Saturday, May 8, 2010

Organic Gardening

At 10:30 a group of back yard gardeners gathered in the Local Farm barn. With excavations underway we felt and smelt four different kinds of soil.
Then we put a blend of the four in pots. A little sand on the bottom for drainage and then the dirt.
After we a filled our pots we went over to a table on which Debra had three plants for us.


Lemon Balm
Wooly Mint
Each family could take one or two of each.

After we had our plants we put a few leaves of lemon balm and mint into jugs of cold water so that by lunch we would have a cold refreshing tea.

Then we trekked out to the garden.
Debra had cold-frames set up with Mitzuna, Chamomile and Borage growing in them, we could take one or two of these as well.

Debra has cleared her garden using various methods, where the cold frames are she had kept chickens in a coop.

We put out a sheet of black plastic to kill the sod. In the plastic we poked holes and planted baby squash plants.
After that we went back to the barn and had a lovely lunch.

When we were done with lunch we went back out to the garden and planted some seeds.
A friend is raising young plants for sale and brought the back of her car full.

Dear Friends:

We have many plants for sale this season. Click on our website for a list of plants.

Perry Hill Farm grows plants very differently. Our seedlings are grown in our own compost, made from our organically fed livestock's manure instead of a sterile potting mix. Our soil is not tilled, which is better for the environment. Our produce is grown in permanent raised beds and is co-planted with mutually beneficial plants. We have a garden insectary, which is small garden plot of flowering plants designed to attract beneficial insects. Those beneficial insects devour many common garden pests. This natural approach, combined with co-planting is Perry Hill Farm's safe alternative to pesticides.

We want to make gardening easier for you. Each plant is grown in a CowPot ready to be put into the dirt. No need to pull the plant from the pot to disturb it's plant the whole thing! CowPots are made nearby in Connecticut and of course, the plants are grown right here at Perry Hill! For more information on Cow pots please see link at the bottom of this email.


Large six packs of plants are $4.49 each.

5" pots are $3.99 each

ur main goal for the farm is environmental stewardship, while producing organically grown food and plants. We do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers and use sustainable practices. We have signed the NOFANY farmers pledge and we are working towards our certification with the USDA. Many of the plants are open-pollinated heirloom varieties and the seeds were purchased from Turtle Tree Seeds or High Mowing seeds. All of the purchased seeds are certified organic and even some are bio-dynamically certified. A few of the plants were propagated at Perry Hill Farm.

Call or email me to arrange to pick up the plants. 845.877.7021


From CowPots website:

Created by two ingenious dairy farmers, CowPots are a revolutionary pot made with 100% renewable composted cow manure. CowPots are manure-fiber based seed starter pots, which allow for unrestricted root growth creating stronger, healthier plants. These earth-friendly “pots you plant” are an exciting high-performing alternative to plastic and peat pots.

The CowPot manufacturing process removes all weeds, pathogens and odor. All that’s left is the natural fiber and goodness of manure: the perfectly plantable pot!

Please feel free to pass on this email. If you wish to not receive anymore emails from Perry Hill Farm, please let me know.

Here's to a great gardening season!

For more Motherhouse events go to

Organic Gardening Resources

Vicki sent this photo of our boys in their bean planting parade... and two links to organic seed sources:
HighMowingSeeds is the business started by Tom Stern of Sherman, CT who once helped Debra out on Local Farm during a break from college. The business is in Wolcott, VT.
TurtleTreeSeeds is out of a Camphill Community in Copake, NY.
Vicki plants her seedlings in cowpots from the Freund Family Farm in East Canaan, CT. Other useful links she thought we might be interested in are:
Hay Bale Gardening and no-dig-gardening. An example of another type of no dig garden....a living wall..... not your veggies but pretty to look at: is at woollypocket(She wonders if you could plant some veggies...herbs, greens in those pockets and stack. Perfect for balcony in the city or apt building.) And the NY Times just had an article on living walls at:2010/05/06/garden.
Two links about companion gardening: OrganicGardening and ghorganics
At the workshop, we separated and transplanted three plants from the mint family. Photos and links to information about their uses as herbs follow.

Lemon Balm:

Here in my home garden, you can see how the plant remains fairly compact and not overly invasive.

Red Bee Balm:

Here you can see how red bee balm or monarda loves to spread and fill and area.

Woolly mint::
or Apple_mint
This plant is SO prolific that I keep it confined to pots on my porch... Even so it tries to escape as you can see by this sprout coming from the drainage hole in the pot bottom!

Plants we transplanted from seedlings started in a cold frame were:

Borage is an excellent bee plant. Its leaves can be steeped in water for a cooling beverage like we did with the mint leaves. Both the flowers and new baby leaves can be used in salads.

German Chamomile: will blossom with tiny daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. These can be picked and dried for a soothing tea to help induce sleep or relieve a stomachache.

Calendula, a resinous plant that is good for the skin. Blossoms can be dried and prepared like tea for a soothing wash or merely wilted and then steeped in oil as a primary salve ingredient.

Plants we picked, washed and added to our salad were:

mitzuna, a cultivated slightly biting Asian green that is delicious raw or cooked,

and volunteer lamb's quarters that can be used like spinach.

Haven sent this link about our mystery "weed," SweetFlag or Calamus. She warns that it is considered carcinogenic.For a list of plants and prices that Vicki has for sale, check out her website PerryHillFarm.
To see Debra's favorite recipe for smoked cheese, scroll down through Care for Cows to about page 13.
Our next Old Style Life-Skills workshop will be Eggs-perience Chickens on June 12.