Last pick-up for the year!

Hello gardeners! This week is the last pick-up of the season, whew! You will be getting two varieties of tomatoes (Washington cherry and stupice), two varieties of cucumbers (one slicing and one pickling) , three varieties of peppers (2 hot and 1 sweet), basil, marigolds and winter rye.  That totals 10 different varietis of plants.  I have combined the planting information for the peppers and cucumbers, as it is the same for all varieties, you will find it after a brief description of each variety.

If you want more information on any variety, please go to Johnny’s seeds.  While we try to provide you with as much information as possible, we may not have every spec. for each plant.  Please take the time to become an informed gardener!  There are several high country gardening guides available in Native Plant and Seed.

Washington Cherry Tomato:  At last, the fantastic cherry tomato! It will make a fine addition to your tomato plate this summer. This variety was developed by Washington State University, you should enjoy a high-yield from this guy. They are determinate, which means these compact plants won’t need much for staking. Fruits are round and deep red; “thick-walled, meaty, and flavorful, with good keeping quality on or off the vine” (Johnny’s website).

  • Spacing: 12-24″
  • Light: full sun
  • Tips:  To protect your tomatoes from blossom-end rot, include calcium in your soil regime and maintain steady soil moisture.

Stupice Tomato: This lovely Czechoslovakian heirloom will provide you with fist sized (medium variety) globes of goodness.  As a short season tomato, Stupice performs well in Northern climates. Stupice tastes yummy as a fresh addition to a salad, salsa, canned or dried.  Its a determinate variety which will reach 4-6’… so be sure to stake these babies!

  • Spacing: 18-24″
  • Light: full sun
  • Tips: Pluck early tomato flowers to stimulate root growth and plant girth.  Don’t be fooled by pretty flowers… too early and they will be the early end of your tomato.  Also…  if you find your tomato to be too leggy, you can always add more soil.  Simply snip the lower-most leaves off the stem and add more soil.  Tomatoes will generate lateral roots making a stronger and stockier plant.
  • Companion planting:  basil, parsley, carrot, mint, onions.  Keep away from cabbage, corn and fennel. (same for both tomatoes)

Northern pickling cucumber:  This is also a high-yielding variety, and is also good for salads if you aren’t into pickling. Fruits should set heavily on compact vines.  If you are limited for space, these would do well in a container.  See below a short list of canning blogs.

Marketmore 76 (slicing cucumber):  This variety will yield long, slender, and dark green fruits about 8-9″. May bear late, but will have available fruit for picking for a long time.  This variety will perform best trellised.   Trellised cucumbers produce more visible fruit and save space!  It will wander long and far otherwise and the fruits can end up hiding.

  • Spacing: 12″ apart; be careful not to disturb roots while transplanting. Its a good practice to just cut the 6-packs off  instead of trying to squeeze the seedling out.
  • Light: It’s complicated. Cucumbers, in general, require less light than do tomatoes and peppers, see “tips” for more details on this
  • Harvest: harvest daily once the plant starts fruiting
  • Companion planting: nasturtiums, peas, beets, radishes, corn and sunflowers.  Keep away from potatoes, pungent herbs and fennel.
  • Tips: Cucumbers are a tad-bit on the finicky side. They like a combination of heat, moisture, well-drained soil and shade. Not too hot… not too cold.  They can be grown under corn or sunflowers to obtain these conditions. Or, you can nestle lettuce and carrots throughout a cucumber plot. If possible, plant your cucumbers on the north side of the garden.  Try transplanting in the evening between 5 and 7 when the temperature has cooled a bit.

Early jalapeno (hot): This variety will yield a short fruit about 2-2 1/2″ x 1″, shaped like a sausage and sausage-shaped. They will start out dark green and will change to red.

Joe’s long cayenne pepper (hot): True to its name, this pepper is 8-10″ long and skinny, it turns bright red and is good for homemade hot sauce and dries well for ristras. It can be dried and chopped up hot pepper flakes. Here is a link on how to make ristras and chili sauce:

This variety of pepper may need some trellising.

