seasonal produce

Winter Gardening

We would love to extend our growing season into the winter months.  With more infrastructure coming soon, we’ll ramp up for that.  But for now, we have a few rows under production and some that are overwintering produce.

Our society is so spoiled by having every want and whim at our beck and call in the grocery store that we have forgotten all about seasonality.  There are some vegetables that grow better in the cooler season or taste better after the first nip of frost.  These cooler season crops are such delicious treats to enjoy during the winter doldrums.

Though the winter garden is easier in the weeding department – as in really little weeding necessary – it still does demand some time an attention.

Like today.  Our first snow.  Not crazy but enough to cause some action:

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Sweeping snow off row covers

Weather was forecasted to be in the teens…brrrr.  Certainly cold enough to freeze plant cells and cause some serious damage.  To prepare for the cold, we placed multiple row covers over the beds with the last cover raised higher to create an air space between it and the other row cover.

The downside of the outer cover is that it is held up with our taller, fiberglass poles.  Not metal poles.  Metal poles are great.  They may collapse under the weight of snow, but once the snow is gone they spring right back to shape.  Fiberglass?  Nope.  They collapse under the weight and SNAP!

So, although the snow is pretty, gives some much needed moisture to the soil and even helps to insulate (and protect) plants beneath it, if it keeps snowing today, I’ll have to keep sweeping it off to keep the fiberglass poles from snapping.  You can see in the photo that some row covers have already torn under the strain.  They will have to be replaced after the snow melts.

Why go to all the trouble?  Because these delicious beauties lie underneath and are totally worth it!

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Pre-cold snap harvest – stocking up!

Who buys what?

Ever wonder what your peers buy? What others shop for at a market?

As a beginning farmer, I am fascinated by what people purchase, and admittedly, I use such information to help shape my next season’s crop plan.

So….our market data are all entered, and here is the summation of our two market seasons in terms of our top 10 (and then some) “best” sellers.

2013                                            2014

1. Beans                                     1. Lettuces

2. Cabbages                               2. Beans

3. Cukes                                     3. Beets

4. Beets                                      4. Onions

5. Lettuce mix                            5. Kale

6. Carrots                                   6. Carrots

7. Kale                                        7. Cabbages

8. Potatoes                                 8. Squashes

9. Tomatoes***                          9. Peppers (hot and bell)

10. Onions                                10. Potatoes

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11. Greens                                11. Tomatoes***

12. Hot peppers                      12. Cukes

13. Bell peppers                      13. Mesclun

14. Squashes                           14. Cherry tomatoes

15. Lettuces (head)                15. Radishes

***our main crop tomatoes succumbed to blight two years in a row or they might have been in the top 5.

Do these results surprise you?

What is it that you look for each season? Your “must have” item?

Crop planning for 2015 is underway. Now is your chance to have a say.

Thanks for your interest…

Warm Hearth Village

Tomorrow, PTHF will be at Warm Hearth Village (Blacksburg) with a variety of head and loose leaf lettuces, cabbages, beets, onions, kales, Swiss chards, spinach, and hothouse tomatoes, apples, peaches and blueberries from our friends at Chestnut Ridge Farm (Max Meadows).

We’ll start at the Karr activity center from 4-5 then we will move to the main Village Center and be setup up from 5:15 (we’ll do our best to be there on time this week) until 6:30.

Rain or shine. Remember, we are able to accept SNAP/EBT benefits. See you there!

Our last Pulaski market day

It is the last hurrah at the Marketplace, Pulaski. We have enjoyed, very much, selling at and attending this market. To celebrate the end of the season, I’ll be bringing:

– head lettuces
– loose leaf lettuces
– bell peppers
– hot peppers
– baby Nappa cabbages
– mixed greens (joy choi, mustard, kale, chard)
– green bean mix
– carrots
– radishes
– a sneak preview of our sweet potatoes (hello, Fall)!
– basil, bronze leaf fennel and lemon basil
– oh, yeah, some cherry tomatoes

I think that is it. See you soon!

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