Friday, April 29, 2016

Thanks to everyone who came out to our open house. We had a great turnout. Folks are so complimentary about the appearance and health of our plants, our wide selection and how good the shop smells! Several customers congratulated John on his retirement which really tickled him. It's great having him here to help. An extra pair of hands makes the work go much faster.

Several people asked me if I'm ready for Landis Valley.  Not yet, it I'm working on it. It's a tremendous amount of preparation, but it's nice for us as we see returning customers there each year, too. And it introduces us to people in the area who are not familiar with the farm. The Herb Faire is on Friday and Saturday May 6&7 from 9am to 5pm. John will be here at home, so the farm is open our regular hours 9-5 both days. Stop by and visit us.

In front of the greenhouse, we have a big patch of old-fashioned clove pinks with a delicious spicy sweet fragrance. They are budded up and will bloom soon when the sun returns. Today I noticed a round, clear patch in them. At first, I thought Lucy had been rooting around. On closer inspection, I saw it was a rabit's nest. I'm surprised the bunny didn't choose the thyme walk, which has better cover. At least the babies can appreciate the wonderful smell.  Now we must keep Lucy away.

On a dry morning, I harvested some early herbs for drying. Lovely tarragon, oregano, catnip, thyme and some mints. These herbaceous plants can be cut back one third to one half and will recover quickly.

Mother's Day is generally considered our last frost date. You can plan to start planning annuals then. However, I recommend waiting longer to put basil in the ground. It likes nighttime temperatures consistently in the 50's and we're not there yet. Be patient- if it's not warm enough, the basil will soit and sulk till it warms up.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What a start to spring! As I'm writing this, it's snowing. Forsythia, redbud, and daffodils all blooming and covered with snow. This morning, as we walked the dog, John asked if this would hurt plants in the gardens. Since it's just perennials that are up, the answer is no. And actually, it's cold temps rather than snow that does damage. Even with lows in the 20s, the plants' roots are well insulated underground. I did have to discourage people from planting last weekend. Annuals and even perennials that haven't been hardened off aren't likely to survive a hard freeze. The people with major problems are orchardists with fruit trees blooming. Not much you can do there, unfortunately.

The greenhouse is full and things look really nice. I haven't moved the perennials outside yet and the extra week or so has things really growing and sizing up. Hoping for moderating weather this week.

Even though it doesn't seem like spring, I can tell how the season is moving along. This week, I seeded my last batch of plants. I start with the first batch right after the holidays and the numbers gradually increase through March and then slow down into April. There aren't many flats of seedlings waiting to be planted anymore. The only perennials left to divide are two late varieties so planting will soon be done.

Someone mentioned Landis Valley recently and that's only a month away! The next thing we're preparing for is our spring open house which is Friday and Saturday April 22 and 23 from 9 to 5. All our plants are in stock then and the shop is full of fragrant body care products, dried herbs and spices, garden items and books, unusual gifts and lots more. We hope you can stop by and visit.

Last week a couple stopped by to look at plants and ask a few questions. The wife mentioned that her husband had retired the week before. I said, "So did mine." I called John over from his work outside and they had fun comparing notes. Both had plenty to keep them busy.

It's nice having a helper. John's getting a lot of outside work done (at least before the snow.) Plus, he's doing things like tagging plants that frees me up to do more planting.

Both greenhouse toads have decided to go back into hibernation until winter is really done.