Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Potato Planting at the GCHA Gardiner Farm 2012

In the time honored tradition of Long Island Potato farming, farmer Tony Guarnaschelli and farmer Kerry Connolly demonstrated last Saturday how potatoes were planted with an authentic vintage tractor(1953) and the  very old potato planting attachment.
Thanks to farmer Tony, the aging farm equipment is in tip top working order.
These are the bushels of seed potatoes.   We needed a lot due to the popularity of "digging potatoes" at the annual pickle festival each September.
They are pre-treated to inhibit mold.
It was a perfect May morning and the planter was hitched up to the tractor.
Farmers Tony and Kerry use some twine to mark the first row.
 Farmer William helps to secure the other end, and
gets the first ride
digging up the first row.
 The seed potatoes are loaded into the truck,
along with the fertilizer bags.
 The width of the rows is taken.
 This is the guts of the planter.  The "arms" pick each potato from the hopper, and drop them into the soil while
the  cultivating wheels down below, cover the seed potatoes with soil.
Fertilizer is poured into its hopper,
 and seed potatoes into their hopper.

A few potatoes are thrown into the planter to get it started.

Planting Long Island potatoes, Yukon Gold.

These rows of seed potatoes will grow into fine potatoes which the children at the pickle festival will thrill to pick out of the farm's soil and bring home for dinner that night. 
Our director, Deanne Rathke,  gets a ride too.

Click there to see Tony using the potato digging machine at the annual Greenlawn-Centerport Pickle Festival.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Azaleas at the Jarvis House Garden May 2012

Right now the Azaleas in the Jarvis House garden are really at their peak.
All of these plants were purchased from a backyard gardener and azalea breeder.
The gentleman had died before I came along, and his wife was selling what was left.
The plants were in their plastic pots, and just left as if the old gardener had gone in for the day.
Each payday from then on anything that still had a leaf on it was grouped in a pile and bought without any knowledge of the color or nature and habit of the growth of the plant.
The azaleas were just planted around the garden boarders.
Now thirty years later, and after transplanting and moving the shrubs around a bit,
this is what resulted.
I found out by trial and error which plants were tree-like, which were low growing,
which were unusual,
which were loose,
which were wild,

which were compact,

which liked to cascade,
which had very deep colors,
which had buds like roses,
and which were  just lovely.
This is the first group of azaleas from a different viewpoint, which is the other thing I learned.  Azaleas like to take on their own shapes.  You can prune them a little, but they have a destiny of their own, so don't mess with it too much.  Click on the photos to make larger images. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New York Thrives New Shop in Town

There's a new garden shop in town, New York Thrives. Lee Keil has put together an array of items that promotes "Self reliance, sustainability, and preparedness."

 You can find rain barrels,
 units that promote the growth of worms, the most important animals on earth,

 solar reflector ovens,
freeze dried sustenance, 
 bee hives,
and chicken coops.
 By far the most inventive thing that I saw were two products that we use every day, wrapping paper and mailing boxes.
Except that these paper items are impregnated with flower and tree seeds.  As they are recycled they self plant.  Wow what a fantastic idea!
Lee has organic plant starts,
and "founding fathers" garden books.
There is also a selection of heirloom seeds.  After working on gardens since my childhood, I have learned that some of the less cultivated plants are far more hardy, and it is also nice to perpetuate historic gardens with appropriate plantings.

New York Thrives is located at 102A Park Avenue, Huntington, NY  11743, 631-923-0018.  They also have a face book page.  newyorkthrives.com