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 ( 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 ( with your thoughts.

Lettuce grown
under the lights this spring