[Market-farming] A couple of questions for more experienced farmers

Alliums garlicgrower at earthlink.net
Thu May 22 07:51:06 EDT 2003

Hi, Folks!

Allan asked:

>I have a bunch of over-wintered leeks. Some of them are starting to 
>flower. Are they ruined as food leeks if they flower? Or will they 
>continue to 'fatten' after flowering? What should I do?

They are done as food leeks.  However, letting them flower (pollinators 
*love* the flowers -- mine are usually covered with several different 
species of bee) and set seed means you won't have to buy seed again for 
years -- leeks set *a lot* of seed.

Some leeks actually have beautiful flowers -- you might want to consider 
them as cut flowers if you've got too many for seed.  Or, just consider it 
a pollinator plant and don't remove them until the flowers are over.

>I have a lot of culinary sage, something I've never been blessed with 
>before. It's starting to bloom. Are the blue flower spikes worthwhile as 
>cut flowers? Should I have cut back the sage before it flowered? Should I 
>cut it back now that it has flowered?

You'll have to ask the cut flower people about using them fresh, but sage, 
thyme and oregano flowers are *fantastic* as dried flowered or for use as 
potpouri.  Oregano flowers, picked just before they open and then dried, 
are *very* hot as a dried flower for arrangements.  Of course, all of this 
depends on if you have a market.

>Similar question about oregano and thyme: do I have to keep them cut low 
>to get the most out of them, or can I let them get gangely?

You want to harvest them regularly.

>Now a more perenial question:
>I had a couple of shareholder volunteers working with me the other day. 
>One of them said 'I'd rather work naked than get any of that dirt on the 
>knees of my jeans." Well, it's fine with me if shareholders want to work 
>naked, but I'm not going to do it. I am wondering, though, if anyone on 
>this group has found a reliable way of removing soil stains from the knees 
>of jeans. Such information sure would be welcome in this household!

Excuse me while a rant a moment:

get this *ALL* the time from teenagers who have been sent to the garden for 
court-appointed community service.  I mean, what the heck do people THINK 
the substrate is that food is grown in?  They really expect to work 
outdoors and not get dirty!

Anyway, here is what has worked with picky teenagers:

1) Give them a nice wad of newspaper to put on their knees as they work in 
the garden.

2) Encourage people not to wear jeans -- I've found that old %100 polyester 
pants from the hospital thrift store are the perfect garden work pants -- 
the fabric is stronger (no need to patch the knees), washes out perfectly 
(no stains even after a year and a half of heavy use) and dries on the line 
much faster.  This doesn't work with the fashion-conscious, but those that 
really want to work don't usually mind spending $2 at the thrift store for 
pants to use while working in the garden that are strong and wash out 
instantly with no trace of what they have been doing! ;-)

3) Give really picky folks jobs that won't get them dirty -- maybe these 
folks should be harvesting and prepping the herb flowers for drying and 
potpourri! ;-)

Hope this helps!

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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