Crop Talk, February 27, 2017  

Spring Thaw?

   The weather out here is keeping all of us guessing -- people as well as plants! As for the people, one day we're in shirt sleeves and the next day we're huddled by the wood stove. And the plants? Well, the remnants of the fall broccoli started sprouting new crowns, and the plum trees are starting to leaf out, but today the buds are tightened up as hard as pinto beans against the cold. And they're calling for snow on Friday. The geese don't know whether to fly north or south.

   Temperatures are more stable in the greenhouse, and with electric tray warmers our young plants are eager to get growing. We have kale, lettuce, parsley, basil, and chard started indoors, and we've broadcast spinach and kale in the field by the black raspberries. The strawberries are still under their winter blanket, but that may come off soon. Check Crop Talk next week for an update on the apricots. 

Here Come the Peeps!

   Our annual foster chicken program launches on March 1. Take home four cheeping fluff balls, keep them until the kids lose interest -- or the HOA finds out -- and then bring them back. Come fall, we'll sell you their eggs. Watch the website for purchase information.

Third Annual Bluemont Shamrock 5k/10k

   Come run with the luck of the Irish in one of the most picturesque areas of Northern Virginia. The course winds through the scenic country roads of beautiful Western Loudoun County. Offering both 5k and 10k distances, this race has something for everyone. Come enjoy food, music, and FUN. The race will benefit The Bluemont Community Center Advisory Council scholarship fund. 

When:  Saturday, March 18, 2017, 10k start time 9am, 5k start time 9:10am

Where:  Great Country Farms,18780 Foggy Bottom Rd, Bluemont, VA 20135

Registration here.

Seven Secrets to Perfect Compost
By  Brian Barth, From Modern Farmer

    There are two images associated with the word compost. One is of a rotting, fly-infested cesspool of kitchen scraps that makes you gag if you get close. The other is rich, crumbly, pleasantly earthy smelling “black gold,” the stuff of gardeners’ dreams. Here are a few tips on how to avoid the former and have more of the latter.

   1) Get to Know Your Greens and Browns

   There are two main ingredients in any successful compost pile: carbon-rich ingredients and nitrogen-rich ingredients. The carbon camp is often referred to as “browns,” because it include things like dried leaves, dried grass clippings, cardboard, and straw. Nitrogen-rich “greens,” on the other hand, include fresh leaves, fresh grass clippings, and vegetable scraps; the name is a bit of a misnomer, however, as manure, a very nitrogen-rich substance, is also included in the green camp. You’re going to need at least one source of each for your pile.

   Pro Tip: Always start a new compost pile with a fluffy layer of browns on the bottom (at least 6 to 8 inches deep) to absorb moisture from the pile and keep things well-aerated, thus avoiding cesspool conditions.

  Read More here.

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