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

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?

What’s Happening Here?

Here it is mid-August in the Mid-Atlantic United States, and at sunrise it is 48F…that is 20-25 degrees below what we would normally expect, and it looks like we are in for a spell of this weather. I’m not complaining, mind you. This is excellent planting weather for fall crops, and most years it is painfully hard to come by. The cool weather crops don’t like the heat (lettuce for example, won’t sprout above 80F) so just getting them to germinate requires tricks like setting the trays on a cool corner of the cement slab of the garage. What really triggered this post was the flock of geese that just went over. When I lived in Vermont, mornings in the …

ShepherdWhat’s Happening Here?