Monday, January 19, 2015

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  • Our monthly JSS Advantage Newsletter
  • Seasonal Selection, Planting, Cultivation, Harvest, & Marketing Guidance
  • Leading Product Reviews & Recommendations
  • Notice of Sales, Special Offers, & Promotions
  • Introduction to New Products & Emerging Trends
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Join Us at a Conference or Tradeshow Near You

We'll be continuing to update our 2015 Tradeshows and Conferences schedule at — check back at your convenience.


Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, & Organic Conference (ISCAOC)Springfield, ILJanuary 7–9
Great Plains Growers ConferenceSt Joseph, MOJanuary 08–10
Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable ConferenceSavannah, GAJanuary 08–11
Minnesota Organic ConferenceSt Cloud, MNJanuary 9–10
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts (NOFA–MA) Winter ConferenceWorcester, MAJanuary 10
State of Maine Agricultural Trades ShowAugusta, MEJanuary 13–15
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) ConferenceMobile, ALJanuary 14–17
Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) CongressSandusky, OHJanuary 19–21
NYSVGA Empire State Producers Expo (New York State Vegetable Growers Association)Syracuse, NYJanuary 20–22
Indiana Horticultural CongressIndianapolis, INJanuary 20–22
Vermont Vegetable & Berry Growers Association (VVBGA)Fairlee, VTJanuary 21
Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) ConferencePacific Grove, CAJanuary 21–24
Practical Farmers of IowaAmes, IAJanuary 23–24
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA–NY) Winter ConferenceSaratoga Springs, NYJanuary 23–25
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Vegetable & Flower Seed ConferenceTampa, FLJanuary 24–27
Scotia Horticultural ConferenceGreenwich, NS, CanadaJanuary 26–27
Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable ConventionHershey, PAJanuary 27–29
Pacific Agriculture ShowAbbotsford, BC, CanadaJanuary 29–31
Guelph Organic ConferenceGuelph, ON, CanadaJanuary 29 – February 1
Texas Organic Farmers & Growers Association (TOFGA) ConferenceSan Antonio, TXJanuary 29 – February 1
Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF) ConferenceRichmond, VAJanuary 30–31
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire (NOFA–NH)Concord, NHJanuary 31
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Farming for the Future ConferenceState College, PAFebruary 4–7
Missouri Organic Association (MOA) ConferenceSpringfield, MOFebruary 5–7
OrganicologyPortland, ORFebruary 5–7
Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) ConferenceGranville, OHFebruary 13–15
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA–VT)Burlington, VTFebruary 14–15
Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention (OFVC)Niagara Falls, ON, CanadaFebruary 18–19
Farm to Table New Mexico Organic Farming ConferenceAlbuquerque, NMFebruary 20–21
Georgia Organics ConferenceAthens, GAFebruary 20–21
Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade ShowSturbridge, MAFebruary 25-26
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) ConferenceLacrosse, WIFebruary 26–28
Oregon Small Farms ConferenceCorvallis, ORFebruary 28
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (NOFA–CT) Winter ConferenceDanbury, CTMarch 7
Mother Earth News Fair • AshevilleAsheville, NCApril 11–12
Nevada Indoor Agricultural Conference (AG • NV)Las Vegas, NVMarch 31 – April 1
International Seed Federation (ISF) World Seed CongressKrak√≥w, PolandMay 1–31
PNW Mother Earth News Fair (formerly in Puyallup, WA)Albany, ORJune 6–7

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Find Out Exactly How CowPots™ Are Made

Have you seen the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" TV episode on CowPots™? CowPots, invented by dairy farmers, are biodegradable seed-starting pots made of dried cow manure fibers.

Watch "Dirty Jobs" host Steve Rowe visit the CowPots facility in East Canaan, CT in the clip below!

Johnny's carries both round and square CowPots in assorted sizes and quantities.

