• Sarah Holdner, left, and Brenna Morse-Fish in one of the hoop houses tending to the bedding plants that customers special ordered several weeks ago. PHOTO BY ANNIE CARD

Monday, May 07, 2018 11:17AM

By Rosaly Bass

In the last several days, spring looks like it’s here to stay. The last vestige of snow from the mid-April snow storm is finally gone, even the snow on the peak of Mountain Monadnock appears to be gone, as least from my vantage from the farm.

Robins are busily looking for earthworms. I watched some on my lawn the other day and marveled at how as they hop around, they cock their heads, then peck the ground and come up with a worm. Apparently, they know where to peck because they can hear them.

One of our hoop houses is bursting with beautiful plants to sell and to plant on our farm.

Another hoop house has beautiful tomato plants about 18’’ high, planted in the soil. These will begin bearing tomatoes in early July. Five of our six hoop houses will be planted in tomatoes. And there will be ½ acre of field tomatoes as well.

We have several acres of early seeds and plants in the ground already. These early crops include radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce, salad mix, broccoli, three different varieties of kale, bock choi and peas. We plan to have these crops available in the farm stand in June.

For more than four decades, one of our most successful crops has been our bedding plants which we well to home gardeners and even to other farmers. Customers begin picking up their plants on opening day, which is Friday, May 18th this year. Thousands of plants will go home with customers who pre-ordered them months ago, so we planted the exact plants they ordered. Thousands of other plants will go home with folks who did not pre-order, but come to the farmstand and select trays of plants from the unreserved extras that we always plant.

We have a very large selection of plants including vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers. Just take tomato plants alone, we have 23 different varieties, 6 different heirlooms, 5 regular tomatoes, 8 cherry tomatoes, 2 plum tomatoes and 2 tomatillos. We have a large selection of other vegetables and many varieties. As well we have a large selection of herb plants.

Beyond our vegetables, we have an acre of U Pick flowers. To accommodate different tastes and preferences for flowers, we grow many different types of annual flowers. This year we are offering 42 different kinds flowers for our customers and to plant in our U pick field. And with many of these flowers we grow many different varieties of each, for instance, 9 varieties of zinnias and 5 varieties of sun flowers to name a few.

We harden off all of our bedding plants so that when our customers take them home, they are ready to be planted once the ground is ready.(get them ready to be outside by introducing them gradually to outdoor sunlight and wind) before offering them for sale or planting them ourselves. They are ready to pop in the ground when you buy them.

Of course we are prejudiced about the value of being organic. We’ve been organic ever since we started growing and offering our plants for sale in 1973. We are the first surviving certified organic farm in New Hampshire starting in 1989. Our official number is 002. There was another farm 001.

I don’t remember what that farm was but it ceased to exist shortly after it came to be.

If you want truly healthy strong plants, I honestly believe that you should buy organically grown ones. The ones which are not grown organically will not be grown in real soil and are likely to have been treated with growth inhibitors to allow them to stay nice looking in their containers for a relatively long time, especially plants from big box stores. The problem with those plants is sometimes it takes days for the growth inhibiter to wear off before they can begin growing in your garden.

Rosaly Bass lives in Peterborough, up on a hill with a view of Rosaly’s Garden, the farm she started as a backyard garden in 1973. Rosaly’s Garden remain’s NH’s oldest and largest certified organic farm. She co-owns the farm with Matthew Gifford who has been the farm manager for many years and is carrying on Rosaly’s mission of providing safe, healthy food to friends and neighbors in the Monadnock Region. www.RosalysGarden.com