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…)

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…)

Help Save the Monarch Butterfly with Asclepias Tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed

Save the Monarch Butterfly, Plant Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias Tuberosa) is a native plant that creates a wonder area of your garden for monarch butterflies. The Growers Exchange wants to encourage our gardening friends to set aside a sunny space in their gardens to help these majestic butterflies thrive and slow the decline of their population.

The bad news: there can be no question that natural habitats, areas where monarch butterflies live, are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Habitat destruction, defined as changing an area in which a plant, animal or other organism lives to the point where that species can no longer survive. The destruction is generally described as either actual destruction, degradation or fragmentation. In the case of the Monarch butterfly, the major threat to their survival is the loss of milkweed habitat, which is an essential plant in their life cycle. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the counts of Monarch butterflies are trending down sharply, and their migration is now under threat.

The good news: restoration of habitat can be achieved with very little effort on the part of concerned gardeners. You can easily offset this loss of a critical host plant in your own yard by planting milkweed, the vital host plant for Monarch butterflies. (more…)