Seed StartingCategory: Greensgrow Newsletter
It’s that time of the year-the seed starting supplies have arrived for you to check out this Saturday. We are open at both locations on Saturday from 10am–3pm. We have seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, seed starting soil, trays, inserts and domes.
If you are looking to sharpen your seed starting skills, we have 2 free demos coming up and a more in depth workshop too. Learn how to start your seeds like a pro and get your garden off to a healthy start this season. It’s a great chance to get to know some of our staff! Read on below for details and sign up.
Are you starting a new garden this Spring?
Step 1: Test your soil! You can test your soil through Penn State Extension in Philadelphia. Do it early! Spring is the busiest time to get your soil tested, get yours in first. If you have trouble reading it, bring it when you come shopping at Greensgrow or give their Master Gardeners a call 215-471- 2200 ext. 0. You can pick up a soil test form or mail a $10 check to: Penn State Philadelphia Center, 675 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA 19106
Step 2: Learn more about caring for your soil. Shifting your mindset to growing your soil’s microbiology instead of babying your plants will cause a revolution in your garden! There is a great resource here. You can read what scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham, says about soil. Highlights: You can improve soil structure, make nutrients and water more available to plants, hold more nutrients and water in your soil, and suppress disease and weed growth!
Step 3: Spread compost. An inch or two over the surface of your growing spaces is good, more if you soil has really settled. I like to allow my soil structure to keep it’s integrity and not churn it over on a yearly basis, you could call it the “no-till” approach. So, I spread compost on the surface of the soil and let the rain and watering bring its benefits to the roots of the plants. Just like in nature!
A lot of people ask, “leaf or mushroom compost?” The leaf compost is made from leaves and mushroom compost is made from composted horse manure. The mushroom compost has more nitrogen and salt in it. Nitrogen drives leaf production and if you have too much, can actually keep your fruiting plants (like tomatoes) from flowering. If you like to know exactly how much nitrogen you’re adding to your soil go with the leaf compost and a good Espoma fertilizer. For heavy feeders, like corn, and leafy crops, like kale, go with mushroom. Also, mushroom compost is a little to alkaline to use on acid-loving plants like rhodies, azaleas and blueberries. Use peat moss and Espoma’s Holly-Tone fertilizer for them!
Don’t forget your windowboxes; their soil is watered so frequently that the nutrients wash out more quickly. Remove old root balls from dead annuals, fluff up your soil, add compost and you will be ready to go for spring. Plan to use a fertilizer regularly to keep flowering annuals in- bloom. More next week!
The wonderful and often intimidating kohlrabi (pictured) is making an appearance this week, organically grown at Eastbrook Farm in Smoketown, PA! This strangely shaped veggie is very versatile and tasty so don’t be shy! They are wonderful fresh, in salads and especially grated in slaws. To prep them, remove the skin with a peeler and they are ready to roll. You can also make some wonderful cooked dishes with Kohlrabi. They can be used in place of potatoes for a latke with a twist, or just sliced and baked/fried for veggie chips. They are an excellent addition into soups, especially creamy ones such as cream of potato or mushroom. Also wonderful roasted or even steamed, the kohlrabi’s versatility make it one of my favorites!
From Sunny Harvest Co-op, we have beautiful watermelon radishes. These gorgeous root crops, named for their peculiar color scheme of blush red and green, are a variety of heirloom Chinese daikon radish and belong in the brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and many greens such as arugula. These delicious radishes can be enjoyed raw, in hearty salads with meats, eggs, and bright cheeses, or roasted with other root veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. A Greensgrow favorite, Sunny Harvest Co-op in Cochranville PA is a cooperative of Amish family IPM farmers in Lancaster County.
Lucky for us, apples are currently available in abundance! We have delicious Stayman apples, especially nice for cooking, so if you are in the mood for an apple crumble now is the perfect time to indulge. These IPM apples were grown by a wonderful local orchard called Three Springs Fruit Farm located in Aspers PA. We are also bringing in the juicy Jonagold variety, a wonderful dessert apple best eaten fresh. It has a lovely sweet tangy flavor sure to please your taste buds.
We are featuring Stryker Farm beef cubes this week! Stryker Farm located in Saylorsburg PA is a small family owned free range livestock operation run mostly by head farmer Nolan and his mother Nancy. Their delicious beef cubes are extremely adaptable to all kinds of dishes. They can be cooked quickly at a high heat in stir fries, or browned and cooked slowly until fall apart tender. Beef stew anyone?
Check out this week’s full produce list here.
Seed Starting Demos
Free • Registration Required. Do you want to grow varieties that you can never find in 6 packs? Grow them yourself with our help! Greensgrow Farmers will demonstrate how to start a tray of seeds and discuss what to choose for your location, planning and planting times, what kind of soil to use and why, soil temperature and watering for success. She will show you how to identify leaf sets and true leaves, when to transplant and how to harden off your starts. We’ll touch on nutrients, feeding, compost and vermiculture. Everyone will get a handout of our planting calendar with recommended seed varieties for our region. There will be an hour of instruction and we will stay after for Q & A with any interested parties. Please note locations. If you are looking for a more in depth workshop, check out the event on March 18.
Greensgrow Farms • March 4 @ 12–1:00 pm • Free • Register here
Greensgrow West • March 5 @ 12–1:00 pm • Free • Register here
Seed Starting Workshop
Greensgrow Farms • March 18 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm • $25.00
Registration Required. Do you want to grow varieties that you can never find in 6 packs? Want to eat pea shoots all day long? Grow them yourself with our help! Greensgrow’s Farmers Deirdre & Ryan (our former farmer, and new Executive Director) are going to get your season started off right in this hands-on workshop. Everyone will learn as they plant their own trays of pea shoots and veggie starts to take home. (We’ll have tomato and peppers seed varieties on hand for you to choose from.)
We will demonstrate how make paper pots at home and how to start a seed tray. Learn what to choose for your location, planning and planting timing, what kind of soil to use and why, soil temperature and watering for success. They will show you how to identify leaf sets and true leaves, when to transplant and how to harden off your starts. We’ll touch on nutrients, feeding, compost and vermiculture.
Everyone will get a handout of our planting calendar with recommended seed varieties for our region and notes on caring for your seed starts at home. We’ll have seeds and seed starting supplies for sale in the greenhouse to get you started.
April 1 • 12–2:00 pm • $35.00
Registration Required. Chef Adam Dilitz from Johnny Brenda’s comes to the Greensgrow Community Kitchen to teach us how to make Scrapple from scratch. We’ll learn about the history and origin of this Pennsylvania Dutch specialty. You’ll get to see each stage of the process from cooking and preparing the pork, to seasoning, moulding and cooking the final product.
We’ll get hands on helping out with prep and get to taste the final product in class. Everyone will get a piece to take home as well as a recipe to take home.
Adam Dilitz is the Executive Chef of Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown. Adam is pursuing his dream of running his own restaurant. Elwood, named after his grandfather, will focus on Pennsylvania cuisine, utilizing the rich heritage of the Mid-Atlantic region and the Philly area as inspiration. A pennsylvania native, he has 2 has worked for 3 James Beard Award winning chefs and is a member of Slow Food, PASA, and Historic Foodways of the Delaware Valley.