May – Prime Time for Gardeners

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. Well, we are getting busier than a beehive here on the farm. School classes are buzzing along with the students enjoying everything from learning about spinning, to school in the 1890s, to how to throw a corn dart! Great fun and a great educational opportunity.
The “mostly” warmer weather that finally arrived has Farmer Milton jumping into gardening mode. Any gardener feels their excitement level rise in May. This is when the prime planting season really gets rolling. The farm’s kitchen garden is rather large and takes a lot of tending, but the reward for hard work comes later when you harvest your produce. We have already enjoyed a large amount of asparagus. Things like peas, beets, carrots, spinach, broccoli, onions and lettuce were planted. Soon cabbages and potatoes will be planted in the field. As a younger gal I helped with the undesirable task of picking potato bugs off the plants.
Later at the end of May when the temperature rises, the frost sensitive vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, beans of many types, cucumbers, summer squash and more will join the rest. Plants like horseradish and Jerusalem artichoke may not be in everyone’s garden, but they are right at home in our Pennsylvania German one.
Jeanne, our resident herb expert, has tackled the herbal section of the garden and it is looking great. She still needs to put in lavender and rosemary when it’s warmer and has requested lots and lots of marigolds. Marigolds are not only pretty, but help keep certain insects away. According to EHow French and African marigolds are often cited as the most powerful Tagetes species for repelling insects. Both contain chemical compounds called thiopenes in their seeds, roots and other plant parts that are offensive to nematodes, aphids, cabbage maggots, white flies and other pests. French marigolds (T. patula) and African marigolds (T. erecta) are also pretty additions to the garden. The flower heads of the French varieties come in single or multiple whorls and in solid or variegated shades of yellow, orange and burgundy. African (sometimes referred to as “American”) species are taller than French marigolds and have larger pompom-shaped flowers in solid, sunny colors. More Info
Most of us here at Quiet Valley are avid gardeners and enjoy using food and herbs we grow ourselves. If you would like some nice, healthy, locally grown vegetable plants for your garden come out to the farm for our Farm Animal Frolic on May 18, 19, 25 or 26. Gary Oiler, a QV founder, retired farm manager and horticulturist, raises plants that will be offered for sale. Come the first weekend for the best selection.
If you would like to learn about gardening come out to Quiet Valley’s Summer Garden Party on Saturday June 15th. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have much room. Raising vegetable plants and herbs in containers is very rewarding.
I hope all of you will find some way to partake in the joy of gardening. Growing something for yourself feeds the soul as well as the body. I suggest you start with a pot of rosemary, a pot of lemon thyme and some basil. All fragrant and delicious when used in recipes. Here is a recipe to try. QV Lemon Thyme shortbread
That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in, folks. Aunt Eunice


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