Harvesting Herbs in the Fall

Harvesting Herbs in the Fall

It is that time of year again. We spent months anxiously awaiting the first signs of spring – your perennial herbs emerging or warm enough weather for annuals. And, because we sell to every conceivable zone in the continental US that ‘just right time’ spans months. For us in Zone 7, we try to wait until ‘Tax Day’ but don’t always make it!

From Spring to Fall

Nevertheless, spring arrives and the fun begins – the act of planning shifts to actual planting, and more planting followed by pruning and tending and clipping. Using your herbs in all sorts of ways, because all we know, herbs are so versatile. All summer to enjoy the fresh taste of mint in tea, fresh basil on your Caprese salad, real dill on your grilled fish, tarragon chicken salad and a farm fresh chicken stuff full of fresh Bouquet Garni. We’ve done it all! For our clever DIY customers, the fun never ends while our homeopathic friends are creating all sorts of healing ointments, tinctures and teas.

But, we can all sense the change. Days are shortening, Helianthus and Joe Pye Weed are announcing the arrival of cooler nights. Fewer butterflies on fewer blooms. No more delighting in hummingbirds at the feeders. (more…)

Why Are Native Plants So Important For Your Garden?

Why Are Native Plants So Important For Your Garden?

With over 35 years of growing plants under our belts, we began to focus on herbs in 2008.  We’d always loved growing them, but honestly, the demands for perennials and annuals in our local market meant that herbs only accounted for about 20% of the plants we grew.  Once we hopped onto the world wide web, and were able to really use data to research what people wanted to grow, but couldn’t get locally, herbs became our focus.  For the past 8+ years, we had added more and more herbs to our line up.  Now, we are offering over 160 different types of herbs for you, our customers!

But, since we are growers, and addicted to growing a variety of plants, we’ve been ‘toying’ with the idea of introducing a closely related group of plants.  So, drum roll please… (more…)

Spring 2016 Rains at The Growers Exchange

Spring 2016 Rains at The Growers Exchange

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall
~ Bob Dylan

Spring of 2016 will have to be told as two distinctly different stories. All was well until it started to rain in May. Already we had noticed that April Showers were missing, plenty of wind, but no rain in April. In early May, it began to rain; it rained like we have never seen before. Rain that persisted day after day.  In thirty one years of growing greenhouse plants, we knew how to tuck the plants in and last out a week or even two weeks of cloudy, wet weather. Four weeks of no sun is what we experienced, and the plants just would not grow without sunshine. With the end of the shipping season upon us, we had to send what we had. Unfortunately, plants also began to melt down in the boxes due to excessive moisture. All told, it was the worst plant disaster we have ever experienced. There was nothing to do except wait for the sun to shine through the cloud cover. (more…)

Fall Gardening- My Favorite Time Of The Year

Fall Gardening- My Favorite Time Of The Year

The sadness of summer fading can only be cured by the excitement of fall.

Cooler temperatures and the bountiful harvest draw our attention away from what was, to the beautiful changes before us. It feels good to bundle up in a favorite fleece for a morning jaunt into the garden. I hope you are making that little jaunt each morning; even ten minutes of trimming, weeding and piddling will brace you for the days work. Think of it as a kind of yoga or meditation practice. After a few weeks of practice, you get flowers and veggies. All that squatting down, reaching around, and scratching in the ground does kind of limber you up, and a few quiet moments looking over your plants does clear your mind, and those veggies will nourish your body and soul. Flowers brighten your day!

Fall is our favorite time to garden

Why would we not start the day in the garden? I don’t know because all of the above is true and we all know how busy and complex life is today. I try to visit my little home herb garden each morning, my excuse is to let the chickens out, but I always piddle and pull a few weeds or pick a little something to leave in the kitchen for dinner. This is a nice start for me because I also know that during the day, through some intrusive media source, word of mouth, or just something I see walking down a city street will give me pause. And I will truly wonder how the human race has gotten thus far. Since there is not much to be done about the world at large, one needs some means of maintaining sanity. The only salvation is a sanctuary, and home with a garden has the deepest roots. Whatever goes on elsewhere, it is grounding to know that the garden is there, orderly and bountiful. (more…)

Fun and Whimsical Do-It-Yourself Gardening Projects to Brighten Your Day

Fun and Whimsical Do-It-Yourself Gardening Projects to Brighten Your Day

For most of us, spring is still just a distant dream on the horizon, while snow blankets the ground and frost sparkles on every surface of our garden. Although the wintry outdoors can be beautiful, the avid gardener often wishes spring would come early, itching to get out and begin the projects he or she has been planning since fall.

The good news is that it’s never too early to start on next season’s gardening plans. Many of us have greenhouses or indoor gardens, where we’re already coaxing the earliest seedlings into life. Now is the perfect time to start organizing and working on a variety of gardening projects that don’t require warm weather to enjoy. Here is a sampling of some of our favorites, which are sure to get you in the mood for the warmth and color of spring!

Creating Works of Art From Old Pots

Old pottery lends a charming and rustic appeal to any outdoor setting, and can even turn into the focal point of an inviting patio. Flower pots of all shapes and sizes can be found at yard sales and thrift stores for a bargain. It doesn’t even matter if the pot is cracked, discolored, or unattractive at first glance. With a few different shades of bright paint (meant for withstanding the outdoors), you can give new life to any number of old pots. Have fun experimenting with primary colors, patterns, and crackle paint. A quick internet search can give you dozens of ideas for pretty pots for your spring flowers. (more…)

Growing Moonflower Vines in Your Garden

Growing Moonflower Vines in Your Garden

Gardeners are creatures of habit, it is only the changing seasons that give our garden activities variety. And like all creatures of habit we collect favorite tools, seeds, and even favorite methods and motions as we happily plod through garden chores. To the casual observer, we may not appear locked into our set ways. But there is one favorite that always gives us away, our favorite plants!

There are those few plants a gardener plants year after year. One of those plants, for me, are my most cherished moonflower vines. For moonflowers to grace my patio rail in summer, the young plants must first scale a four feet high brick wall to reach the railing. They cannot do this alone, and this wall must be crossed and covered will foliage before the summer sun makes the bricks too hot for vines and leaves. For moonflowers to grace the patio rail in summer, the planting should be soon after night temperatures are over fifty degrees. Ipomea alba is a tropical plant and cool nights will stunt or kill young moonflower plants. (more…)