Several Days Of Rain

Picture 1121We have had several days of rain and cooler temperatures. The rain has been needed, the gardens and woods have been very dry. We did manage to get all the squash, tomatoes, and eggplant in before the rain. Also, new rows of carrots and greens. The last of the peppers are in the greenhouse, happy to be under cover and a bit warmer. I have to admit we are a bit happy to have a few days of rain that forces us out of the gardens, keeps us from mowing lawns, and allows us to tend to some other less physical chores. Chores like baking pie! Rhubarb pie ! The rhubarb is giant right now and ready for picking. I don’t often make strawberry rhubarb pie, just straight rhubarb, the way my grandmother made it. I’ll share the recipe as best I can. It’s not written down, just in my head from years of making it along with her. So here it goes…….
First I make the crust, keeping it in the fridge to chill until I’m ready to roll it out. I use about 5 cups of chopped rhubarb ( cut into 1 inch chunks). In a large bowl, I mix the rhubarb, two cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, about 1 tsp. cinnamon. I toss this around using my hands so that the rhubarb is well coated in flour and sugar. Then I add 3 well beaten eggs and mix this all together. Roll out your bottom crust, fill with the rhubarb, dot with butter, and then cover with top crust. I always bake pies for the first 15 minutes in a hot 400 degree oven, then turn it down to 350, for another 35 minutes or so. Let it cool quite well before slicing so the pie filling firms up a bit. I know that people who are more familiar with the strawberry/ rhubarb version are always quite surprised at how nice this pie is without the addition of a sweeter fruit( strawberry). Try it, and save your strawberries for shortcake( or better yet, make both kinds!).
In addition to all the rhubarb that’s being picked, a bounty of lettuce and greens are being harvested. Every meal now includes fresh greens. We’ve waited so long for this!Picture 1136

When Spring Takes Her Time

Picture 480There is a lot to be said for the kind of spring that evolves slowly. Why rush into things? All the early blooming plants are allowed center stage this time of year, no worry about competing with the large leaved hostas or the really dramatic flowering plants. Now is the time to be a simple and beautful Hepatica nobilis. You wouldn’t believe how many times we stop to admire this little gem.
Though the lingering cold temperatures are holding back the growth of many plants …..they are all beginning to make their appearance.
Picture 481 We love this ornamental rhubarb, Rheum palmatum ‘Red Herald’. In the spring it has very red/purple cut leaves that really stand out in the early spring garden. By summer, the tops of the leaves are green, but the undersides remain a very deep red. It has tall spikes of pink flowers, and reaches an average size of 3’x5’wide. Our customers are always struck by its size and color. It really makes a statement……but no more than our beloved Hepaticas.

Our Average-Sized Helper


And our mystery guest is……. Anna! (pictured here with her new favorite dog, Miller):


Anna comes to us from New York City, where she is a grad student in creative writing. She found us through, a website dedicated to bringing people who are interested in learning about organic farming together with the farms that appreciate an extra set of hands. Although she has never lived in a rural environment she is really enjoying Fernwood, where she does weeding, planting, watering, seeding, and helping us take care of our chicks, sheep, and new piglets.

She says, “I am working harder physically than I ever have to in New York– I am used to sitting behind a desk with a computer or surrounded by books and notebooks with a cup of coffee, which is a very different kind of work . I am also a teacher, which, while being draining, is not exactly physical either. Now here I am digging in the dirt for half a day and it’s amazing! Yesterday I got to weed around the hosta plants in the nursery, reading all of the plant variety names– there are like a hundred different kinds of hostas! Some of them have little ripples in the leaves, some have golden-edged leaves, some are huge and bright green, some tiny and striped– it’s fascinating. I am learning a lot every day.”

Actually, Anna, we have over 300 hosta varieties. “Oh. ok.”

As Anna slips into a rain poncho and rubber boots and skips over to the nursery to recount the hostas, let us fill you in on other Fernwood news. The Azaleas, Jack in the Pulpits and Lady Slippers are in bloom, as is the Amsonia.

Many of our customers have been curious about this unusual plant:


This Himalayan Ornamental Rhubarb, only 2 years old, is over 5 feet tall and sports a head of pink flower over deep-ridged, sprawling leaves. We love this addition to our garden and hope you can come see it for yourself.