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High Mowing Organic Seeds
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The Seed Bin - June 2010 - High Mowing Organic Seeds' E-Newsletter

Greetings from Tom
Organic Varieties offered Only from High Mowing Seeds!

Trials Field Walks Schedule
Continuous Harvest - Holly Simpson
Research Report - The Importance of Nitrogen - Jodi Lew-Smith, Ph.D.
High Mowing Fall Countertop Collections

Excellent Summer Varieties - Available Organically Only from High Mowing Organic Seeds!

Sure, you can get some of these varieties elsewhere, but no other company offers these seeds organically! We're proud to offer these tasty summer varieties – Available Organically Only from High Mowing Organic Seeds!!

Organic Seeds - Magenta Lettuce
Magenta Lettuce 
Organic Seeds - Midnight Lightning Organic Zucchini
Midnight Lightning Zucchini 
Organic Seeds - Yukina Greens
Yukina Savoy Mustard
Organic Seeds - Green Finger Cucumber
Green Finger Cucumber

Greetings From Tom

Tom StearnsHello growers and gardeners!
Summer has arrived early up here in Vermont, just as spring did a few months back.  That puts us a bit ahead of where we usually are; some of our melons that have been under remay since early May are about ready to flower - almost 3 weeks ahead of usual!   The fireflies have also arrived 16 days ahead of any other year in the 10 years that I've been tracking it at my house.  I expect that there will be more surprises in store for us, but so far this is the best start to the growing season that I can remember.  So, I am excited.  But should I be terrified instead?  Is this spring too good to be true or indicating some sinister changes afoot?  Last night I had dinner with Bill McKibben, one of our nation's leading environmentalists and author, best known for his writings on climate change and as the organizer of www.350.org.  We talked about the excitement of such an extremely early spring as well as the concern about what it may indicate.  I am sure that many of you have experienced weird weather or changes to rainfall patterns as well. Whatever the weather does, it will no doubt be asking a lot of not only us farmers and gardeners, but also asking a lot of the seeds that we use.  How do you breed and select varieties for whatever weather is coming?  Resiliency in genetics and in all of our production methods will become increasingly critical.  How well will this work if it rains for a month, or if it is dry for a month or if it does both - back to back?  We are asking ourselves these kinds of questions in our seed production, trialing and breeding and would love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well.

Tom Stearns,
President & Founder

High Mowing Organic Seeds Trial Field Walks

First walk of the season on Wednesday, June 30th, 4 – 6 PM – Focus on lettuce, brassicas (spring planted) and herbs

Trial Field Walks - High Mowing Organic SeedsFor the second summer in a row, High Mowing Organic Seeds will host monthly “Trials Field Walks”, guided tours of the over 800 vegetable, herb and flower varieties being grown, compared and evaluated in the 3-acre HMS trials garden.  Join High Mowing Organic Seeds trials manager Heather Jerrett for a walk down the rows, to see and taste some of High Mowing’s newly-released, exclusive varieties, like King Crimson pepper and Midnight Lightning zucchini, along with labeled displays of many, many more varieties.  The High Mowing Organic Seeds trial garden serves as a rigorous testing ground for selecting stand-out varieties to make available to through the annual seed catalog.  Visitors will learn how data is collected to accurately describe and assess variety characteristics independently and in comparison to other varieties. 

There will be four monthly trial field walks during the 2010 season. Each session will focus on specific crop groups, but there will also be time to explore all the varieties being grown in the trials garden.  Join us to learn and share information about growing specific crops, handling pests and diseases, and for a sneak preview of new varieties that may soon be available as organic seed! 

Schedule of Walks Wednesday, June 30th, 4 – 6 PM – Focus on lettuce, brassicas (spring planted) and herbs

Wednesday, July 21st, 4 – 6 PM – Focus on cucumbers, beets, carrots, cabbages (fresh market), herbs, snap beans, okra, artichokes, and fava beans

Sunday, August 22nd, 10 AM – 2 PM – Highlighting summer crops, including cucumbers, summer squash, melons, watermelons, beans, beets, carrots, lettuce, fennel, snap beans, edamame, napa cabbage, tomatoes and peppers.  Note: This Trials Field Walk coincides with the Kingdom Farm & Food Days, a two-day event celebrating food and farming in the Northeast Kingdom. 

Wednesday, September 22nd, 4 – 6 PM – Focus on winter squash, carrots, beets, leeks, onions, lettuce and root crops

All Trial Field Walks are held at our trial garden on Marsh Road in Wolcott, VT. Directions.

Continuous Harvest: A Succession Planting "How-To" - Holly Simpson, Sales Associate 

Succession planting can play a significant role in maximizing the usable space in your garden.  As soon as you harvest one crop, the next crop can be seeded or transplanted in that soil.  Using the succession planting method can also extend your growing season in either spring or fall.  Identifying appropriate cool season and warm season crops is the first step to planning for the season.       

Organic Crop Succession PlantingVegetables such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas (shell, snap, or snow), salad green mixes, beets and scallions can be direct seeded in early spring, as they mature quickly.  Seedlings of broccoli, early cabbages, mustard greens and even kales and collards can be transplanted at this time too. Onion sets and potatoes also require cooler temperatures to become established.  All of the crops listed above can withstand a light frost.  Using row cover fabrics, cloches or cold frames insulate the soil to maintain a temperature of 50-55 degrees.