CowPots are currently part of our Seed Starting Sale - get them for a discounted price NOW through the beginning of March! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Video Overview of Pelleted Seeds

Our Product Technician, Lindsay Spigel, provides an overview of pelleted seeds and demonstrates key advantages, in one of our NEW videos:

Do YOU use pelleted seeds? Leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Concepts for the Winter Harvest

Eliot Coleman Bio

On the verge of winter here in Eastern North America, author and Johnny's tools advisor Eliot Coleman shares his thoughts on trialing different concepts and technologies in unheated greenhouses over the coming winter production season .... 

by Eliot Coleman
One of the joys of farming for me is searching out better ideas. This is especially true for the winter production of cold-hardy crops in unheated greenhouses, a production system that we have been exploring for 35 years or so. We are always looking for new ways to keep the greenhouses warmer at night without spending money on heat. We will be trialing two promising products this winter.
The first is SolaWrap, a greenhouse plastic that looks like bubble wrap, which has been in use for 30 years in Europe but has only just this year been released to the US market. We are most interested in its superior insulating quality, compared to sheet plastic, in order to keep heat in the greenhouse. It is -inch thick and has an R-value of 1.72, which is superior to the expensive triple–wall polycarbonate. We also appreciate that the material comes with a 10-year guaranteed lifespan.
But probably the most unique property of SolaWrap is the way it is put on the greenhouse. With sheet plastic, the growers and their crew will work frantically to cover the house with one huge piece. I say “frantically” because the process becomes extremely difficult if there is any wind at all.

SolaWrap Roll-up Curtain

SolaWrap, on the other hand, is modular. It is independently attached between each pair of ribs. SolaWrap is available in 4’, 5’, and 6’ widths, which you choose depending upon the rib spacing of your greenhouse. A cable is welded into each edge of the SolaWrap width. A hard plastic strip, with a slot along each side, is first tech-screwed onto the top of all the ribs. To start installing, the cables are inserted into the slots and the SolaWrap is pulled up and over the greenhouse, one pair of ribs at a time. The slots hold the cables so securely that people can stand on the plastic.
Water Wall
Our second trial this winter also involves an effort to store more of the sun’s daily heat in the greenhouse to keep it warmer at night. We will be using 12”-diameter, water-filled black plastic tubes as our heat storage medium.

Ginegar Water Wall

European greenhouse growers have employed this concept for many years by laying the tubes on the soil between the rows of crops, down the length of the greenhouse. That has been beneficial for two crops they commonly grow, tomatoes and cucumbers (two crops not on our unheated winter list); but using them that way would be impractical for our closely spaced spinach and salad crops.
However, the Israeli company Ginegar has developed a water tube designed to be held vertically in a simple wire mesh support. With the vertical configuration, a whole row of them, side-by-side, can stand out of the way against the north wall of the greenhouse. In a 50’ house that is about 2000 gallons of water.
Will the water-filled tubes freeze solid in the depths of our Maine winter? Would that be a disaster or just a temporary situation? Will we miss the ambient light that used to come from the north side of the greenhouse? Well, that is part of the adventure of exploring new ideas — you never know how things are going to turn out until you try.
Learn More

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cedar Ridge Resident Facility Garden

The Cedar Ridge Center, a Johnny’s customer located in Skowhegan, Maine, recently sent us the following review of their successful growing season. Cedar Ridge is a newly renovated, 74-bed facility offering full rehabilitation services, an enhanced meal plan, and 24-hour skilled nursing care.


The Cedar Ridge facility’s garden was a project that was started in the spring of 2013 with the assistance of Master Gardener Robert Turner, Johnny’s Selected Seeds Contact Center Specialist Erin Reardon, and the activity department at the Center. Seeds were purchased through Johnny’s in Winslow and started in the facility under grow lights.

   Last spring, the turf at the facility was taken up in 5 strips, 7 feet wide and 50 feet long. This year we added 3 more strips, for a total of 8. The turf was left between the rows so that our residents’ wheelchairs could access the entire garden. 

   Through the direction of Master Gardener Robert Turner the project was taken on with sustainability in mind. No fertilizers were used to amend the soil. The residents assisted with watering, potting seedlings and then, after harvest, they snapped beans, peeled vegetables, and have made pickles and squash pie. 

   Residents have enjoyed watching the garden grow and showing off their garden to family members. The garden for the past 3 months has produced 1,187.58 pounds of fresh produce! Our facility kitchen staff has taken great pride in preparing the backyard fresh vegetables and the residents compliment daily about how much they have enjoyed them. This is a project that speaks of the memories and tastes of home. We have raised broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, summer and winter squash, zucchini, Swiss chard, and lettuce and added raspberries, blueberries, and asparagus this season.