Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm
Time to Start Planning your 2010 Vegetable Garden…
Mass Local Food is still taking orders and will be until January 4th. Take a look at all the new products which include yogurt, locally grown whole grains, Smith’s Country Cheese, organic fair trade coffee, and a wide variety of meats.
I’m sorry Mr. G...
Time for a change: January 1st is here and you may want to consider resolving to support our local economy in any way you can. This is something I will be doing more of as the year progresses and I was reminded of WHY it is so important last week. I needed some balloon animal type of balloons this week because our daughter only got about 150 for Christmas and due to a little boredom and a lot of creativity, they were used up in short order. I felt a little sad because I knew that I could have gone to Mr. G’s party center and purchased high quality, fresh (yes, they must not be old) balloons for our balloon twisting attempts. But.. I helped put them out of business a few years ago. They moved to a slightly less convenient location, and then iParty moved in a quarter of a mile closer to the highway making iParty slightly more convenient. I don’t have a lot of party needs but sometimes I needed special items: cheap magic tricks for favors for a magic party, the occasional junky specialty items, great food coloring to make a John Deere tractor birthday cake, and really good, fresh balloons. A few times I went to iParty instead. Now Mr. G’s is no more! I miss the store. I liked it better than iParty. The employees could always help me find what I needed and they were always very helpful. And they were local. I could have been spending my money to benefit our local economy (granted a very small amount of money, but some nonetheless). For the upcoming year, I will scrutinize my purchases a bit more and seek out items from local merchants, first in town and then in our region. And I will try to do my part to help keep our local businesses viable.
Time to start a few seeds…
Seed catalogs are filling my mailbox and I am trying to control my plans for the upcoming year. This is hard for me to do because I everything looks so easy in January – in May and June, I find that this is not entirely the case. Anyways, I have ordered plenty of new seeds to add to my existing collection from last year. As soon as they arrive (hopefully next week), I will be starting globe artichokes and geraniums. I start many of my own seeds in a cool room, supplemented by two florescent grow lights (four long bulbs). I use wood ash to head off damping off, and I use a small amount of kelp and eggshells for fertilizer. This year I plan to do more and may hang two more lights beneath the existing table. I’ll put these on chains that I can raise as the plants grow. That will double my seed starting space. I have never tried artichokes or geraniums before. I’m trying the artichokes because I like to try something new every year (last year – okra) and geraniums because I like them and want about 20 for my porch and garden and I *think* I can grow them. I’m waiting for my seeds to arrive and I see that my credit card has been charged so I hope they are on the way! I have discovered overall that Fedco is a great place to shop for seeds. I was able to purchase much more than I could from any other place for my budget of $40. They did not have EVERYTHING that I wanted, but their seeds are cheap enough that I can even try starting some wave petunias (something else I have never grown). Many of their seed packets are less than half the price of the more commonly known seed houses. Falstaff Brussels Sprouts range from $2.75 to $3.75 per packet at the popular seed houses, but at Fedco, $1.10. These kinds of prices allow me to start several varieties of certain vegetables and save the remaining seeds for next year.
Gardening Books: I just ordered from the library…
· The well-tended perennial garden
· Gaia’s garden: a guide to home-scale permaculture
· Garden Way’s joy of gardening
· The garden primer
· Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
· Meet Thomas Jefferson
· Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book
Two of the Jefferson Books are children’s books, one a picture book and one from a children’s biography series (which I find to be very interesting, informative, and fun to read). One is a coffee-table type picture book.
In addition to these, I was given the new edition of “The Square Foot Gardener” for Christmas. This is an excellent book and should be read by everyone, especially those of you that think growing a few vegetables is too much work! In addition to “The Square Foot Gardener”, Bob Thomson’s “The New Victory Garden” is a must read! I read it every year and then again month by month through the gardening season! I’ll keep you up to date on any other “must read” books that I come across!
I’m wondering if you can provide some information to me…
What are you planning for a vegetable garden this year?
Are you interested in information on vegetable gardening in your backyard? Perhaps demonstrations and/or presentations?
What kind of information do you need about vegetable gardening?
Have you ever wondered about selling food items at the farmers’ market? It really is fun and we try to make it as easy as possible (we have wonderful support from our Board of Health, Board of Selectmen, and our farmers’ market). We (the Agricultural Commission) will be holding several “seminars” over the winter for vendors. Do you have any areas of interest? We will be discussing “collecting sales tax”, “board of health issues” and other such things. Is there anything else you are interested in learning?
Do you have any great gardening books that you can recommend to me?
Maple Heights Farm:
At Maple Heights Farm, we are well stocked with meat. Our products are available either through Mass Local Food or by pre-ordering by email. You can see our complete inventory on our website.
We still have some calendars available that will get you started on vegetable gardening in 2010! Email for more information or to order…
Posted by Dean
@ 01:43 PM EST