Category Archives: Uncategorized

2021 online booking

Hey guys and gals.

Hopefully everyone is happy and Covid free. Our household is doing well so far. We must all maintain our vigilance this fall and winter when numbers are expected to spike. Now is not the time to forgo necessary and important pandemic safety guidelines.

This season saw a great many new people down at the Farm. This was both amazing and daunting simultaneously. Parking was a challenging issue, as was being able to serve everyone in a way that I prefer, namely individually. I grow a lot of unique items, some of which need a bit of explaining (just my preference) in order to be successful. I am a stickler for giving my customers the information they need to succeed.

Anyway, we will be using the “Booked In” online app to schedule appointments on the days when we will be available here at the farm. The reality is that I was so busy with customers arriving in a random and chaotic manner, that I wasn’t able to do additional later season seeding and transplanting. Please don’t get me wrong, I loved everyone coming down and supporting me here at the farm. I was overjoyed! (Covid did for me what a decade of advertising never achieved.) It just made other vital tasks (Watering was one) very difficult to accomplish and I hate the Big Box wilted plant look.

Booked in is simple and easy. We post our availability in half hourly or hourly blocks depending on the day in question. You then select the time which best suits your need. I’ve been using this system all summer with Star Barber where I get my hair cut. Works like a charm. No waiting.

I believe that using this easy and convenient app will improve our level of service and will be friendlier overall. I also plan to bring on someone part time in order to lighten the load. I’m very persnickety about how I like to take care of my plants. Growing using the organic method (not certified) requires a steady balance of dampness and dryness in order to avoid pathogens which are difficult to treat if they take hold. I prefer prevention.

On a final note. We lost a longtime customer and great human being late this summer. Lincoln Fenn. He loved gardening, loved life and loved people. He will be missed.

Be well, stay safe, and love each other.

Peace,

Mike

we are in a drought

Hello friends and fellow gardeners. This has been one of the driest years that I can remember and the weather service says we have entered drought conditions. This situation, according to the NOAA 4th quarter weather outlook, will very likely continue through the end of this year and the higher temperatures will also likely remain with us too.

Plants, whether in pots, raised beds, or in the ground, require the equivalent of about 1″ of rain per week. This season, beginning as far back as April, we have not received anywhere near that amount on average. I personally have had to water my plants much more frequently than in recent past seasons.

The last time we had this little rain was back in 2005. It was very hot and dry, similar to this year’s overall pattern. I very nearly lost all my crops due to lack of water. After that scare, I decided to invest in and install Drip Watering Irrigation systems in my produce fields the following year. I no longer am in the business of growing produce for market, but Radical Roots Farm, who now grow on that same plot of land have continued the practice of Drip Water Irrigation.

Bottom line: If you expect your plants to achieve peak performance, they must be provided with necessary and adequate amounts of water on a regular, daily and weekly basis.

thank you!

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who supported me when everything looked so dire at the beginning of the season. It is because of you that we had our best season in many years.

I’ve already ordered my starter plugs and perennial seeds arrived 10 days ago and will soon be sown to overwinter for next season. I think you’ll fall in love with the new 2021 varieties of both annual flowers and perennials.

This fall the vegetable seed catalogs will arrive and I will peruse newer varieties for next year. I very much hope to find some fantastic items.

That’s it for now, be safe, stay healthy, and always wear a facial covering when out among the public. I expect to see each and every one of you next spring.

Peace,

Farmer Mike (Plantman)

Hello hot sweaty masses

Man is it hot! There seems to be no real relief in sight for the next few weeks anyway. I spoke with my dad in Ohio this morning and they have been getting some much needed rain. Unfortunately it’s courtesy of major thunderstorms with high winds and its in the form of torrential intermittent heavy downpours and high winds,

Thats not the best for gardens, we need a steady gentle overnight rain which can seep into the depths of the soil where it’s needed. Heavy bursts of rain just run off into the street gutters and into storm sewers taking valuable topsoil along with it.

My dad sounded well, which was good to hear.

Regardless of the rain coming or not, we all need to water our gardens and potted plants during these inhospitable oven-like days. And nights! plants need the equivalent of 1″ of rain weekly in order to thrive and succeed, as do fruiting trees and bushes.

I’m concerned about natural food for birds this winter. The Mountain Ash trees here on the farm blossomed during the incredible heat in May. As a result, those blossoms aborted and the creek won’t bear any fruit which many species depend on to survive the winter months. I’m not sure if other fruiting tree and shrub species were effected. So far my fall raspberries appear unaffected, as do the tall Blackberry canes down the road which are in full bloom at the moment.

