Fresh from the Garden July 2013

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In this issue:

• Plant Now!
• Farm Fresh Flowers
• Volunteer on the Farm
• On the Farm: Fall flowers
• What to do Now
• Events Calendar

Plant Now!

The phone rings, and a worried voice asks: "I never planted my zinnia seeds, is it too late?" We hear this question often this time of year. The short answer: plant now and you still have time for a nice late summer garden. We plant summer tender annuals several times a summer--zinnias, cockscombs, celosia plumes, ageratum, assorted grasses, and basils. We also plant 1200 Pro Cut Sunflowers weekly until mid-September. They bloom in 55-60 days and are day-length neutral which means they will grow and bloom even as the days shorten and temperatures cool off.

Our first expected frost date is November 15, so if we get these summer tender annuals planted by July 15 we still have time for a nice late summer garden. We actually do another planting August 1, just in case the frost date is later than usual. It most often works out that we are glad we did it. It is true that these flowers don't get as large or as productive as early summer plantings, but it is nice to have fresh young plants coming on while our earlier plantings are looking a bit worn out.

So, plant your seeds now for a refreshing garden in August. We are also sure to use Flower Support Netting for all our gardens that are going to produce in late summer. Those late afternoon storms that roll through can put down in 5 minutes a garden that you worked long and hard on. Support netting is priceless this time of year.

Storms have taught me a very real life lesson; I cannot control the weather. This can be a real tummy twister for farmers who haven't made their peace with this reality. During my first years of farming, I did a lot of--well, we will say handwringing--over potential weather events, but no more. We plan for the worst (netting), hope for the best, make no promises of available flowers for the future, and plant often to have flowers in various stages of growth all the time. I sleep much better nowadays.

Read one of our latest weather events on my blog, Click here

The lightening bugs have arrived, summer is here!

Lisa Z

The Gardenerfs WorkshopcTGW

œ Online Garden Shop œ TGW TVœ Lisa's Blogœ Group Programs œ Events œ Ask Lisa

Volunteer on the Farm

Interested in learning about growing flowers organically? Want to learn how a small farm works? Or just plain want to help & get your hands dirty? We are looking for a few volunteers whofd like to work side by side with us on harvest days in exchange for hands on training. Volunteers will receive other benefits like a bouquet for a day, a 25% discount on all purchases, and working outdoors listening to the birds with like-minded people.

Required meeting for new volunteers is scheduled for Thursday June 27 at 12noon.

For qualifications and to sign-up click here..

Tidbits and News!

• Like us on Facebook to keep up with the farm and the birthing of my new book coming summer 2014!

Click here to Like us on Facebook

• Visit our new Blog page and meet Susan and Suzanne. Look for new post three times a week. Sign up to receive notice when we post a new blog. Click here

Our flowers are spreading all over Hampton Roads!

In addition to our farm pick-up and subscription drop-offs, we deliver to our commercial customers from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach twice weekly.

Find our flowers:

• Farm pick-up: Garden Shares are $100 each and entitle you to $100 worth of flowers picked up at will throughout the season on Wednesday afternoons and/or Friday morning. When you purchase a Share you become a member of the Garden Share Program. Only members are invited to the farm to pick up flowers; we are not open to the public. Share members can also enjoy shopping our warehouse shelves of gardening and arranging supplies as well as visiting the gardens while here. Click here to purchase a Share!

• Local Drop-off Subscriptions are available in 5, 10 or 20-week Subscriptions ($120, $230, $430 plus tax). Our delivery zip codes have expanded this year to include Virginia Beach! Zip codes in which delivery is available are: 23602, 23606, 23608, 23454, and 23451. Subscriptions are available in Newport News on Mondays and Fridays and Virginia Beach on Fridays. Purchase before April 1 and receive one additional bonus week. We are happy to deliver around vacations and offer every-other-week deliveries because our flowers last so long in the vase. Click here to get started!

• Supermarkets: The Fresh Market in Newport News, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach. Harris Teeters in Williamsburg and Newport News. Delivered fresh every Friday.

• Weddings and event needs: if you would like local flowers to be a part of your next event, ask your floral designer to give us a call! To view a list that includes customers we have a history with and who purchase our flowers weekly throughout our season, click here.

What to do now!

• Think fall flowers and veggies!

• Provide a water source for the birds that is visible from inside your home. You will have bird visitors often not seen at feeders. This will provide entertainment for you as they drink their fill. We have two Robins that literally swim laps around our bubbler every morning!

• Rejuvenate summer annuals cut them back and feed with organic fertilizer..

• We mulch our gardens deeply immediately after planting plants or once the plants are 6-10" tall if we planted seed in the garden. We use any organic product that is available in masses to include, but not limited to: bark, leaves, compost and straw. Then we feel like our garden is ready for summer.

• Mist seeds and transplants with Seaweed / Fish Fertilizer weekly to enhance germination and grow healthier plants.

• Feed your birds. They will return all summer to eat bad bugs
• Cover your newly-planted seeds and plants with a Floating Row Cover until established. They will grow quicker and it will prevent the squirrels from digging them up!

• Visit TGW TV and our Learning Center for Tips and References click here.

• Visit our blogs for all kinds of gardening information and photographs of the farm. Click here.

• Check out my Garden Journal that makes planning easy and flexible click here.


• June 27 Farm Volunteer Meeting 12noon, Click here for more information.

• September 7 Program & Pop-up Shop Heritage Harvest Festival held at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. Click here for more on this awesome festival!

• September 20-22 Program & Pop-up Shop Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA. Lisa will present the program "The Forgotten Seasons." Click here for more!

• April 30, 2014 Annual Farm Tour for Historic Garden Week in Virginia! Save the date!

• Summer 2014: Lisa's new book with St. Lynn's Press coming out!

On the Farm: Fall-Blooming Flowers

If you are ready for something new this fall, do what we are doing: plant some of those hardy annuals that can tolerate a little sweating at the end of summer to really come into their glory as the season cools off for fall and early winter.

What to plant: Snapdragons ( Opus, Rocket, Sonnett, Chantilly, and Madame Butterfly), Sweet William ( Sweet), Bells of Ireland, Bupleurum, and False Queen Anne's lace are the ones we are going with this year.

How to start: Because these plants need cooler conditions to sprout than outdoor summer temperatures allowyou must start these indoors. Bells of Ireland and Bupleurum seed should be placed in the freezer for at least one week to help them break dormancy, followed by soaking in water overnight before planting; these seeds can take 14-30 days to sprout depending on conditions. All seeds should be started indoors using a seed-starting heat mat but place a cookie cooling rack on top of mat and place seed trays on the rack. This cools the mat a bit but provides constant low heat for good germination. Tip: Mist seeds after sowing with Seaweed Fish Fertlizer weekly to enhance germination.

When to start: The latest I would start seeds for an expected mid-November frost date is late July. Start seeds indoors, plant out in a spot that has some protection from afternoon sun or create a sun block for a few weeks if needed.

Growing: I would definitely include an organic dry fertilizer when preparing the soil, Seaweed Meal is excellent. Using a watering can, sprinkle organic liquid fertilizer according to instructions (weekly most often) on the foliage of plants and soak the ground. This encourages the plants to stay strong and healthy through the warmer conditions they don't like so much.

These flowers will begin blooming in about 12 weeks from start and continue to bloom through light frost and longer that I ever expect them to. They bring a brightness to fall that makes spring seem not so far away!

Be sure to cut your flowers to keep the blooms coming! • The Gardener's Workshop