January 17, 2017

Winter Weather at the Farm

Today at my Bedford, New York farm, temperatures are expected to hit the high 30s with a strong chance of rain in the afternoon.

So far, this winter has been very erratic - days have been cold and blistery, as well as warm and spring-like. We’ve also had some snow. Whenever I am not traveling or needed for an early morning appearance, I always try to tour the farm before work, especially after a storm. I like to visit all the animals, assess the property and take various photographs to share with all of you.

The following images are from a recent snowfall. The weather system was light and short-lived, but it left a beautiful coating of powdery, white snow in the landscape. Fortunately, we've been ready for winter for quite some time - plants were all tucked away in temperature controlled greenhouses, while shrubs, hedges and cold-sensitive garden containers were tightly wrapped in burlap. Enjoy this gallery.

January 16, 2017

Pruning and Tying the Roses in My Garden

During a break in the cold, winter weather, we decided it was a good time to do some work in the flower garden.

My gardener, Wilmer, started the task of pruning and tying the climbing roses, several of which are located on tall tower trellises - these climbers are thriving in this space. My head gardener, Ryan, helped to prune the rose bushes on the perimeter of the garden.

Pruning is about more than just looks; proper pruning improves the health of the plants, prevents disease, and encourages better flowering. There are different pruning strategies for different times of the year, but overall the goals are the same - to control shape, to keep the bushes fresh and open, and to allow for better air circulation through the center of the plants. I've grown roses for more than 25-years. Many of my rose varieties are prized for their petal formations and fragrances, so maintenance is very important to keeping them healthy and productive. Here are some photos of our rose pruning process - enjoy.


January 14, 2017

Feeding My Plants Compost Tea

Every two to three weeks, we feed many of my plants a refreshing drink of tea.

Feeding plants compost tea is a wonderful way to provide wholesome and organic nourishment. Using compost made right here on my farm, my gardeners, Ryan and Wilmer, mix up a batch and feed the plants in the greenhouses. Compost tea is a well-balanced, organic supplement made by steeping aged compost in water. It improves soil structure, reduces water stress, and is an ideal alternative to toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers. I've been using compost tea for years. I have two brewing systems from Growing Solutions, Inc. in Eugene, Oregon, and they both work very well - just combine a few items to create the appropriate "brewing" atmosphere and leave the cycle to run overnight - so easy, and so good for a wide variety of crops, including fruit trees, vegetables, turf, landscapes, and indoor plants.

Here are some photos - enjoy.