It was 103 degrees in two ov my perennial greenhouses at noon today. I’m going to need to invest in some 50% shade cloth for next season in order to lower the temperatures for those babies. Everything still looks good, though I have to water frequently.

Speaking of perennials, I still have a very nice selection of later blooming species many are budding and about to bloom. Call me 282-8420 if you’d like to schedule an appointment here at the farm, or stop by Saturday Farmers Market from 9-2. Be warned its first come first served when I’m at Market, nothing is reserved or held unless paid for.

Ok I’m actually considering a late Siesta, you might want to do the same until it cools off a bit later in the evening

Peace,

Farmer Mike AKA Plantman

crazy season

Hello everyone,

This has been a very intense and crazy season. I’d like to thank everyone near and far for their support and business.

We’ve met a lot of new customers this year and continued to see our longtime regulars. I know some of you have been disappointed when we ran out of many items. You’d never know that I literally grew twice as much of everything this year compared to last year. I simply ran out of room and could not grow any more.

I tried to reorder many seeds, but the seed suppliers were also sold out.

I’d like to reming everyone to call ahead for an appointment. 282-8420. The only thing I’m doing in the greenhouses is watering a couple of times a day as needed. I AM NOT WAITING DOWN THERE, as there is virtually little or nothing to do, and very few customers coming by at this time.

I am taking the time to work on my own gardens and my house and yard.

So please call ahead.

Peace,

Mike

Hours by appointment please

Hello folks,

I greatly appreciate all the support the community has provided me.

I’m trying to make things less hectic by asking people to call ahead and schedule an appointment for between NOON and 5pm. The response has been overwhelming, which is good, but it’s not leaving me with the necessary time to do the rest of my seeding and transplanting and honestly I’m now falling way behind. I’ve never had so many people down at the farm which is a real plus, but wh en people arrive randomly and at all hours it is very chaotic.

Last night I ordered more seeds of fast producing vegetables because it’s become obvious that my initial projections were inadequate for the demand.

Many items were simply unavailable from my seed vendors so I made due with whatever was available.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Farmer Mike

Farmers market rules

Hello everyone,

There are many new rules from the State Department of Agriculture.

They would prefer that you pre-order and electronically pre-pay for your items. This presents challenges with impulse purchases such as hanging baskets and other flowering items. Some things just cannot be preordered. They prefer that customers pay with exact change so that returning change is not required.

A minimum of 6′ distancing must be maintained between vendors and customers. The State also prefers that you come alone so as to limit the numbers of people attending Market. The State would like all customers to wear masks or face coverings of some kind. All vendors must wear medical style latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves at all times. We must also provide hand sanitizer for anyone who would like to use it.

We will be there from 9am until 2pm each Saturday. There will be NO SALES PERMITTED BEFORE 9 OR AFTER 2. This isn’t going to be the usual way in which Market is conducted and everyone must abide by the new rules or it will be shut down. Please heed the rules.

I would encourage everyone to call me 282-8420 for an appointment down here at the farm where you can shop much more leisurely. I still prefer that you wear a mask or other suitable facial covering.

Hello fellow plant enthusiasts.

What a time we live in. Besides the usual challenges we face on a daily basis, we can now count CIVID-19 as a new and possibly (for some) fatal one. Not that any of us ever know if each day might be our last. The thing is that we all must take necessary precautions to make sure our loved ones, as well as ourselves, to help ensure that we will live to see another day. The vast number of us will indeed live to a ripe old age if a modicum of caution is practiced, and this remains unchanged in these trying times.

I haven’t posted anything recently because so much was unknown and still up in the air regarding our local Farmers Market and the curve of this virus outbreak. I honestly didn’t know how or if Market was even going to open this season. Thankfully it will be opening on May 9th. Last season we sold out of many flowering plants fairly early. I attribute this to the closure of Garden Time and the reduction of plants offered by Walmart. So I increased my production of flowering plants by 25-50% depending on what my sales records showed when I sold out of various items. This of course costs money. My profit margins, despite what many might think are fairly low after all the input costs are tallied. I was terrified that not having a location like Farmers Market to sell my plants (As close as we are to Downtown Rutland, It’s always been difficult to get people out to the farm where the plants are grown, and honestly it’s not pretty out here. An old run down dairy farm. We are set up for growing and not for retail and it’s just not esthetically pleasing. The costs/money required to invest in upgrading to a suitable retail infrastructure would be enormous for me and that’s just not practical.) would mean personal and financial ruin. As you might imagine, this potential threat was both stressful and depressing. 16 years in business and wiped out in a season. :*(

