Monday, June 13, 2016

Potato Planting Crew

Arthur Metzger, Wanda Metzger, Barbara Heimel
& Jerry Phillips
Spring is always a busy season for farmers, leaving no time to catch up on blogging. When you're racing the clock to get all the plantings in the right spaces to take advantage of our short growing season, spending time taking and editing photos and sitting down to write a post, seems impossible.

On the Saturday afternoon that the potatoes were all in the ground, I gathered the crew for a quick picture. Our nonagenarian mothers have, for many years, been our potato cutters and this year was no exception as they sat in the doorway of the shady shop chatting and preparing hundreds of pounds of certified organic potato seed for the planter. We couldn't do it without them!

This year our neighbor, Jerry Phillips, rode the potato planter as it deposited its seeds in the waiting warm soil.

Potato planting has been checked off the to-do list for 2016.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ready To Grow For You!


Certifed Organic Tomato Plants
Spending Their Last Few Days in High Tunnel
(Note the apple trees in blossom outdoors)
Friday's the day! The Potter County Farmers' Market opens for the season and Metzger Heritage Farm will be there with our beautiful tomato and pepper plants - all certified organic.

Being Certifed Organic (through PCO) ensures that our practices meet the exacting standards to bear the USDA Certifed Organic label. Starting with the seeds, through the various seed starting and potting mixes to the OMRI certified peat pots, NOTHING in the process includes herbicides, pesticides and the other chemicals that most commercial growers use.

We've selected the varieties that are especially suited to our growing conditions with shorter seasons and other adaptations. In addition to the varieties listed in our flyer, we also have extras of the heirloom and other varieties we grow on the trellis system in our high tunnel. If you're interested in those varieties, please either call or email for information.

While the pepper plants are still a bit small,
they are adding new growth daily
To reserve your plants, please call us at 814-274-8004 or email metzgerfarm@gmail.com. Reserving ahead of time ensures we'll have the ones you need in time for planting.
See you at the Farmers' Market on Friday, May 27 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Won't these look great in your garden spot?


Monday, May 9, 2016

Certified Organic Garden Plants For Sale

Certified Organic Tomato Plants
As advertised, Metzger Heritage Farm has USDA Certified Organic Tomato and Pepper Plants available for sale. Some varieties could be ready to go this week while others will benefit from another week or two in the protected greenhouse.

And, as of last evening (Tuesday, May 10), Verizon has repaired our telephone line. The answering machine is ready to take your calls if we're out in the greenhouse. Also, email is good at metzgerfarm@gmail.com

These tomatoes are about four inches high this morning
They have been grown in organic seed starting mix and organic compost potting soil in individual peat pots. These plants are raised in a heated greenhouse space with supplemental lighting. They are healthy and sturdy. We have taken care to selected varieties with a short growing season to help ensure success in your home garden. We are offering discount for the purchase of six or more plants.


We planted the first of our tomatoes in the high tunnel on Wednesday. They have great root systems and have already begun their ascent up the twine.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Certified Organic Plants

As luck would have it, our telephone is having its annual hiatus just after we placed a couple of advertisements to promote the beautiful certified organic tomato and pepper plants we've been lovingly nurturing for the past several weeks. Telephone troubles along our rural route are common and often take several days to resolve even when Verizon isn't on strike.

If you've landed here to find out more about our tomato and pepper varieties, you'll find detailed descriptions here and here.

Email us at metzgerfarm@gmail.com or try the cell phone (814) 335-6561 and leave a message there because it doesn't dependably work here at the farm. We'll do our best to get in touch to fill your order.

If you order 6 or more plants, we'll give you a 10% discount on your order.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Vicissitudes Of Farming

Our friend and fellow certified organic farmer Denny Reynolds of Quest Farm gently reminded me last week that farming is far from an exact science.
You might think you have put all the pieces together when one unexpected variable (like a cold snap, a dry spell, an invasion of insects or bad seed or --- you name it) can change the outcome.
So then, what explains the utter failure of my first crop of lettuce starts? I planned for more than 50 lettuce plants and what did I put in the ground? Only 7! I have no good way to explain why the seeds did not germinate. Did I allow the seeds to get too warm in the germination chamber? Did I water the soil too much? Did they get too cold?
No answers for my questions. The outcome is that I probably won't have much lettuce to sell when the Potter County Farmers' Market opens on May 27. The good news is that the second planting (ready to be transplanted today) grew beautifully so by the second or third week of the Market, I will have a continuing supply of the red and green leafy heads my customers appreciate.

An early planting of leaf lettuce
mix we've been enjoying since
late winter. Grown under the
lights in the greenhouse.


Friday, April 29, 2016

It's All In The Seeds

The USDA Certified Organic tomato and pepper plants we are offering for sale this spring began their lives as certified organic seed. Each seed was nestled in Organic Mechanics Seed Starting Mix and transitioned to OMRI certified peat pots filled with Vermont Compost Fort Vee Potting Soil.

Photo taken April 22,
just after transplant 
We've been growing a garden for many years and began growing for market relatively recently. While we always followed "organic" techniques, it wasn't until we joined the Path To Organic program from Pa. Department of Agriculture that we began to understand how this way of farming begins with the seeds.

When faced with certified organic and conventional seeds in the colorful displays that spring up everywhere just after the Christmas decorations come down, a look at the price difference often makes your buying decision more difficult.

As with any certified organic product, certified organic seeds are grown without synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. What I hadn't realized was that seed producers in conventional settings are permitted to use more of those harmful substances because the plant is not intended for the food supply.

The Organic Seeds Growers and Trade Alliance reports that conventional seed production allows for heavier application of chemical pesticides as the crops intended for seed are in the ground for much longer periods.


Seeds bearing the USDA Certified Organic label must be grown at an organic-certified farm with inputs (fertilizer, pest controls, etc.) approved for certified organic production. Those seeds must then be packaged and handled by a certified facility.

We are excited to be offering to our community the choice of USDA Certified Organic vegetable starts. Remember that we have selected tomato and pepper varieties  best suited to our northern climate. Call (814-274-8004) or email (metzgerfarm@gmail.com) to reserve your plants as soon as possible as quantities are limited (especially sweet peppers).

Aren't they gorgeous?
Here are a couple of links with more information about the differences between organic and conventional seeds.





Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Farmers' Market Preparations

I have lived in Potter County long enough to know that winter weather will find its way back to us for at least one more visit in April. There's snow on the ground and this morning, it was 11 degrees here on Crandall Hill.

Peas planted on Good Friday
under blanket of snow on April 5
Brave garlic peeking out through the
snow on April 5

This morning the sun is shining and in the heated (gulp!) greenhouse, I was greeted by newly-emerged parsley and broccoli. By day's end, the eggplants will be ready come out of the germination chamber into the light.
Arthur has been building us a new light cart for the plants with the launching of our certified organic pepper and tomato plant endeavor. That gives us additional space under the lights for your plants, providing them with the best possible start before being planted in your garden.

Ready for the grow lights
Our Farmers' Market growers meet at the Coudersport Public Library this evening. We're wrestling with figuring out the best time to hold the market each week for the convenience of both the vendors and the customers. It looks like we really need to stick to Fridays as the day but would a later start benefit you (looking at beginning at 3:00 p.m. and running to 6:00 p.m.)? For the last few years, we've been open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. If you haven't weighed in, please comment here or email me (metzgerfarm@gmail.com) with your thoughts.

Lettuce grown
under the lights this spring