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Let the Holiday Season Begin!

Let the Holiday season begin!!

(yes – we know the push started at Halloween but – tradition!!!!)

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day and weekend. The weather was decent (at least around here) after the Wednesday rain and travel was largely undisturbed.

Now we’re all looking forward to the winter holidays in their many and varied forms. You’ll find all kinds of holiday news below but…

First up – a late fall (or early winter) gardening thought… (feel free to skip ahead to a new recycle option for Christmas trees!)

Roses – So many of you bought roses this year! And now it’s time to protect them… Years ago, I learned a really easy way to mulch tea roses and have rarely lost one since. I have roses on several garden sites and this has worked everywhere… The idea came from Edmond’s Roses with some adaptations through time…

  • Wait for the ground to be frozen and night temps to be below freezing – the goal is to keep the ground frozen but not to great depth. This means that the timing is dependent on the wider weather pattern – I’ve mulched as late as early January and as early as the first week in November. This mulching is to hold the soil lightly frozen, and that keeps the roses from starting back in to growth too early (or too late – depends on how you read the winter temps…). The goal is NOT to keep the ground from freezing – non-frozen ground means that a weird heat surge in January can start the roses up and also allows for rodents to live nicely protected for the winter – not good!!!

  • Next, take pelletized sawdust animal bedding (not wood pellet stove pellets) and make a mound right over the crown of the rose about 6” high and as wide at the base as is needed to make the cone.

  • Then take chopped straw and pack it lightly around the cone and GENTLY water the mulch and straight down into the cone of pellets. I use warm water to speed up the knitting of the mulch to the pellets but cold water should work as well.

  • Walk away and forget it. The night cold will freeze the two together and will last quite neatly until you take it away in April. This is also easy to clean away in the spring and makes an EXCELLENT mulch elsewhere (not under the roses in case black spot spores have infected it). I use this as mulch for tomatoes on the sites where I use it.

A word about Animal Pellet Bedding (as opposed to the discussion of paper vs plastic covered shavings – and that’s a story!!!). Our farm has used pelleted animal bedding since Woody Pet came out years ago. Pellet bedding is a product that uses the same technology as the pellet stove pellets but it’s made of pine sawdust instead – and the pellet breaks down much faster. DO NOT TRY TO BURN THESE PELLETS!!!! The name has changed through time but the product is the same and is extremely useful. Our farm hosts ducks, goats and a thirty-year old Morgan mare. We use the pellets solo with the horse, mixed with mulch hay for the ducks and mixed with shavings for the goats. All are bedded well and are very healthy. The pelleted sawdust can get dusty so we sometimes add extra water (an easy fix and tells you how much urine it soaks up!) – but that same effect means that we have almost NO ammonia smell in our barn at any time.

And a word about Chopped Straw… “Raw” straw is the dry stalks of cereal plants after the grain and chaff have been removed – and there-in lies the rub. Raw straw is phenomenal for improving soil – earthworms love it and it cushions the heavy pressure of strong rains. Having said that – if the harvest wasn’t particularly clean then you’re going to get a bunch of wheat or oat seedlings in the straw and that can be a pain to weed out. Enter chopped straw… the raw straw is run through choppers and rollers to reduce the size of the straw (less likely to blow and easier to break down) and to clean out seed – no unwanted wheat!! The two kinds currently in the region are Mulch Master and EZ Straw. Either is an amazing product. I always have a bag on hand because it’s impossible to beat it for seeding a lawn, mulching a tomato, protecting a rose – you get the point!!

We have both pelleted animal bedding and chopped strawat the store – both are super easy to work with! And we can easily go through the basics of rose care when you stop in…really – we can!!!

Now back to the seasonal festivities 😊

First upwe have Christmas trees!!

AND a recycle option to go along with them!

Come in and pick your tree out. Take it home and enjoy the holidays – but keep the receipt! And then – by January 15th, 2024 – bring your tree back to the store (stripped of ornaments, NO tinsel!! and with your receipt), and we’ll take it back. Then, we’ll make sure it gets to a deserving herd of goats. There are several herds in the area that can use the trees – including our own. The goats take one look at the tree and start stripping it down to the wood – no twig or bark is left unstripped. Once stripped of food value, the trees make a great bonfire during burn season. This is a win-win-win situation for sure!

Next there are the wreaths…

We had our first wreath decorating workshop last weekend and it was a blast! There’s still some room in the next few dates (call the store – 978-632-0991 to reserve your space). There will also be decorated wreaths available for you to pick from. You can even put in a custom wreath request, and we’ll do our best to make it happen – within the parameters of the decorations and ribbons on hand!

Wreath Decorating – limit – 8 decorators per session

Sat ,12/2 am and pm, Wed, 12/6 pm, Sat, 12/9 pm, Sun,12/10 am

$48/wreath – ornament bar additional. Take a 12” balsam wreath and make it your own!

10:30-11:30am and 1:00-2:00pm

Then there are the rosemary trees…

We’ll provide a rosemary plant and teach you to shape and then decorate it with small ornaments. We’ll also teach you how to try and get it through the winter (hint – it LIKES cold – just not freezing – temps!) We’ve heard from several people that their trees from last year are still thriving so it really is possible to grow rosemary in the winter in New England – and – they look GREAT dressed up for the holidays 😊 (call the store – 978-632-0991 to reserve your space).

$40/tree –Saturday, 12/9 10:30-11:30am

And – Gifts for all!

When you’re in the store – don’t forget to check out all kinds of gifts for absolutely everyone on your list – two footed and four footed. We’ve got a colorful mix of locally produced products mixed tastefully with a collection of carefully curated gifts. You’ll also find all kinds of bird feeders, dog toys, cat toys, rabbit, guinea pig and chinchilla toys, - in other words - treats for all kinds of animals including horses (low sugar too!), goats and mini-pigs (who knew there were treats for mini-pigs?!?!).

And last – but totally NOT least!!!

Thank you for your support of The Good Earth this past year!

You’re Invited to our Second Annual Open House,

December 16th, 10:00am -2:00pm.

Several of our local vendors will be there for you to chat with, and we’ll have snacks and hot cider for all. It takes a community to build a community and The Good Earth is thankful for everyone who is helping us to build a community that supports healthy living systems of all kinds – plants, animals, people – and my personal favorite – garden soils! 😊

Come and join the party!! See you at the store 😊 978-632-0991

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