I’m offering many new beautiful varieties of flowering plants this season as well as veggie and herb starts. I’m sure that you will find them very pleasing. And recognizing that many people will be under financial stress, I’ve reduced prices by 15-40% to help my customers and to insure that they sell out. They do me no good if I end up sending them over the bank. I’d rather they go to good homes where they’ll be cared for and adored. Ultimately, I’ll likely still make the same total profit dollars in the end as I would in a regular season. I REALLY DO HAVE A HUGE INVENTORY THIS SEASON.

Anyway, wishing you all peace, health and reduced stress.

Peace,

Farmer Mike

Chucking wood

Hey everyone,

I honestly don’t know if that fat little rodent in Pennsylvania saw it’s shadow or not. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in such prognostications. Nature does what it does and couldn’t care less about we humans. Unfortunately Humanity appears to feel the same about the natural world, at our own peril I might add. We need nature to survive, but nature doesn’t need us and won’t blink when we’re gone. Best we get our collective shit together before we’re in a situation which is out of our control, but one of our making.

The milder January was nonetheless very nice. My Chickens enjoyed being outdoors for many more days than last January.

February looks to be an above average temperature month as well. NOAA long range projections show a 40-45% chance of above average temperatures through the end of March, better that the last couple of seasons anyway.

I started up the main GH today. Installed a new potting bench top, birch plywood, smooth as glass, did some cleaning, will do more the rest of this week, then begin seeding Saturday. Perennials mostly, the following weekend will be seeding of onions, shallots, leeks, herbs and violas. The following week 14- 2000# pallets of potting soil will arrive. 540- 50# bags… hand unloaded and hand restacked here at the farm. Oh my back.

The first week of March, starter plugs of perennials and some slower growing basket varieties will arrive. Every week in March will bring new starter plugs for baskets and containers, plus much seeding of vegetable and flowering plants.

That’s it from the farm for now. Stay warm, be well, and hug each other often.

Peace,

Farmer Mike “The Plant Man”

January greetings

After a topsy-turvy weather beginning to our Winter season, we inch closer to Spring as the days slowly get longer. The longer-term forecast calls for somewhat above average temperatures and below average precipitation. Ask me in May how that worked out. LOL

This late Fall we put new plastic covering on two of our greenhouses. It went very well and I thank everyone who helped me my deep appreciation and thanks. This should help contain heating costs, as older plastic can leak heat through micro-pores in the plastic.

A great many perennial and herb and annual flower seeds have already arrived. February will bring a great number of vegetable seeds to our door. Next week I will begin seeding perennials and some slow growing herbs. Some because they germinate slowly, some because they grow slowly and others because of both.

If you take a look at this seasons offerings, you will find many new items in all categories. Several new Dwarf yet delicious and productive tomato varieties. Many newer or returning annual flowering plant varieties. Last season we sold out of flowering plants fairy quickly due to the closure of Garden Time after 20 years, and because “Wally World” really curtailed their plant offerings. We have ramped up our production of flowering plants as best we could without investing in further infrastructure.

The reality is that this business with its smaller clientele, doesn’t generate the kinds of profits required for larger expansion. Next year I will be turning 60 and it just doesn’t make sense for me to pour scant resources into what is a short term business future.

I ain’t getting any younger folks, and I refuse to go into debt to expand at this point in my life. I love growing things and I will always do so until it’s physically impossible for me to do so, but I’ll let the next generation of growers take on debt if they see fit to do so.

A few items of note: We have held prices steady on10″ Baskets and patio Containers, single 5″ flowering plants and 3″ vegetable/herb singles despite the continuing rising costs of pots, trays, seeds, started liners and soil/transportation costs. We are hoping that heating costs remain steady despite the troubles in the Middle-East. Vegetable and flower 6-packs are now all $5 (4 for $18) mainly do to ever increasing seed prices. When hybrid seeds become 25-30 cents EACH, it is impossible to turn a profit at 4 dollars. And that’s before soil, tray, labor and heat. We offer many Heirloom varieties, but Hybrids are often more productive and disease resistant. Almost no price increases on Perennial plants, the exception is with smaller single plants, again due to the increasing cost of seeds.

I guess that’s it for now. I hope to see everyone this coming Spring, all healthy and happy and enjoying warm sunshine and cool soil.

Peace,

Farmer Mike