Newsletter: February 1, 2013




Dear Spring Ledge Farm customer,

            Winter Market  this Friday Feb. 1st from 3-6 pm and Saturday the 2nd from 10-1.

Impatiens alert!

     During the winter months, we attend vegetable and greenhouse seminars and
meetings.  One of this year’s hot topics is about Impatiens Downy Mildew.  This is a devastating impatiens disease which is forecast to be in our neck of the woods in 2013.

    Impatiens Downy Mildew is a major disease in England and elsewhere in Europe.  It was first noticed in U.S. production greenhouses in 2004 and in the landscape in 2011.   Impatiens Downy Mildew is a wind-borne and water-borne disease meaning that spores can infect impatiens in the garden by water splash or from up to 20 miles away carried on wind streams.

    Symptoms start with subtle leaf yellowing and progress to include downward curling of leaves, stunting and then a white coating on the undersides of leaves.  Click here for the latest fact sheet.

     Eventually, the entire plant succumbs and all the flowers and leaves drop, followed by stem collapse.  The disease affects the common garden Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) as well as Balsam Impatiens (I. balsamica).

     Here at Spring Ledge, we are cutting back on the number and variety of impatiens we will grow and offer for 2013.  Over the next few months, these newsletters will serve to update gardeners with the latest news.  We will provide tips on protecting your impatiens plantings, although it is clear from the plant pathology experts that there is little the home gardener can do to keep the disease out of their impatiens beds and containers.

     We are increasing the variety and availability of shade garden alternatives, including New Guinea Impatiens (which are not susceptible to Impatiens Downy Mildew), Torenia, Coleus, Hypoestes (polka dot plant) & Begonias.  We will highlight these alternatives over the coming season.   Stay tuned.


  Lamb cuts:  

        Spring Ledge lamb now available in various cuts and sizes.  We pasture-raise the lamb here on the farm, right in the center of town.  During the summer and fall, the lambs are treated to leftover produce (including delicious ‘Providence’ sweet corn) and grazed from one area of the pasture to another using portable fence.  This allows them to have fresh grass all season and encourages healthy growth of the pasture lands.

 Lamb Loin Chops are delicious.   Here is a recipe for that particular cut.  Fresh rosemary is complimentary with each lamb cut purchase.

      All of these cuts are frozen in vacuum-sealed packages and processed at Westminster Meats, a USDA certified packing house in Westminster, Vt.  Here is their website.



I received a query from a frugal aunt about her paperwhite bulbs.  To protect the innocent, let’s just call her “Aunt Judy”.  ”Aunt Judy” would like to save these bulbs for another ten months and have them bloom again.  ”Aunt Judy” does not want to buy more bulbs next year, (Actually, I think ”Aunt Judy” won them at a Christmas luncheon.)   ”Aunt Judy” can’t count on winning the Christmas luncheon table decorations every year, or people will start to talk – its a small town!

       The paperwhites have grown tall, bloomed and the flowers are now senescing.  What should ”Aunt Judy” do to keep them alive and re-bloom next year?

       Like all forced bulbs, paperwhites use up their food stores from their bulb in order to flower.  The low light of winter coupled with low light conditions in a home, means there is little photosynthesis.  The bulb plant is not receiving much energy from sunlight and is using up the energy stored in the bulb to bloom.   In order to keep the bulbs for another blooming cycle, ”Aunt Judy” needs to provide energy to the plant and allow the plant to replenish the reserves in the bulb.

        First, ”Aunt Judy” should cut off the blooms when they are done.  The leaves need to stay intact, even if they are a bit yellow at the top.  These leaves will gather light and produce food.  Grow the paperwhites in as much light as possible until the leaves turn brown.  ”Aunt Judy” should continue to water these bulbs.  The green leaves may last up to six months.  Once the temperatures warm above freezing, the plant can be placed outside.

         After the leaves die off, ”Aunt Judy” should stop watering the bulbs and allow them to rest in a cool spot.  About six weeks before ”Aunt Judy” wants them to bloom again, she should place them in a bright spot and start to water them again.  ”Aunt Judy” will likely see new growth sprouting up through the top of the bulb.

        Their re-bloom will depend on how much energy their leaves accumulated and stored in the bulb during the previous growing season.  Many times, they will bloom again, although I’ve had an instance where paperwhites sent up leaves for a second season, but no blooms.  If you are frugal like ”Aunt Judy” (and your’s truly), its worth a try.

A few tips for ”Aunt Judy” on growing paperwhites:

- Plant the bulbs about 4 weeks before you want them to bloom.

- Keep the bulbs in a cool spot with as much direct light as possible.  This will keep them from growing quite so tall.

- ”Aunt Judy” could also share some of her vodka tonic with the paperwhites.   (adding a bit of alcohol to the water actually does keep them a bit shorter as well as helping keep the water fresh.  1 capful of rubbing alcohol (or vodka) per quart of water works well).  Read all about this Cornell study on the effects of alcohol on paperwhite bulbs.

        We do have paperwhite bulbs available at the farmstand;

 in honor of ”Aunt Judy”s frugality, they are on special this week – 25% off. 


          CSA Farm Shares - 

Mini Loans earn 5% interest.  

            CSA Farm Shares for 2013 are now available.  Receive 5% return on your investment when you sign up before February 28th and pay with cash or check.

    Click here, email or stop in at the farmstand for more info.  Thanks to everyone who has joined the CSA for 2013!  Receipts and cards are in the mail.



 Kearsarge Valley Transition Initiative:

 Presentation on Permaculture Tonight!   Friday, Feb. 1st.


High Mowing Seeds.   Now available at the farmstand.Spring is coming! 


As always, please let me know of any questions or comments by e-mailing me at


Greg Berger


       Available this week:Elizabeth’s Eggs – fresh organic eggs from Newbury, NH.5 varieties potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, micro mix, rosemary, cyclamen, pet grass, onions, artisan breads from the Good Loaf & Red Hen Bakeries, McNamara Dairy, Star Lake Beef, winter squashes, Cutting Farm Honey, Home Hill Inn Pies, Pesto, Margarita’s Salsa, Vt. and NH Cheeses.



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Winter Stand Hours:
Fridays 3-6
Saturdays 10-1

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