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 assist 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, lettuce and added raspberries, blueberries and asparagus this season. 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Save 10% on Selected Season Extension Supplies

Protect your crops and extend your season early in the spring and late in the fall. Season extension methods allow you to not only extend your season, but increase your yield. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Events, Conferences, & Tradeshows We're Attending

2014–2015 Schedule
We'll be continuing to update our 2014–2015 schedule at Johnnyseeds.com — check back at your convenience.

Hoes Down Harvest FestivalGuinda, CAOctober 4–5, 2014
European Seed Association (ESA) Annual MeetingLisbon, PortugalOctober 12–14, 2014
Sunbelt Agricultural ExpositionMoultrie, GAOctober 14–16, 2014
Mother Earth News Fair • TopekaTopeka, KSOctober 25–26, 2014
North Country (NH) Fruit & Vegetable SeminarWhitefield, NHOctober 29, 2014
Farmer to Farmer (Maine Organic Farmers 
& Gardeners)
Northport, MENovember 1, 2014
Growing Power Urban & Small Farms ConferenceMilwaukee, WINovember 7–9, 2014
Tilth Producers of Washington Annual ConferenceVancouver, WANovember 7–9, 2014
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable 
Agriculture Conference
Greenville, NCNovember 10–12, 2014
Asia & Pacific Seed Association (APSA) Asian 
Seed Congress
Macau, ChinaNovember 10–14, 2014
Pacific Northwest Vegetable Association (PNVA) 
Conference & Trade Show
Kennewick, WANovember 12–13, 2014
Mississippi Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association ConferenceJackson, MSTBD
Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional 
Network (ACORN)
Halifax, NS, CanadaNovember 12–14, 2014
National Young Farmers Conference at Stone BarnsPocantico Hills, NYDecember 03–05, 2014
Great Lakes Expo (GLEXPO)Grand Rapids, MIDecember 9–11, 2014
New England Vegetable & Berry Growers 
Association (NEV&BGA)
Manchester, NHTBD
State of Maine Agricultural Trades ShowAugusta, MEJanuary 13–15, 2015
Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, & 
Organic Conference (ISCAOC)
Springfield, ILJanuary 07–9, 2015
Great Plains Growers ConferenceSt Joseph, MOJanuary 08–10, 2015
Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable ConferenceSavannah, GAJanuary 08–11, 2015
Minnesota Organic ConferenceSt Cloud, MNJanuary 9–10, 2015
Northeast Organic Farming Association of 
Massachusetts (NOFA–MA) Winter Conference
Worcester, MAJanuary 10, 2015
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group 
(SSAWG) Conference
Little Rock, ARJanuary 14–17, 2015
Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association 
(OPGMA) Congress
Sandusky, OHJanuary 19–21, 2015
NYSVGA Empire State Producers Expo (New York 
State Vegetable Growers Association)
Syracuse, NYJanuary 20–22, 2015
Indiana Horticultural CongressIndianapolis, INJanuary 20–22, 2015
Vermont Vegetable & Berry Growers 
Association (VVBGA)
Fairlee, VTJanuary 21, 2015
Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) ConferencePacific Grove, CAJanuary 21–24, 2015
Practical Farmers of IowaAmes, IAJanuary 23–24, 2015
Northeast Organic Farming Association of 
New York (NOFA–NY) Winter Conference
Saratoga Springs, NYJanuary 23–25, 2015
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Vegetable 
& Flower Seed Conference
Tampa, FLJanuary 24–27, 2014
Scotia Horticultural ConferenceGreenwich, NS, CanadaJanuary 26–27, 2015
Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable ConventionHershey, PAJanuary 27–29, 2015
Pacific Agriculture ShowAbbotsford, BC, CanadaJanuary 29–31, 2015
Guelph Organic ConferenceGuelph, ON, CanadaJanuary 29 – February 1, 2015
Texas Organic Farmers & Growers Association 
(TOFGA) Conference
San Antonio, TXJanuary 29 – February 01, 2015
Virginia Association for Biological Farming 
(VABF) Conference
Richmond, VAJanuary 30–31, 2015
Northeast Organic Farming Association of 
New Hampshire (NOFA–NH)
Concord, NHJanuary 31, 2015
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture 
(PASA) Farming for the Future Conference
State College, PAFebruary 04–07, 2015
Missouri Organic Association (MOA) ConferenceSpringfield, MOFebruary 05–07, 2015
OrganicologyPortland, ORFebruary 05–07, 2015
Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association 
(OEFFA) Conference
Granville, OHFebruary 13–15, 2015
Northeast Organic Farming Association of 
Vermont (NOFA–VT)
Burlington, VTFebruary 14–15, 2015
Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention (OFVC)Niagara Falls, ON, CanadaFebruary 18–19, 2015
Farm to Table New Mexico Organic Farming 
Albuquerque, NMFebruary 20–21, 2015
Georgia Organics ConferenceAthens, GAFebruary 20–21, 2015
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education 
Service (MOSES) Conference
Lacrosse, WIFebruary 26–28, 2015
Oregon Small Farms ConferenceCorvallis, ORFebruary 28, 2015
Northeast Organic Farming Association of 
Connecticut (NOFA–CT) Winter Conference
Danbury, CTMarch 7, 2015
Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing 
Conference & Trade Show
Sturbridge, MATBD
Mother Earth News Fair • AshevilleAsheville, NCTBD
Nevada Indoor Agricultural Conference (AG • NV)Las Vegas, NVTBD
International Seed Federation (ISF) World 
Seed Congress
Kraków, PolandMay 1–31, 2015
PNW Mother Earth News Fair (formerly in 
Puyallup, WA)
Albany, ORTBD

