Spring 2011

by Bob on April 22, 2011

Today, Good Friday, is much like the past several weeks – wet and cold.  Seems like a good day to update the news part of the site.

Cold and wet equals nothing done in the fields.  If we were still growing oats it would be time to panic.  Oats needs to be established in cool, damp conditions and should be in the ground by mid-April.  So far there has been only limited plowing in the area as the ground is too wet, and the forecast is for another two weeks of rain, so the oats will be planted super late and the yield will suffer.  This is happening when the price of oats is at a record high, so there will be a lot of unhappy farmers.

We will be unhappy too – not because I wanted to plant oats, but we have lots of flowers ready to go outside, but none of the ground is ready.  The outside flowers will be late, but the greenhouse flowers are doing well and we should be ready for the farmers’ markets:  Saturday May 21 is the opening date for Ligonier, and we will be at Market Square and Upper St. Clair on Thursdays beginning June 2.

Asparagus is late due to the continuing cold and the aficionados are getting restless.  I can’t get through the grocery store without being quizzed several times.  We have cut about a pound, and warm weather should bring a flush, but in general we just have to wait.

We have greenhouses and cold frames already planted.  The dahlias are knee high, there are five plantings of lilies doing their thing, and we have about 2,000 lisianthus growing slowly.  For the first time ever we will have red lisianthus and we are looking forward to seeing just how red it will be.  The day after Thanksgiving we planted the first batch, and those plants are now all of 4 inches tall.  When I say slowly I mean it.  We have several other varieties of flowers planted but these are the mainstays.  We also have about 50 tomatoes planted in the large greenhouse, and some are in bloom.  During the winter we have been growing pea shoots and mini greens for Out Of The Fire Café – the local fine dining place – and they will soon be getting rhubarb and asparagus too.

Every year we have to establish a new team of helpers.  Some years the results are better than others and this looks like a good one.  We have two girls returning, one with 7 years experience here, a new high school girl, and a new young man who is just now getting an associate degree in horticulture and will be at Penn State next fall.  All have been working intermittently the last few weeks and they are all good and happy workers.

Every year we look for new Purple Cows.  The concept comes from a book of the same name by Seth Godin.  A Purple Cow could be new flowers, a new promotion, or new merchandising ideas.  If you are curious about what is coming this year, drop me a line and I’ll know you read this far.


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