Peregrine Farm News Vol. 12 #16, 6/25/15

What’s been going on!

So let’s talk about something that actually likes the heat, Lisianthus.  Originally native to the prairies of Oklahoma and Texas, the Prairie Gentian knows something about hot conditions.  Then the Japanese flower breeders have taken it and worked their magic with stem length and many color and petal variations but this is not an easy crop to grow.  As one of the first to grow it in this area, since 1987, we have learned a thing or two about it.

Not all flower crops are created equal.  Some are easy to grow like zinnias and sunflowers, either from seed or transplant they grow like weeds, don’t need to be trellised and give consistent results.  Lisianthus in many ways is difficult.  The single hardest thing is producing good transplants which are started from almost invisible seeds and then can take up to 20 weeks to grow big enough to move out to the field and then you can hold them too long and it will stunt the whole crop, so many people just by expensive plugs but we grow our own.

Once moved to the field they initially grow slowly with only a tiny rosette of leaves until they begin to send up long slender stems with all the flower buds at the top, creating a very top heavy plant that has to have support.  So we work hard to keep the beds very clean and weed free with leaf mulch and many hand weedings and then build a trellis, with lots of posts to hold the netting that will keep them from falling over.  Of course you can imagine how cutting flowers out of the netting can only be a bit frustrating and slow.

If all is done right not only can we get multiple stems from each plant but it will regrow and give us a second smaller crop in the fall.  Besides the beauty of Lisianthus, they have about the longest vase life of any cut flower.  All of the above combined should lead to stems worth $3 a stem or more but because there are a fair number of producers of it in the market it remains a bargain but not all do as good a job as Betsy does.  Enjoy it over the next month while it is available.

Picture of the Week

IMG_2790

A near perfect crop of Lisianthus

What’s going to be at the market?

Warm season flowers here we go!  Fabulous Lisianthus in blue, white and coffee this week.  The Gloriosa Daisies and Zinnias in bright colors.  Annabelle Hydrangeas.  The tall and stately Safflower.  Sunflowers.  Fragrant Oriental Lilies in pink and white.  Of course lovely mixed bouquets.

The Tomatoes are here!  Starting with Big Beefs in red, Cherokee Purples and Orange Blossoms.  There will be some of all the rest of the colors- pink German Johnsons, Green Cherokees, yellow Kellogg’s Breakfast and Azoychkas and the bi-color Striped Germans.  The beginning of Sungolds, SunMix, Chocolate, Blush and Indigo Cherry tomatoes.

Nice heat tolerant lettuces- Red and Green Summer Crisp and a bit of Little Gem too.  Maybe the last of the Lacinato Kale.  Basil, Cilantro and Italian Parsley.  More Cucumbers.  Shishito peppers for appetizers and salads.  The last of the Carrots.  Fresh Long Red of Tropea (Torpedo) Onions also great for grilling.  More Baby Leeks.  Red onions for slicing.  The new hit crop Callaloo, Jamaican spinach, will be back on Saturday.  A cooking green for hot weather!

As a reminder if there is anything that you would like for us to hold for you at market just let us know by e-mail, by the evening before, and we will be glad to put it aside for you.

Hope to see you all at the market!

Alex, Betsy and Jennie

If you know folks who you think would be interested in news of the farm then please feel free to forward this to them and encourage them to sign up at the website.

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