Cicadas – the real story for Virginia
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
7h ago
Top: Annual cicada. Credit Bugwood. Bottom: Periodical Cicada. Credit Eric Day Cicadas Despite hype, cicada double-brood emergence won’t affect Virginia, Virginia Tech expert says https://news.vt.edu/articles/2024/03/ext-cicada-double-brood-emergence-wont-affect-virginia.html There are annual (“dog-day”) cicadas that emerge every year. Annual cicadas have black-green coloring, while periodical cicadas have black-red-orange coloring. Annual cicadas, although noisy and large, are not at all dangerous to people. In fact, they are edible, but I do recommend removing the wings and legs first, other ..read more
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Cold-hardiness zone map, heat zone map and fruit chill hour requirements
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
6d ago
  Our pond iced over. Photo Ezra Freeman I was alarmed to hear on NPR that the USDA had issued a new map of winter-hardiness zones. It seemed so recent that we got an update! Relax! (Sort of!) It’s the same 2023 map that I reported on here in November 2023. What is new and worth a visit is the interactive map posted by NPR . 2023 USDA Cold-hardiness zones map Enter your location and see a map with your zone on the previous 2012 map. Scroll down (it was not immediately obvious to me to do this. . . ) and you can see what zone that area is in now. Scroll further down and you can see the amo ..read more
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Weed of the Month for May: Galinsoga
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
2w ago
People in early spring weeding spinach that has been hooped and covered overwinter. Photo Wren Vile This is the first of my new monthly series of posts. All about weeds. Sustainable (or Ecological) Weed Management: A Holistic Approach to Organic Weed Management In the early days of organic farming, maximum use was made of frequent cultivation to kill weeds. Now we know that too-frequent cultivation risks causing soil erosion, and that each tilling or deep hoeing stirs air into the soil and leads to a burning-up of organic matter. The practice of sustainable weed management is about effective ..read more
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That New GMO Tomato, and other GMO vegetables
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
2w ago
Blueberries, naturally high in anthocyanins. Photo Marilyn Rayne Squier In February this year I learned about a new genetically modified tomato, the Purple Tomato, that is to be marketed directly to gardeners and farmers. Up until now, genetically modified vegetables have been few and those seeds were not available to the public, only to large commercial growers. I know from looking at the stats on my website that GMO foods are a big concern for my readers, and I decided to do more research. See my earlier post Which Vegetables are Genetically Modified? Concord grapes ripening. Photo Kati Falg ..read more
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Lettuce Growing Tips
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
3w ago
  Our first outdoor lettuce bed in May. Photo Wren Vile  Lettuce growing conditions – germination Lettuce seed needs light to germinate – don’t sow too deep: 1/4″–1/2″ (6–10 mm) is ideal. Minimum soil temperature for germination is 35°F (1.6°C). Optimum temperature range for germination is 68°F–80°F (20°C–27°C). I have a table of optimum soil temperatures for germination in my book The Year-Round Hoophouse Germination takes 15 days at 41°F (5°C), 7 days at 50°F (10°C), 3 at 68°F (20°C), only 2 days at 77°F (25°C) Germination takes 3 days at 86°F (30°C), but will not occur reliably a ..read more
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Book Review The New Seed Starters Handbook, Nancy Bubel with Jean Nick 2018
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
1M ago
  The front cover of the New Seed Starters Handbook, by Nancy Bubel with Jean Nick   The New Seed Starters Handbook, Nancy Bubel with Jean Nick 2018, 452 pages, 6.5 x 9.1 inches approximately, with drawings and tables throughout. $19.99 Rodale Books.com. Distributed by Penguin Random House. This 2018 edition is an updated version of the old favorite 1988 reference book by Nacy Bubel explaining how to start seeds and grow healthy seedlings of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, trees and shrubs; how to tackle seed-starting problems, and where to find seeds and gardening supplies. It i ..read more
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Organic No-Till Cover Crops
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
1M ago
  Rye and hairy vetch cover crop. Photo Kathryn Simmons Organic no-till cover crops are grown to flowering (or very close), killed without tilling or chemicals, and left to become dead mulch for the next crop. The food crops are planted into the dying residue. We have used no-till cover crops for Roma paste tomatoes, which are transplanted in early May. We don’t need early-ripening for these, making them a good no-till food crop. This method enabled us to have 1 year in 10 as a no-till year. Four ways to kill cover crops without herbicides or tilling Winter-killed cover crops for early s ..read more
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Cover Crops for April: before the last frost.
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
1M ago
  Beds of young buckwheat. Photo Bridget Aleshire In January I shared some resources to give the Big Picture of Cover Crops, including a compilation of slides for SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) and my slideshow Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers. In February, I described limiting winter annual weeds by sowing oats in spaces without a cover crop and no planned food crop for 6-10 weeks. Six–ten weeks (depending on your climate) is long enough in early spring to get worthwhile growth from oats before prepping for the food crop. Also see February’s post for the Stale See ..read more
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2023-2024 Vegetable Growing Conference Tips 4
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
2M ago
  Alkindus lettuce from High Mowing Seeds This is the last of my series on tips I learned at sustainable farming conferences the past winter. The sessions reported on here were at PASA. Harvesting Techniques for Small and Medium Scale Farms This was presented by Julie Henninger and Andy Russell of Goodkeeper Farm in Gardners, PA. They run a Full Diet CSA, with 7.5 acres of vegetables including five high tunnels and outdoor vegetables, and turkeys, cows and pigs. Their well-organized workshop covered their Top Crops (head lettuce, baby greens, carrots, bunched greens and roots); Pre-Harves ..read more
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Book Review: The Barefoot Farmer, Volumes I and II, by Jeff Poppen
Sustainable Market Farming
by farmerpam
2M ago
The Barefoot Farmer Volume I, 1993-2000 Book Review The Barefoot Farmer, Volumes I and II. Jeff Poppen, 2001 and 2021, 233 and 221 pages, 6 x 9 inches approximately, with drawings throughout. $20 each or $35 for two, via https://barefootfarmer.com. The Barefoot Farmer Volume II, 2000-2011 Jeff Poppen at Long Hungry Creek Farm, TN, is a lively and fascinating farmer and writer. Jeff’s style is folksy, lyrical, reverent, amusing, at times whimsical or iconoclastic, and always attentive to what works, what benefits the land, and how to farm better.  No doubt you will heartily agree on some p ..read more
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