May Meanderings and Plants for Sale

It's finally May - the month we've been waiting for. This month holds the promise of the upcoming gardening season here in the Northeast, the time to get out and work the earth. It's been a strange spring, with many plants coming into bloom very early. I noticed the first rose almost ready to open yesterday, and the tulips, lilacs and jonquils are all blooming at the same time. We've had lots of rain, and plenty of wind. Still, it's nice and cosy in the greenhouses, and the plants are pretty happy there.

This month will also bring for me attendance at The Herb Society of America's Annual Meeting and Educational Conference, held in Nashville at the end of the month. A few of the venues have been rearranged or cancelled due to the recent flooding there. We are hopeful that our members and friends in that area are quickly dried out and that lives are brought back to normal. I am looking forward to sharing time with old friends and meeting new ones.

Since I will be away from May 23 through June 1, I am sharing with you the plants available for purchase at the farm. I will have an assistant, Emi, who will be tending the farm while I am away, so you can still stop in on Saturday from 10 to 4, and Sunday from 12 to 4 to purchase plants and enjoy the gardens. If you need advice or suggestions from me, please try to come in before the 23rd. I am happy to arrange time for your shopping other than the weekend if those times are inconvenient for you.

We have the following herbs for sale. Most plants are $4.00 each, some of the larger pots are either $5. or $6.

Astragalus - Basil (Lettuce Leaf, Osmin, Holy, Lime, Thai Hairy Lemon, Cinnamon, Licorice, Siam Queen, Monstrusco) - Chives - Cilantro - Dill (2010 Herb of the Year) - Lavender (Provence and Munstead) - Lovage - Mint (Choclate and Peppermint) - Oregano - Rosemary - Sage - Sweet Cicely - Tarragon - Thyme (Lemon, French and English) - White Sage

In addition, I have other herbs that can be dug from the beds. If you want a specific herb, let me know and I can tell you whether it is available. We also have a good selection of Scented Geraniums at $5.00 each. Fruity, Old Spice, Lime, Ginger and Peppermint Rose are just a few of the delightful varieties we have.

On the vegetable front, do we have Tomatoes! I went a little overboard this year, and there are red, pink, purple, green, white, striped and yellow types. I have five different cherry tomatoes, too. All of the tomatoes are considered Heirlooms, and are open-pollinated. You will not find most of these anywhere around for sale. I have a few eggplants and peppers for sale, too ; again, some very different varieties. All vegetable plants are good-sized, and in 4" pots. Many have blossoms or even fruit, as they have been growing in the greenhouse since February.

TOMATOES - Amana Orange - Ananas Noire (striped yellow, green and purple!) - Black Brandywine - Blosser Pink - Brandywine - Cherokee Purple - Emerald Apple - Gypsy - Isis Candy Cherry (a red and yellow striped cherry) - Kelloggs Breakfast - Lime Green Salad (good for containers) - Marmande - Omars Lebanese - Orange Banana Paste - Paul Robeson - Peacevine Cherry - Pineapple - Pink Ponderosa - Prudens Purple - Reinhard's Goldkirsche Cherry - Reisenstraube Cherry - Scarlet Topper - Snowberry Cherry (a white Cherry) - Speckled Banana Paste - White Queen - Yellow Pear

EGGPLANTS - Pingtung Long - Rosa Bianca - Diamond - Applegreen

PEPPERS - Fish Hot - Bulgarian Hot - Amish Sweet Pimento - Aconcagua Sweet

Please realize that some of these varieties are in short supply. Though it is still a little early to plant, come early for the best selection. The vegetable plants, especially, need to be acclimated to direct sunlight. The best way to accomplish this is to put the plants outside during the day in a sheltered spot, in at least partial shade. If the temperature will drop below freezing during the night, bring them in, if only to an unheated garage. The plants can be gradually introduced to sun, first in the early morning, then to longer periods during the day. Memorial Day is the traditional time for this area to put these tender plants in the ground.

If you are worried about the late blight that affected many of us last summer, be assured that research at U Penn has shown that the spore for the blight cannot overwinter in the Northeast because of the cold. Many tomato and potato plants were affected last year, resulting in either a poor crop or no crop. Weather conditions were perfect (rain, cool temps, wind) for spreading the blight, which was brought in on many commercial plants sold in large stores. Spores can, however, remain active in a compost pile, so hopefully you didn't compost those plants but instead destroyed them.

Here's to a better season and bountiful harvest!

Karen