Happy New Year! It is now January and how lucky we feel to still be able to offer a wonderful range of healthy foods to help you to eat well in the new year that includes local produce, sustainably grown meats, cheeses, eggs, and artisan food.
We are now resuming our regular Saturday delivery / pickup schedule. You will find lower prices on many items including Deep Grass onions and jams, Fresh Harvest Hydroponics essential oils, and Patty’s Gourmet Food.
Please place your order before noon on Wednesday.
The new year is a time of planning and anticipation for farmers. We are no exception at Hattie’s Garden and want to let you in on what we are doing and what you can expect over the coming months.
Researching, Seed Ordering and Planning
It is the dead of winter and we finally get a bit of rest from the frenetic activity of growing. We cherish the extra time the winter provides to plan for our swiftly approaching 2017 growing season. I am immersed in books and catalogs, learning and planning. There is just a short time to get everything that I would like and do everything I need to do before we begin planting and living in the farming activities themselves.
Plugs — I’ve already ordered my “plugs.” These are tiny plants started by professional greenhouses for farmers and growers. While we start most things ourselves here at Hattie’s Garden, there are a couple of items better suited to leave to the professionals. We will receive three or four boxes of these tiny plants, usually three to four trays to the box and 200 plus plants to the tray. They include Lisianthus and a couple of other cut flowers and some vegetative herb starts. These plugs are sometimes shipped all the way across country and arrive in amazingly good shape. Receiving a box of live plants is quite a thrill. As you can imagine, they must be carefully nurtured after they arrive. Our first box is due to arrive at the end of February.
Corms and Roots — We must also choose and order our Gladioli bulbs and our organic Ginger Root. This must be done in a timely fashion before our suppliers run out.
Seeds — Seed catalogs are addictive. If you grow anything from seeds, you know exactly what I mean. I receive over a dozen catalogs from different seed companies and the task can be overwhelming. I allow myself a bit of time to look through everything, getting new ideas, checking out who has what I need, etc. Then I get down to the task of ordering.
Research — The field of sustainable agriculture is growing by leaps and bounds. This year, I will attend Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) in State College, PA. It has been a couple of years since I’ve been to a good conference and I can’t wait. The conference is the first weekend in February and you will likely hear more about it. Suffice to say, 2000 like-minded individuals sharing the latest in ideas and discussing all manner of agricultural issues makes for an exciting couple of days. It is an incredibly diversified bunch of people who can’t wait to engage with one another and dive into the topics of the day.
Planning — Probably one of the most important parts of farming is the planning. When do we plant what. How do we have a continuous supply of things our customers want for every week of the season and beyond? Planning includes rotation of crops, financial analysis, assessing labor needs, and much much more. Oh, and it also includes planning for the unplanned.
Plant CSA, Gardening Classes and our Delivery/Pickup Service
Hattie’s Garden has lots planned for the new year in 2017. We will launch our Plant CSA program again in February, hold gardening classes for those interested and continue to operate our delivery/pickup service, bringing you good produce, meats, cheeses, eggs and other great items until the winter finally begins to exhaust our supplies.
Plant CSA — CSA stands for community-supported agriculture and is a concept that has caught hold throughout the sustainable agriculture community. Our customers help us stay in business by supplying us with financial support at a time when funds are low and expenses are high. We can then more easily acquire the needed inputs for the season. We had wonderful participation last year in our Plant CSA from many of you and will be launching that program soon. The Plant CSA allows you to purchase an amount of credit toward Hattie’s Garden vegetable transplants, herbs and bedding plants ahead of time in exchange for a 10% discount.
Gardening Classes — Every other year or so, I like to hold Gardening classes. I teach “organic” methods and we focus on vegetable growing. I am convinced anyone can grow some of their own food, in any space. The classes are open to those with some experience in gardening as well as to those with no experience at all. The goal is to get students producing and eating organically grown vegetables from their own gardens (including container gardens) by the beginning of June, through the summer and into the fall. Students sign up for a three-hour class that meets twice. Homework is assigned. We discuss principles of organic gardening and do hands on learning here at the garden. You will come away from the class with specific actions and plans for your own garden. Class size is kept small at 6 to 8 participants. Stay tuned. Classes will probably be held during the second half of March.
Pickup/Delivery Service — We will continue our current service for as long as supplies hold out. We hope this will include all of January and most of February. At some point we will move to every other week and then during the Spring will eventually suspend the service in order to devote all of our time to our farming activities for the season.
Remember the deadline for ordering is Wednesday at noon. Unfortunately, we won’t normally be able to take late requests, as we must place vendor orders quickly.
You will receive an updated reminder on Tuesday, but please order early to be sure you get everything you would like. Supplies are sometimes limited.
Yours in the garden throughout the winter,