Category Archives: Blog

The Perfect Tomato

tomato

Anyone who has tried a tomato fresh from the garden knows it tastes nothing like the generic grocery store tomato. There are so many varieties including beefsteak, plum, cherry, grape, campari, roma, brandywine, black krim, and green zebra. They come in many shapes and sizes and each has unique qualities and taste. Different varieties can be easier or harder to grow and care for, but if you follow these tips, you should have some perfect tomatoes growing in your garden.

Tomato Growing Tips

1. Make sure to leave enough room for each tomato plant. They need room to allow for air circulation.

2. When transplanting into the garden, bury the stem up until the first true leaves. New roots will quickly sprout under ground from the stems, and more roots mean more fruits!

3. Tomatoes like a strong support system. Stake or trellis them so the branches don’t break from the weight of the fruit.

4. Tomatoes have many friends in the garden. Be sure to companion plant basil and marigolds to keep those pests away.

5. When watering your plant: water deeply, but not too often. Make sure to directly water the soil and not onto the leaves.

6. Pruning your tomato plant is very important. When you prune off the non fruiting branches, more plant energy is diverted into growing bigger and better fruit on the other branches.

7. Once your tomatoes are coming in, be sure to add compost around the stem of the plant to encourage new growth and continued fruit.

6. Don’t forget to pick your tomatoes once they are ripe: full sized and full color. Don’t let them over-ripen on the vine.

Growing Tomatoes

Why Don’t My Squash Plants Grow Squash?

Squash

squash varieties

Squash comes in many varieties. There are zucchinnis, pumpkins, yellow squash, acorn, butternut, spaghetti. They come in different shapes and sizes and growing seasons, but they generally have similar planting and care guidelines. They grow on a vine and can spread out quite far. Make sure to have plenty of space for them. Each plant also produces a prolific amount of squash. Don’t be surprised if you end up with too much  and end up having to give most of it away. They have both male and female flowers. The female flowers are easy to identify by looking for a tiny squash below the blossoms. Male flowers are borne atop a bare stem.

 

Why Don’t I Have any Squash Growing?

Do you have many flowers growing on your plant, but not squash seem to be forming? Don’t be alarmed if your plants aren’t growing any squash. This is a very easy problem to fix. As stated, squash have both male and female flowers on the plant. The female flowers need to be pollinated by the male flowers in order to form the squash. If no squash is forming, this means that the female flower was not pollinated by a bee or insect. Luckily, it is very easy to hand pollinate. There are several ways that you can go about doing this. One way is to remove the male flower and rub it on the female flowers. You can also take a q tip and get the pollen off of the male flower and into the female flower. You can also just give the plant several good shakes and get the pollen moving that way.

 

Hand Pollination

How to Make Bokashi

Bokashi

Bokashi is a ramped up, high speed composting method that was first developed on Japan. Conventional composting relies on oxygen-fed organisms to break down organic material.  Bokashi is a method that uses a mix of microorganisms to cover food waste to decrease smell. It derives from the practice of Japanese farmers centuries ago of covering food waste with rich, local soil that contained the microorganisms that would ferment the waste. After a few weeks, they would bury the waste and it would become a rich soil. It’s basic fermentation, the same process that gives us wine and pickles.

Advantages of Bokashi

Most composting methods require months of waiting for the food scraps to break down into compost. However, bokashi composting works very fast, taking only a few days rather than months. Many people complain of their home composting methods having a strong order. Bokashi, on the other hand, is virtually odorless. It  has the potential to be speedier, more space-efficient way to recycle large volumes of kitchen waste into valuable compost.

How to Make Bokashi

You will need containers or buckets with tight fitting lids to keep air out, kitchen scraps, and bokashi mix.

1. Begin by put a layer of bokashi at the bottom of the bucket

2. Add food scarps on top of the layer

3. Each time a layer of scraps is added, add 1-2 tablespoons of the microorganisms

4. Make sure to close the lid securely

5. Once the bucket is full allow it to sit for 10 days for fermentation

6. You will be left with juices and fermented food scraps

7. The juices make a great compost tea for crops, and the fermented scraps can be buried in the ground to enrich the soil.

Bokashi How to Video

The Buzz About Bees

Honey bees are extremely valuable to our agricultural industry, doing almost 80% of all crop pollination. The annual monetary value of these insects as commercial pollinators in the US is approximately $15 billion! Without bees, both farmers and consumers would be at a great loss. They are the “unsung heroes” behind most of the world’s food supply, and are an integral part in sustaining 1/3 of the world’s crop production.

Most of our crop species (about 75%) require pollinators such as bees. Care for a fun fact? One out of every three mouthfuls of food and drink we consume depends upon pollinators. After hearing that, can you even imagine your world without pollinators? Almonds are almost completely dependent upon pollinators (especially honey bees), so without these species, almonds will be gone. Fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, apples, avocados, carrots, citrus fruits, broccoli, kale, onions, and more would either be extremely expensive to grow without thriving bee colonies, or would simply be gone.

So why are the bees declining? This phenomenon is due to Colony Collapse Disorder, in which worker bees abruptly disappear. Little is known about CCD, but scientists believe it is due to a combination of unfortunate factors such as pathogens, malnutrition, and pesticides. According to Dr. Albert Einstein: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination…no more men”. Bees’ eradication affects us more than we may think.

Your produce choices WITHOUT bees

Your produce choices WITH bees