Winter Update 2010-2011

by Bob on March 7, 2011

Late winter 2011 (or is it 2010 – how do you figure these things?)

New England has five seasons.  To the more usual four you add “Mud”.  That’s when the frost is coming out of the ground and nothing is solid – just “Mud”.  We are now in season 4 1/2 – rain and then snow yesterday on thawed ground.  Just perfect for carrying a bunch of plants from one greenhouse with a faulty heater to one that was reliably warm.

Anyway, planting is now in full swing.  The early plantings, which started two days after Thanksgiving, are looking good and will be transplanted to the ground beds in greenhouses and high tunnels (greenhouses with no heat) in a week or two.  The first shipment of lilies arrived two weeks ago and the next shipment comes this week, along with dahlias and iris.  We have several thousand gladiolas that we saved from last year and another 3,000 arrived Friday.  We are also growing pea shoots for a local restaurant.  They mature quickly in about two weeks so there are no insects and diseases to worry with.

The roster of plants for this year can be found in the sidebar under “Grow List.”  There are a few new items and some have been discontinued, but most of what was available last year will be back.  We are looking forward to seeing a red lisianthus, the first thing planted in November and now all of ¾ inches tall.  There are also some new gladiola and dahlia colors and there will be more emphasis on grasses, sunflowers, and grains.  You won’t see it, but there is an electric fence in our future.  Last Fall, the deer ate every one of the last sunflower planting.  All 4,000 plants – enough already.

In between rain and snow and cold we are harvesting willow – pussy willow, black pussy willow, corkscrew willow, and fantail willow.  The fantail has some very interesting shapes this year – so ugly they are pretty.

We expect to be at three markets this year.  To the usual Ligonier and Market Square locations we are adding Upper St. Clair.  Ligonier (Saturdays 8-12) will open earlier this year on May 21.  I expect to start at Market Square (Thursday 10-2) and Upper St Clair (Thursday 4-7) on June 2.  Thursdays are going to be endurance contests.

People are still getting married (editorial comment will only get me in trouble) and we are still providing their flowers.  We were involved with 35 weddings last year, from Zelienople to Bedford Springs, and this year looks very similar so far.  There is a nice slide show here on the site with pictures taken over the past five years or so.  The slide show (Gallery) can also be found at the bottom of the sidebar.

We hope you have survived the Winter in good form and look forward to seeing you in May or June.  We’ll have asparagus at the early markets for those who arrive early enough, since it sells out quickly.  Otherwise, look for it at Out Of The Fire Café in Donegal, a great place to dine.


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