Last week I must have jinxed the farm by talking about how a frost would affect the plants because last Thursday and Friday we got a light frost out on the farm. Many of the plants are doing quite well despite the cool temperatures, but a few plants were damaged. Some of the damage is season ending for plants, but many of them will be fine. The basil plants endured the most damage. Basil is a very sensitive plant and doesn't do well with low temperatures.
Despite the end of the basil season, there's a lot to look forward to on Sprouting Farm this fall. The beets are thriving and currently being served on our Roasted Beet + Apple salad!
Composting has taken the PNW by storm. We geek out on all things green so here's a breakdown to help you with basic composting in your own garden.
With Sprouting Farm now in full bloom, we're turning our sights towards weeding, which has given us an over-abundance of compostable material. Instead of leaving all of the weeds in the pathway, we've been placing them in a pile, off the field, so they can be broken down by the microbes in the soil.
To speed up the process you can 'turn' the pile, which is the non-technical term for mixing. Another technique is to add water to the pile and break the weeds into smaller pieces. Make two piles if your compost heap is split in drastically different stages of decomposition. Once it's fully broken down you can spread it in your garden for a super nutrients boost! (Kind of like cold-pressed juice… for your plants).
This week we're back with some additional tomato advice, Ethan, explains:
Certain plants are prone to bending or falling over so it's important to keep them supported. We use a support method called trellising, it's less time consuming and less expensive than the cages you see in home-gardens. We tie twine to posts roughly five feet apart and then weave the twine around the plants. It's quick and easy to add more twine as needed.
Sometimes tomatoes get so heavy that the plant can't support itself. Trellising tomatoes protects them from the weight of their fruit. Keeping the plants moving vertically also helps to increase airflow, and keeps them from touching one another. Increasing airflow helps to dry the plant canopy and reduce disease issues. Just like us, if one plant gets sick and touches another plant, disease can spread. This makes touching taboo. Some of the grafted tomatoes received their second level of twine which was added roughly three inches above the first level.Stay tuned for more updates from Sprouting Farm as well as photos and other news!
This week our farm manager, Ethan, shares some useful information about grafting and optimizing your tomato yield, which can be tough in the Northwest:
Grafting a plant confers desirable traits from one plant to another. One good example of this can be seen in tomatoes. Tomato plants are prone to root infections so we have to aid in resistance. Unfortunately, the plants that are more resistant to diseases often don't produce desirable fruit. Horticulturists have learned to combine the rootstock of the resistant plant to the upper portion of the desirable plant. This grafting maintains the fruit flavor and avoids loss in productivity. It's like farming magic!
Stay tuned for thoughts on caging and trellising options to keep your plants standing tall.