Transplanting Beets

A hundred to a hundred and fity years ago transplanting beets was not uncommon close to the big Northeastern cities, where there was near year round demand for fresh produce.  Market gardeners forced plants into early production using “hotbeds” fueled by manure they brought back from the center cities after delivering their produce. They even had special vegetable varities for “forcing.” Nice system, if you can maintain it…and internal combustion remains a niche market. (Many of these older varieties are now attracting attention as market gardeners move toward the widespread use of “high tunnels.” (7.5MM results from Google in 0.47 seconds) Beets are just about the only “true” root crop that can be transplanted, and using a few tricks from …

ShepherdTransplanting Beets

A Tale of Two Kales

It was the best of kales; it was the worst of kales. (Where the Dickens did I read that?) I was watering yesterday and gave little attention to the stray kale (Lacinato) that had somehow gotten in with a patch of garlic . What I did notice, though, having just moved from watering the Brassica bed, was that there were no flea beetle holes in its leaves. NONE.   Yet the same variety, fifteen feet away (and surrounded by other Brassicas) was too pitiful for the table.   Its pretty well known that diverse plantings make crops plants harder for pests to find, and of course there is a wide belief in particular companion planting combinations. I haven’t found most …

ShepherdA Tale of Two Kales

Garlic Is Up – Is Spring Here At Last?

Yesterday it finally felt like spring though there is snow in the forecast for Tuesday. This has been the toughest winter here in the northern Shenandoah Valley for at least 20 years, and it seems like it is not over yet. We just can’t shake the shivers! But we did finally got a chance to sit out on the back porch yesterday in the warm sun and thin the trays of seedlings that had been languishing in the sun room window. The hardy stuff (lettuces, broccoli, rainbow chard and some Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage) even got to sit out overnight. While we were thinning the flats  with tiny scissors (always cut off extra seedlings instead of pulling them out, which disturbs …

ShepherdGarlic Is Up – Is Spring Here At Last?

Good Reasons To Grow Your Own – # 5

The USA is an immigrant culture, with a broad range of food traditions imported from around the world. The artisanal and the cultural motivations are especially closely related, as there are many specialized food ingredients which are impossible, difficult or expensive to obtain in the market – especially in all but the most cosmopolitan areas. But if you grow them yourself, you can control the supply that you need to fulfill your personal or cultural desires. Recognition of this fact goes beyond just the maintenance of food cultures among new immigrants; the growth of the international Slow Food movement is also evidence. Click to See All Seven!

ShepherdGood Reasons To Grow Your Own – # 5