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It’s May!!It’s May!! That Gorgeous Holiday!

With thanks to Alan Jay Lerner and the musical Camelot!

Welcome to the madness of May!!! We’ve had the wildly colorful weekend of Mother’s Day flowers and are now headed for the over-the-top Memorial Day weekend – the classic start of the New England planting season as well as the honoring of all those who have died while serving in our United States Armed Forces.  

Of course, that gardening work brings a summer full of beautiful flowers and lots of home-grown veggies…and we can help you trouble shoot all of the weird challenges that are sure to be part of the project.  One thing is sure, living systems (soil, plants, animals or human) need care and attention for best results!  We ask a lot of our farms and gardens so it’s only fair that we learn what it takes to help those farms and gardens thrive!!  After all (from my personal perspective!) that’s what makes the whole project fun!  

Our Greenhouse and Side Yard have come to life with all kinds of vegetable and herb starts, annuals, perennials, nursery stock, fruit trees and bushes (some known and some not so well known) … something to bring every gardener’s dream to life. Just this past week alone, we brought in 5 different loads of plants!!  

A word about our suppliers…they’re as local as we can manage to make them.  Our main veggie (and pack flower) farmer is in New Braintree and his veggie starts are the same varieties that he puts in to his own fields for peak production.  You may not recognize all of his varieties, but all have been tested in our local growing conditions and have been selected for best production under standard management. One of our perennial and flower vendors is in Townsend and does a superb job with all of the color crops.  Our nursery stock is coming in from Pride’s Corner in Connecticut.  You can check out their website here.. If you see something on the site (and it’s still available!!!) then we can try and bring it in for you – ask at the counter.  We bring in our unusual fruiting shrubs from Hartmann’s Plant company and our bare root fruit trees (truly superb starting plants – check them out!) from Adams County Nursery.  Bare root trees are only available for two more weeks and then we’ll pot them on and have to price them accordingly. Between the bare root trees and the other sources we’re carrying peaches, pears, apples, plums, cherries, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, lignon berries, figs, bananas, gingers, honeyberries, cranberries, paw paws, persimmons and a few I’m sure I missed!!!  

And then there are the natives, both trees and shrubs along with the perennials.  The list is too long to post!  And finally – we have a small local farm doing some custom growing for us for the unusual tomatoes and peppers, already inoculated with the right kind of microbes and ready to go – with hopes to expand the offerings from them as time goes by.  They’ll be bringing their plants in for Memorial Day weekend…    

On top of all those outside plants, we’ve even replenished our houseplants – truly something for everyone ☺

Some key things to remember before planting:

Soil temperature is NOT air temperature and soil temps are much more important overall.  A whole lot of our key veggie plants need soil temps over 50 degrees – or even higher.  Basil loves warm soils and will sulk mightly in soil temps lower than 55 degrees.  Tomatoes and cukes, watermelons and squashes, peppers and eggplants all need those warmer soil temps.  Peas, cabbages, broccoli, lettuces, onions all can tolerate much cooler temps and actually start to fail as soil temps close in on 80 degrees (in July!! Not now!!).  Every time we have a rain event, the soil temp cools (get a soil thermometer and check this out for yourself – it can be fun to document these kinds of changes) and the more rain we get the cooler the soil becomes.  That’s one of the reasons that a heavy rain event can cause so much unexpected damage.  Those heavy rains can also close all of the soil’s pores so no oxygen is available to the roots AND can leach a lot of readily available nutrition away from the roots.  Lots to be aware of in heavy rain events!!!!

A quick word about fertilizers, composts and the nutritional needs of plants…

Thought 1: There are no ground fairies putting fertilizer below root systems – concentrate on keeping the established top-down soil feeding system that exists in natural systems as clean as you can after initial bed development. That initial development is when you work the core minerals as deep as you can manage – and then you never rototill again!!!  Let the systems stabilize!

Thought 2:  Compost is not fertilizer.  Compost is only as good as the feedstock the makes it up.  How well are the cows being fed and managed?  How diverse is the mix of organic materials?  Is the compost tested?  Have extra minerals been added to add real mineral vitality?  This is one of the reasons that we’re carrying Vermont Compost’s products.  They really care and test to prove it…  Compost can add great water holding capacity and some soil structure if the soil’s microbes convert it into a friable blend that holds both water AND oxygen.

Thought 3:  Mineral fertilizers like Pro-Gro, combined with alfalfa meal (both a bacterial and a fungal growth agent!) and Azomite (a micro-mineral paramagnetic clay) can prep almost any garden for success.  There are all kinds of fertilizers of course and we can walk you through the options to find out what’s best for you.  There have been more than a few fascinatingly specific garden fertilizer challenges that have come through the store in the last few weeks – we look forward to hearing about yours!

Now onto the next classes that will start up again at the end of June – just too much happening right now to hold any right now…

June 22: 10:00-11:30 am - Working with Foliar Sprays

 ($30/person includes leaf inoculants) Foliar sprays can kill insects and diseases directly, but they can also be used to prevent problems from developing and can directly increase the base line health of your plants. Class includes enough foliar support for you to spray a gallon when you get home. Limit 12

June 22: 1:00-2:30 - Growing Quality Cannabis Part 2: Pre-flower production.  Here’s the key turning of the season so that you can learn how to expand and strengthen bud quality.  Bud quality – as well as quantity are (of course!!!) the whole point behind growing the plant in the first place!  This information can also be translated for superb (and tasty!!) production of tomatoes, cucumbers and other high energy demanding veggies.

August 17: 1:00-2:30 Growing Quality Cannabis Part 3: Harvesting the crop correctly.  Learning the technicalities of drying down the crop, finessing the storage of the buds so that they don’t lose quality and you can still enjoy your harvest in the depths of winter.

We look forward to seeing you at the store! It's May!! It's May!!

The Good Earth

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