Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Old Days

You’ve probably heard the expression back in the old days we did so and so. Well those old days were teachers that helped us through the days ahead. Here at Ashcombe, perhaps forty years ago we used a lot of chemicals on our crops to prevent disease and keep down the insect pests that plagued them. My bro. Bob and I shared a very small office in a concrete block building that served as a warehouse, boiler room, packing shed, and maintenance building.

Often times when we could catch a minute or two from our many tasks we would discuss how we farmed our vegetables. The farm, previous to us, had been share cropped and the farmers had allowed the soil to be depleted of nutrients. We took regular soil tests and added the recommended amounts of commercial fertilizer to keep our crops growing and put in cover crops over winter that added organic matter to the soil. We thought we were doing all the right things to increase yields of our crops but really didn’t see a great difference.

Both Bob and I were, could you say, innovative, and wanted to go beyond the accepted practices of farming at that time. Organics were not yet come of age but having had an uncle who farmed with no irrigation only manure and raised nice crops of vegetables for his roadside market we thought that there must be a way without manure which we didn’t have to accomplish the same thing.

We learned of a company that made a product that was all natural but the ratios of fertilizer did not meet what our soil tests called for. It was a risk at that time to put on an untried product but we felt it would be worth the risk. After that decision was made, no commercial fertilizers were put on our fields and we scouted out crops for insects and only used low toxicity sprays when damage was evident.

We saw little difference in yields initially and felt better that we could say no commercial fertilizers were spread on our fields. Sometime later perhaps five or six years we tried a one half acre plot completely organic and separated them in our store marking the organic as such. At that that time there wasn’t a concern for lesser use of chemicals and we didn’t continue the half acre. But we could feel good that our veggies were probably as healthful or more so than many grown in the area. And were we to have continued to grow in later years it probably would have been organically.

Story by Glenn Gross co-founder of Ashcombe Farm and Green house

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Upcoming Events For The Whole Family!

At Ashcombe there is always something growing on!  We have wonderful events the whole family will enjoy.  Check out what's happening this month and next...

Dog Days ~ Saturday, August 25th, 8am-12noon  Bring your pooch for this morning of fun!  We’ll have various organizations on hand offering dog adoption opportunities, vendors selling dog products, a dog wash, dog pagent and more!  Check out this link for more:

Cement Leaf Birdbath Workshop ~ Saturday, August 25th 10:30-12noon and Monday, August 27th 6:30-7:30pm  Join Michael Larkin in this 2 session class to create a bird bath for your garden.  Using a large 12” leaf, each participant will create a unique bird bath.  In the first class we will make the birdbath.  In the second, we will unmold and finish the project.  All material and instructions are included in the price of the workshop.  Please bring a pair of sturdy rubber gloves.    Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $30.00

Advanced Hypertufa Workshop ~ Saturday, August 25th, 1-2:30  Host Michael Larkin will guide each participant to create a round container (made of peat moss, perlite and Portland cement) that can be used on a patio or in the garden year round.  In this advanced class we will add concrete dye and embellish the containers with polished stones, creating a very artistic container for your plants.  Each participant will take home one 14” container and detailed instructions on how to create many more.  Please bring a pair of sturdy rubber gloves and dress to get dirty!  Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $35.00

Tomato Fest ~ Saturday, September 1st, 9am - 3pm   Join us for this fun day of taste testing tomatoes and tomato recipes.  Tour our tomato field!  Click here for more information:

Children’s Garden Craft Class:  “Pressed Flower and Leaf Pictures” ~ 
Saturday, September 8th, 9-10am  In this fun class, each child will make a beautiful picture using pressed flowers and leaves.  Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up.  Pre-registration and payment is required.  Fee:  $5.00

Homeschool Garden Craft Club:  “Corn Leaf Wreath Workshop” ~ Wednesday, September 12th, 10-11am  In this class, each child will hand craft a beautiful wreath using fresh corn leaves.  These leaves will dry in about a week for a beautiful wreath for the door or a centerpiece for the table. Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up. Pre-registration and payment is required. Fee: $5.00

Basic Orchid Care ~ Thursday, September 13th, 6pm  Join us for this informative 
program on orchids.  Be sure to bring your questions!  Each participant will receive a starter 
orchid.  Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $15.00

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is Your Garden Looking Tired?

Are Things looking Tired in your Garden?

Iron Deficiency in Tomatoes

lack of Potassium

 Magnesium Deficiency

Has the heat of recent weeks made your garden look like it needs a little help? Well if you’ve been watering regularly and still think that things are not up to par, you could be missing a nutrient that keeps the plants healthy just like our food nourishes us; plants need regular feeding when they are growing rapidly. This can be accomplished by using a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote or regular feedings of a liquid fertilizer like Miracle Gro.

Or if you’re an organic gardener we have Espoma Potassium, Phosphorus and Iron as well liquid Alaska Fish Oil, and Tiger Bloom that are completely natural along with a number of other safe products.

Our goal is to make your plants shine so that you are the envy of your neighbors, but more importantly so that you can enjoy the wonders of nature. And if your plants are properly fertilized and healthy bug pests will be less of a problem. Plants like humans have an immune system which if kept healthy will keep the plant at its best.

So give your plants a boost as well as yourself by stopping by our garden center today and talking to our knowledgeable staff about how to do it. While you’re here take a stroll through our gardens which can give you ideas for your garden.