Monday, April 27, 2009
The Pungo farms, Henleys and Bakers, were picked out by the end of the weekend but email messages from Tom Baker reassure customers that by mid-week the berries will be ready for another early harvest.
This is the best of the best of Buy Local - so don't miss it! If you need directions and info for any of the farms, go directly to the website: http://www.vbgov.com/file_source/dept/agriculture/Document/Strawberryguide.pdf for contact information and a map showing where all the farms and fields are located.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Our outside salad beds, where our poor lettuces had been battered for two days with strong winds, were well watered before sundown and covered with a light Reemay-type row cover.* Watering raised bed and container plants before a frost offers a little additional stress protection. The water drops release heat as they cool and freeze - that light coating helps prevent dessication of the leaves. The water also protects the roots which are more exposed in raised beds and containers than they would be in ground.
*FYI, after much searching, I finally found floating row cover, which also protects plants from insects such as squash borers and cabbage moths in a useful size (5x50') locally at Anderson's Greenhouse in Newport News.
On the good side of cold weather, I noticed some early season aphids on daylily clumps - perhaps the frost will knock those early insects out. I doubt it however, the aphids will hunker down in the center of the clump where the heat of the plant itself will protect them. (Yes, a growing plant really does release heat!)
In the unheated greenhouse, the temperature sank to the 40's. The trays of seedlings on the benches were tucked into the same kind of light cover. After listening to Dr. Andy Hankins (VSU) talk about farming projects using direct planted,unheated greenhouses (hoop houses), I believe next spring I'll move the benches out and put the seedling flats smack on the floor of the greenhouse, after the ground warms, so that their roots are protected by the warm ground . (sigh) It's just so much easier to work with the seedlings at waist height, rather than ankle height....
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Lettuce is remarkable easy to grow and transplants well. Even the small plants make delicious salads and with a cut-and-come-again planting, you can enjoy several salad harvests from each planting. The photo shows a flat of our romaine lettuce seedlings on their way out to the garden for planting. We like "Little Gem", a little cos type romaine that forms a small, compact head perfect for a personal salad. We also grow several of the lettuce/mesclun (greens) seed mixes so that we have a varied and lovely salad selection. Cooks Garden (http://www.cooksgarden.com) is one of the best suppliers of gourmet lettuce seed. I love that their lettuce and greens are organized not only by flavor but also by season.The little window box salad garden pictures is one we created to give as a gift. Despite the small size, the box contains a dozen assorted salad greens including several lettuces and arugula. By cutting the plants and allowing them to regrow, this little garden will supply a number of salads. You know, one of the most expensive "gourmet" items in the supermarkets these days are the pre-cut, "baby greens" in those fancy, unrecyclable containers. For just pennies, you can grow your own salad greens in any handy container from now until the truly warm weather arrives. To extend your lettuce season, move the container into the shade when the temperatures hit 80 and be sure to keep the soil gently moist.