Friday, September 26, 2014

Winter Trials Summary: Lettuce, Greens, and Herbs

At the end of last year (2013) we conducted two winter trials on specific types of Lettuce, Greens, and Herbs at our Research Farm in Albion, Maine. Steve Rodrigue, the Johnny’s Product Technician who oversaw the trials, summarizes the process below:

The overwintering trials took place in two of our caterpillar tunnels at the Johnny’s Farm. The caterpillars we used were slightly different from those we offer via the catalog and online, because they have both end walls and side roll-up walls. With roll-up walls, we were able to ventilate much more throughout the trial - until the snow eventually prevented us from doing so. We had several small trials happening in the tunnels, which included  Salanova Lettuce, Baby Leaf Lettuce, Greens, Spinach, and Cilantro

   The Salanova performed very well and lasted into the New Year. For that trial, we had two different seeding dates at two weeks apart. The earlier seeding allowed for the plants to grow to a marketable size whereas the later seeding and transplanting did not mature before going into the Winter. This is another indication of how important it is to experimenting with several seeding dates.
   We had some issues with Bottom Rot with the Salanova, but we felt that was due to inadequate ventilation. Moving forward with our future overwintering trials, temperatures will be monitored several times throughout the day in order to best time the removal of the inner covers (agribon). Also, while the caterpillars did a fair job at protecting the crops through the harsh winter, we found them to be more of a challenge for adequate temperature regulation than a Hoophouse or High Tunnel. The short height and smaller volume of the Caterpillar Tunnel results in much larger fluctuations in temperatures, which means you have to do a lot more regulating of the temperatures.
  1. To learn more about our Research Department, head to the Johnny’s website 
  2. Explore information on our Breeding Department 
  3. Shop our Vegetable Seed line 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Banker Plants

Protected culture structures, such as hoophouses and greenhouses, are by nature limited in growing space. Many growers make the most of the available space by planting crops that have high returns; i.e., tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants. In a closed environment, it is also well worth it to put a little of the area aside for banker plants.

Any crop that provides a habitat for beneficial insects can be used as a banker plant. One of the greenhouses at Johnny’s research farm is dedicated to peppers and eggplants - both of which are susceptible to predation by aphids. In addition to the peppers and eggplants, space has been reserved for containers of oats which serve as banker plants by providing habitat for oat aphids. The oat aphids are released into the oats, which are then covered to allow the population of the pest to grow.

Why would someone release an aphid of any kind into their greenhouse and then build their population? The oat aphid is host specific to only oats; it won’t attack any other crop. At Johnny’s, once the oat aphid population has grown, Greenhouse Manager, Pam Carter, releases parasitic wasps that attack aphids of all kinds, including those that pose a danger to the peppers and eggplants. As a side benefit, the oats can also provide habitat for ladybugs, another beneficial insect and predator of aphids.

For those of you with concerns about the use of insecticides, banker plants are a practical alternative. In many cases the resulting natural controls by beneficial insects will reduce the need for insecticidal applications.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Beat the Heat - July 2014

The high temperatures we've been experiencing at the Research Farm in Albion, Maine have made for great conditions for our trial crops, but they've also challenged the Johnny’s staff to find ways to stay cool in the intense sun.

Here's a look at how we've tried to beat the heat recently:

Andrew and John Paul from the Johnny’s Research Department stay cool in their wide-brimmed hats, as they prune and trellis 2 successive rows of peppers. 

The other crops shown in the foreground of the greenhouse photo above, are eggplants. 

Jill is cultivating the soil at the edges of the plastic. 

The red umbrella was attached to the tractor using a factory kit with modifications.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

At the Research Farm - July 16, 2014

Johnny's Research Farm Shop Clerk, Bruce Webber, completes repairs and modifications to our Bedding Pro, a tractor attachment that shreds round bales.

Friday, July 4, 2014

What’s in Bloom at Johnny’s Research Farm - July 4th

     Almost everything is starting to bloom this week and we are all sensing the excitement as yet another wonderful growing season ramps up. Truthfully, there’s always a little anxiety about keeping up with it all, in our short growing season, but we always seem to manage to get the work done and have a little fun too.

     While walking the farm today and checking on how the trials are progressing, I thought it would be fun to collect some of the edible flowers in bloom.

All the edible flowers in bloom!
Flowers; violas, snapdragons, marigolds. Herbs; lavender, sage, chive, chamomile, thyme. Vegetables and fruit; strawberry and peas and field peas.

Lavender, sage, marigold, chamomile and pea flowers

     These edible beauties would make a perfect dessert garnish; strawberry, lavender, pea, and field pea flowers.

 Photo – herb flowers, lavender- useful in baking, deserts and garnish, chamomile for tea and garnish, thyme, sage and chives are great for incorporating into all kinds of dishes

    These herb flowers make a great addition to pizza. After pizza is cooked and while still warm, pull the flowers from their stems and sprinkle on pizza or most any savory dish for a beautiful and flavorful topping.

 Photo – Chive, thyme and sage flowers

     Other useful edible herb flowers (not yet in bloom here are basil, oregano, dill, rosemary and fennel.

Check out our edible flower techsheets at Johnnyseeds.com for a whole list of edible flowers with flavor descriptions and tips on how to use them:
- Flavors and Suggested Uses
- Recipes
- Additional Information