As soon as the cool season crops have been harvested and the last frost date has passed, pull out the plants and have your warm season crops ready to go.  Starting warm season seedlings of melons, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, chard, celery, summer and winter squash etc. to transplant will give you a head start.  In the late summer, one to two months before serious frosts (July to mid August in our area of northern Vermont), plant another round of cool season crops.  The following items will be fine with light to harder frosts: Beets, Chinese cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, endive, kale, kohlrabi, radishes, spinach, turnips and lettuce.

Also, for continuous harvests, another simple method of succession planting would be to make several plantings of the same crop.  For example, green beans can be planted every 2 weeks from mid-May thru mid-August or transplant broccoli and cauliflower starts every two to three weeks for sequential harvests. 

Make a chart with all the vegetables that you wish to produce more of.  Once you the chart is complete for the first season, you will find it easy to modify the following years.

Using either of these methods will feel very rewarding and allow you plenty of vegetables for fresh eating but also for canning and freezing to keep the harvest edible year round.


Research Report - The Importance of Nitrogen - Jodi Lew-Smith, Ph.D - Director of Research & Production

As the last of our seed crops go into the ground, I find I’ve been thinking about nitrogen. This is something of a problematic nutrient in organic systems, mostly because the obvious organic sources – compost and manure – contain so much phosphate that we quickly create situations of excessive phosphate levels, which can tie up other nutrients so they become unavailable to plants even when they’re technically present in the soils.

Nitrogen Fixing Organic Field PeasThe ideal organic solution to nitrogen fertilization, of course, is the planting of leguminous cover crops, which add nitrogen and also organic matter without adding phosphorous. However cover cropping isn’t any kind of a solution to last-minute requirements, and doesn’t work all that well as a side-dress for crops requiring heavier doses of nitrogen. For small areas of intensive cropping you can use blood meal, soybean meal, or alfalfa meal, but all three are generally pretty expensive to use on any kind of a larger scale.

The percent organic matter in soils also plays a key role in the formula, for each percent of organic matter releases a set amount of nitrogen over the course of a growing season. This means you can use your soil test to help calculate your nitrogen input required. This is useful, and building organic matter is always a key component of a good management strategy.

Since increasing the nitrogen in your soil through cover cropping requires advance planning, now is a good time to think about which nitrogen fixing cover crops fit into your particular crop rotations for this summer and fall, and into next season. 

Clover is a good nitrogen fixer, providing up to 100 lbs/acre of nitrogen, and its long taproots bring up nutrients from the depths of the soil. Clover is best planted in spring, summer, or fall and left overwinter, then incorporated after its second full season of growth.

Peas are another excellent source of nitrogen that can add 170 lbs/acre. Peas can be sown in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked and throughout the summer. The final sowing for overwintering or a fall cover should be about 6-8 weeks before first fall frost. Peas prefer cool and moist conditions and will survive through many frosts (winter kills at about 15°F).  Peas are often sown alongside oats, which act as a “nurse crop” for the peas to climb. 

Hairy Vetch is vigorous crop praised for its winter hardiness and nitrogen fixation. Best sown in the fall, it is often grown with winter rye as an overwintering cover that will regrow vigorously in the spring.

Farmstands & Retail Markets: High Mowing Countertop Collections Available For Fall

Fall Counter Top Collection - Organic SeedsHigh Mowing has attractive countertop collections that are nice displays for a late summer and fall vegetable seed offering.

An example of a great Fall Vegetables collection includes:

2620 Mesclun Mix                  2610 Gourmet Lettuce Mix
2520 Lacinato Kale                 2600 Rouge d’Hiver Lettuce
2260 Bull’s Blood Beet            2870 Pink Beauty Radish
2885 Giant Winter Spinach      2880 Bloomsdale Spinach

Or, contact Katie at katiel@highmowingseeds 802-472-6174 x 105 to find out what other varieties there are to choose from.

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Recipes from EatingWell Magazine!

EatingWell MagazineHigh Mowing Organic Seeds and EatingWell Magazine have teamed up this summer to share with you some great ideas in growing and cooking. Each vegetable or herb variety offered in the High Mowing Seeds Packet Collections is linked with a series of recipes from EatingWell highlighting that selection.  Using organic seeds from High Mowing ensures a successful beginning to your gardening adventures, and following an EatingWell recipe ensures a delicious journey’s end!  These mouth-watering recipes will help you enjoy your garden’s bounty!

EatingWell Recipes that feature High Mowing organic varieties!

Kingdom Farm and Food Days! Aug 21st - 22nd!

High Mowing Organic Seeds - Farm and Food Days(Formerly known as High Mowing Organic Seeds' Field Days) Come to a free, fun-filled event in celebration of good food and Vermont agriculture. Participating farms in the Northeast Kingdom will open their doors to the public. Our trials garden will be open for self-guided and hour-long guided tours throughout Sunday. Labeled displays of over 800 vegetable, herb and flower varieties will allow visitors to see a wide range of side-by-side comparisons of many popular and some yet-unreleased varieties. There will be live music, workshops on seed saving, pest and disease identification, and an evening bonfire! Kingdom Farm and Food Days Details.

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