Amity Highland Ranch and Ebenezer Hill Gardens LLC

  (Belmont, New York)
Heirloom tomato plants and sustainably-grown organic produce
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We're in a state of suspended animation!

Due to family health issues we are selling only beef and eggs this year (2014) and are not marketing our plants or produce.  I hope to renew our market garden activity next year.  Meanwhile, vote with your food dollars for the kind of world you want to create:  buy local!
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Last date to order is March 18!

All of us winter-weary home gardeners and small-scale producers are anxiously awaiting the return of warmer temps, but I found that the tat soi, cilantro, parsley and lettuce that overwintered in the little A-frame "high tunnel" that my husband built me late in 2009 weren't idle - all were busy regrowing and getting ready for a new season.  The tat soi is sugar-sweet and the parsley is concentrating flavor in the new leaves.  Part of this concentration is due to its being a biennial and it's therefore preparing to put up seeds stalks - however, for late winter soup-making you can't beat these new leaves for hefty flavor!  Along with the last of the root-cellared parsnips and turnips, and a few chunks of beef from one of our own animals, we're making some hard-to-beat suppers while enjoying the lengthening days.

I'll be starting tomato transplants, herb plants especially numerous basil varieties, and other plants soon from orders received over the winter, so don't delay in Emailing me your requests.  Don't forget:  if you want a particular type of tomato, and I don't already have the seeds, I'll need time to buy the seeds, so the last date for Email or phone order will be around March 18.  If you have seeds but no way to get them started yourself, mail them to me with your requirements and your contact information and together we'll make a plan!

Happy Spring!

 

Debbie

 
 

Tomatoes that may thrive in late blight conditions

Because of the late blight scourge of last year, I am growing transplants this year of a variety called Legend, which was developed by Dr. Baggett at the U. of Oregon.  According to several sources which you can find on the Web, this tomato exhibits resistance to late blight and has proven itself in trials in the Pacific Northwest.  Supplies are very limited - call or Email me to order early!

I also have a cherry tomato called Matt's Wild Cherry, which anecdotal evidence from around New York State says continued to produce copious amounts of small, very tasty cherry tomatoes even as companion tomato varieties succumbed to the blight around it.  I have not grown Matt's for some years, but I do recall that the fruit is simply delightful, though I had to pick more to get the same volume as a "normal" cherry tomato.  It's called "wild" because it's believed to be an ancestor of our modern cherry tomato varieties. 

My hope is that the weather does not give this scourge another chance to wipe out our tomato and potato plants.  But I expect to hear reports of the fungus still active around the Northeast, simply because home gardeners may not have known what was wrong with their plants and allowed the plant residues to overwinter near the gardens, instead of discarding them in a plastic bag as was recommended by our friends at the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices around New York, in Vermont and New Hampshire, and elsewhere.  But we can try different plants to see how they fare, and our input on this experiment can be useful to future growers and to the researchers who are diligently working on breeding for late blight resistance.

The Quest for the Winter Harvest

We have been diligently experimenting with methods of extending the summer harvest into the late autumn months.  When the weather cooperates, staying warm into late October and even into November, it's easy to keep growing and harvesting the delicious lettuces and greens you count on us to grow for you.  However, when winter threatens early, as it usually does by the end of October, a grower needs to find a way to protect what is still in good condition for harvest until the customers are ready to buy it, so it can be enjoyed at its peak of flavor and nutrition.  Cold temperatures are not the only culprits:  winter winds, with their drying effect, can be just as damaging to fall crops as low temps are.  Therefore, we've been trying a couple of methods that have worked for other growers to make sure we have top quality produce available for as long as possible during the year.  Our efforts took a gigantic leap forward with the construction of a small  A-Frame unheated greenhouse last fall.  After studying the experts, including Elliot Coleman at Four Seasons Farm in Maine, we determined that we could put a structure right in the main garden in the lower part of the farm as long as it was very sturdy and windproof.  This meant, no PVC piping or hoops!  Rather than take a chance with wind problems, my husband designed something that will definitely stay put even in 60 mph winds (which are not as rare as we would like in our winters). It was completed just before Thanksgiving, so there was just time enough for me to start some planting bed preparation before the outside temps fell too far. 
 
 
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