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Managing Micro-organisms- Growing Well newsletter

So Many Changes!! Here’s our most recent and biggest change yet – we’ve become a direct distributor for the Poulin Grain Company! Why is this important? Because Poulin Grain offers a full line of premium (this means clean and fresh -with dates you can track) livestock and equine feeds coupled with a personalized service that you can access. We can arrange (through Poulin labs) for free forage testing and diet balancing for all kinds of livestock including goats, horses and ducks – our personal family of farm animals. We’ve used Poulin feeds for years so it was very interesting to see how deep and di- verse their line of feed actually is. In particular, make sure you check out the poultry feeds if you’re raising chickens – Poulin’s Egg Production Plus is probably one of the absolute best feeds for laying hens (we use it for the ducks as well – Khaki Campbell ducks lay as many eggs as a good chicken does) and has been used to restart lay for hens kicked out of lay by poor quality feed.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the store in a few weeks, you’ll find more changes the next time you visit. We have a magnificent new potting bench in the en- trance to the side yard – and we’ve reconfigured that space to become Long Branch – the garden center’s backbone with pots, stakes, garden décor, and all of those small but crucial pieces that make managing a garden so much easier. And – the plants are arriving within the next couple of weeks!!!

Now for a quick discussion on a not so fun series of changes.... Japanese Maples (and other trees and shrubs) and the massive snow damage from that intense mid-March deluge of HEAVY, miserable snow. We’ve had several people come in with either pictures or actual parts of their maples asking what can be done...Lots!!!! PLEASE don’t just cut them out! These plants are architectural gems with drama in almost any landscape but that drama has only been redirected not silenced!! Feel free to come in to the store with pictures or pieces and we can help you figure out the next steps you can take to help your tree recover.

Back to the fun – and the changes that come from managing micro-organisms. We’re talking Sourdough Bread (SB)! Did you know that SB contains higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than other breads. It also contains lower levels of phytate (an interesting word and concept worth looking at – but not in this news- letter!!) and therefore allows your body to absorb the nutrients it contains more easily than those in regular bread. The reason for all this positivity around sourdough is because the dough is created by a combination of yeast and bacteria growing inside a paste made of flour and water. Those microbes create their lifecycle inside the dough and leave the enhanced nutrition behind when the bread is baked. VERY COOL!!! So cool that we’re having a Sourdough workshop on April 1st – for National Sour- dough Day! Our friend Cheryl is bringing a wealth of knowledge and actual starters and doughs for you to work with – to find out just how much kneading is needed to get the right texture. Everyone will have a ball of dough to work with and will take home a rye starter.

And here’s a chance to change you’re yard – with fresh fruit! We’re offering a bare root fruit tree program at the end of April and wanted to provide a heads-up. You’ll be able to order in advance and then participate in a bare root planting program when you pick the trees up to make sure they get off to the best start possible. More details in the next newsletter but home-grown fruit is as real a goal as are homegrown eggs and veggies... Think of the possibilities!!

Here’s the next batch of workshops and, remember, if you don’t find what you need – be sure to ask. We are custom ordering all kinds of things.

April 1 10:00-11:30 Making Sourdough Bread ($20) on National Sourdough Day!! Cheryl loves fermented foods. The process as well as the enjoyment of con- suming them! In this interactive workshop you’ll learn all about the process of making sourdough bread – from a true rye starter (and you’ll go home with some) the stages, kneading (and you’ll actually knead some dough to get that classic elastic base for a good rise), to what it looks and tastes like. It should be a fun filled morning. (Limit 10) April 1 1:00-2:30 Making Raised Beds Really Work ($15) Raised beds (and LARGE containers!) are a boon to anyone who can’t (or won’t) get down on the ground and can be placed anywhere regardless of soil quality (or no soil at all) below the bed...But...a lot of raised beds don’t thrive and produce, especially after the first year. Raised beds are different from in-ground garden beds and there are techniques that will assure your success once you put them into practice. (Limit – 10) April 8 1:00-2:30 Creating Pollinator Gardens for Birds, Bees and Butterflies ($15) Bees, butterflies and birds are all fun to watch and critical to a healthy land- scape. Colorful meadow flowers make both the world and the garden go ‘round. It’s a feast for human eyes and helps the three B’s thrive. The health- ier and more diverse your flowers are, the stronger the bees and the butterflies will be. But – meadows don’t just happen. Annuals, perennials, natives and exotics – all have a place. Come and learn how to make the best of your color dollars.

And – on April 15th and 16th – Join us for our GRAND OPENING!!! More details to come of course but we’ll have local vendors, music, food, a vis- it from the The House Rabbit Network, tool sharpening and so much more. There will be all kinds of plants coming in including a pollinator corridor plug program. And – to top it off – TWO flower arranging programs (am and pm) with the same marvelous florist who helped us create those magnificent holiday arrangements at the Holiday Open House – some of you will remem- ber making them and everyone can check the Facebook page to see how they turned out. Stay tuned for more details – we think you’ll be as excited as we are!

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