By Robin Ostfeld,
Blue Heron Farm
Everyone who has the opportunity should grow some of his or her own food. Even if it’s just a container with herbs or a single tomato plant, it’s worthwhile to grow something. Of course, I’m biased. Plants play a huge role in my own life, being both my livelihood and my hobby. But there are so many reasons to get your hand dirty!
One morning last summer, a friend brought a copy of the magazine Discover to the farm. In it was an article that linked contact with soil bacteria to the release of serotonin in the brain. In other words, inhaling or touching the soil bacteria (called mycobacterium vaccae) can cause a peaceful state of mind or, in a depressed person, an alleviation of the symptoms of depression. Wow! A new reason to garden! Not only is it good for the environment (there’s no food more local than that which you pick from your own backyard) and personal health (from the standpoint of the exercise involved and the fact that fresh picked produce has the highest amount of nutrients), but now it’s been shown to promote mental health as well! Of course, I knew it all along.
By Kristie Snyder,
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
—James Oppenheim, from a 1911 poem supporting a Lawrence, Massachusetts textile worker’s strike
The workers that James Oppenheim’s poem paid tribute to were mostly immigrant women, who fed their families mainly—and meagerly—on a diet of bread. They were striking, ultimately unsuccessfully, against a pay cut. Starving was a very real threat; presumably they were less worried about their hearts. But the “bread and roses” quote endures—a testament to the power that the beauty of flowers holds.
Today, it’s South American flower workers, most of whom are also women, who might well be seeking “bread and roses.” Amy Garbincus, a flower and vegetable farmer at Three Sisters Farm and GreenStar Wellness staffer, says she is often asked, “Who cares if flowers are organic?”
By Stephanie Van Parys
Summer is only four months away, so it’s not too early to think of your summer garden. After making a list of what veggies you want to grow next summer, the next step is to figure out what you can start early by growing seedlings. Let me give you a few reasons why it’s worth the effort to grow your own vegetable starts:
You control the varieties and quality of the transplants going into your garden based on your own selections, not what the local garden center has available;
- You control the timing of when you want to plant your garden;
- More plants for less money;
- Preservation of heirloom and rare varieties;
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New in Produce
|Get Your Gardening On!|
If you survived the winter, it's time to think gardening. We've got local and organic seeds and soil mixes for your garden.
This winter was something special, wasn't it? Our lowest high was 1 and our lowest low was -13, but we made it! Spring is officially here! We made it through the ice and cold and snow and I think it's pretty much official — we live on Hoth. But April brings forth new bloom and opportunity to fill your gardens with plants and food and flowers and beauty. Blue Heron Farm seedlings will be here soon, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, lettuce, kale, chard, collards, pansy, viola, and lots of perennial herbs! If you prefer the DIY approach to growing seedlings, April is the time for starting warm-weather plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. We have organic and local seeds along with McEnroe potting soil and growing mix, so all of your growing needs are covered. Enjoy the nice weather while it's here, because we'll all be riding Tauntauns in four feet of snow again before we know it.