summer we grew a number of crops in the tires including late tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, sweet potatoes, potatoes, summer squash, winter squash and a few others.

Some messageboards of interest to agricultural explorers.

Well as cool weather sets in I'll find myself with a bit more time to set behind this screen and type here on the blog as well as the ever growing Homegrown Goodness Messageboard where the conversations are already heating up with talk of many new breeding projects and seed trades as well as homesteading skills and more.

I'd be remiss however if I didn't also mention a couple other boards I thought my readers might enjoy starting with my buddy Dean Slater (Darthslater to those in the know) owner and operator of both PKS Seeds as well as The Tomato Garden messageboard the sister site of our very own homegrown goodness messageboard!

Darth will be growing out some of our toughest selections on some of his toughest land next season, a project which you can follow on Homegrown Goodness.

I should also mention that Rob Wagner and Tom Wagner of New World Seeds And Tubers have a new messageboard as well Here

Free Download: Post-Apocalyptic Personal & Family Security Book

Dear Prepper friends,

If you really want to be ready and you desire to help others get ready then please give me a hand getting the word out there about this one!

Our good friend Bill Drake from (Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco, International Cultivators Handbook) has recently published a new ebook which will go a long ways in helping all of us prepare for the Shit to Hit!

The book is free of charge to you and free to distribute under the Creative Commons license and provisions in the document.

For those who would prefer to download the document please check this link at Shit Hits The Fan Blog

Theres a ton of useful information covered in this 76 page word document, much of it you will one day find useful.

Here is the introduction:

I’ve been traveling and working around the world as a writer all my life and have seen the world go from relatively safe in the 40s and 50s to incredibly dangerous today. Early in my travels I began collecting US and foreign government and non-government security documents for personal use on the premise that if anybody knew all the tricks of the personal security trades it was government & NGO agencies. And it’s true – everything that anybody needs to know about how be secure at home or on the road has been published at one time or another by the government. Problem is that none of this critical information is available in one place; in fact, most of the information is difficult to impossible to find even through the internet.
That’s why I’ve taken the best of the information I've been able to find over the years, tried to edit it for clarity, and brought it together in one place as an electronic resource for easy access. This handbook contains information gathered from the government military, diplomatic and intelligence agencies, international non-governmental organizations, and even foreign governments including Israel and the UK. In short, I’ve tried to include as much as possible of what I think may be helpful about how to guard your person, home, family and property from the kind of violent chaos that all agree will follow an apocalyptic financial and social collapse of the US.
While I've lived and worked in a lot of different places, I'm a writer, not a security expert. - although I've been in some situations where I've wished I knew a lot more than I did then! That's why I've spent a lot of time the past few years preparing my home and property for what I believe is the coming breakdown of American society and the accompanying descent into mob rule and rampant criminality directed against anyone that owns any property perceived as worth having. That's also a big part of why I wrote this Handbook - to gather the knowledge of experts, usually writing anonymously in the public domain, and to create a useful resource for individuals and families who either want to create a more secure environment in their present home, or who are thinking about relocating to a more secure environment before TSHTF.
Please use this resource as a beginning reference point for your own research into how to make your home, yourself, and those you love more safe and secure in the increasingly likely event of society-wide breakdown of the rule of law. I could sling around a lot of self-protective lawyer talk here about not being responsible for any decisions you make based on this information but let's just say that the following information is offered in good faith but that each of us is the ultimate arbiter of our own life and fate. Please use this information as a starting point for your own research and don't just assume that it is either complete or accurate, or that it applies in your particular case. If you can't agree with that please disregard everything from this point forward. I wish you good fortune and safe passage through the terrible storms that many, including me, believe lie just ahead.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Face Of The Earth Seed 2012 Seed Bazzar is up!

Check it out Here!

Expect a myriad of new blog posts soon! Finally catching up on some things that needed be done!