The story behind the name and the pepper: Joe Sestito of Troy, NY informs that the original seeds for Joe’s Long came from Calabria, Italy, and were passed along to him by his brother who participates in an active Italian seed-sharing community in Toronto.

Yankee bell pepper (sweet): This pepper was developed with northern-clime growers in mind. The fruit will be 3 to 4-lobed, medium in size, and green or red.

  • Spacing: 12-18″ apart
  • Light: here comes the sun…bring it on!
  • Harvest: To encourage more fruits, pick the first peppers promptly as soon as they reach full size.
  • Companion planting: Plant next to basil, onions, parsley and okra.  Stay away from fennel.

Genovese Basil: this slow bolting traditional Italian basil will tickle your taste buds as an addition to pasta sauce, (tomato/mozzarella/ basil) h’orderve, and homemade pesto!

  • Spacing: 2-8″
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest: pluck leaves as you please for use.  Taking top leaves will stimulate lower growth making for a bushier plant.  Over harvest will make a tall lanky plant.  
  • Tips: this savory annual will need to be resown every year.  You can collect your own seeds if you let the plant complete it’s life cycle.
  • Companion planting:  lettuce, tomatoes (said to improve growth and flavor).  Repels flies and mosquitoes.  Keep away from rue.

Red Gem Marigolds:  these lovely red to orange beauties will garnish your garden with lace and pest-free grace.

  • Spacing: at least 2″ apart… as far as you like from there 🙂
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest: collect seeds when tops have dried.  Keep seeds in brown paper bag to replant next season!
  • Tips:  use as a cut flower, bed border, container flower, in a window box or sprinkled throughout your garden!
  • Companion planting:  This pest deterrent workhorse can be planted liberally throughout your entire garden.  Marigolds keeps soil free of nematoads and repels many unwanted pests.

Winter Rye:  Sow this cover crop in after you turn your garden for the winter.  You can sow as late as October!

  • Spacing: Sprinkle over your garden liberally using your hand.  Till in the grass with a soft rake about 1/4- 1/8″ in.  Not too deep.  Water in well.  Keep moist until germinated.
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest:  Allow the crop to overwinter.  As an annual, this rye will be a great nutritional addition to your garden.   The viable seed will be killed if used as a cover crop prior to spring.   Till the grass into your garden bed come spring.
  • Tips:  You can use the rye as a nurse plant for establishing legumes to improve the nitrogen content in your soil.  Cover crops increase organic matter, recycle excess nutrients and reduce soil compaction.
  • Check out this information from Ohio State University about sustainable crop rotation with crop covers:

Enjoy your garden this year!

There are some great blogs out there for canning, here are a few: – an exhaustive resource for all of your preserving and canning interests – a gorgeous blog with beautiful pictures and heavenly recipes – put together by a consortium of chefs, gardeners and food lovers, has a focus on preserving foods the old-fashioned way

Sources for blog this week:

  • Johnny’s seeds
  • “The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields”   by:  John Jeavons and Carol Cox

Squash, squash and more… May 30 pickup

May’s end and perhaps the last frost scare (no promises) have finally come into seasonal reality. Phewf.  While we will start to see some warming temperatures, there may still be some cool nights to come… so keep your walls-o-water, water filled milk jugs, frost cloth and floating covers close at hand!!!  As of now, we made it… and I hope your plants did too!

I am pleased to announce this week’s pickup.   Drum roll… You will receive two varieits of winter squash, two varieties of summer squash, yellow tomatoes and Greek oregano.

For all of the squash you might try companion planting with beans and corn.  This trio makes up the three sisters.  Note:  We gave you bush beans this year… so look for some pole beans at Native Plant and Seed!  Click on this link to read more about the three sisters:

Read further for more detailed planting instructions:

NOTE: Johnny’s seeds gives a good “rule of thumb for squash spacing:
Medium- and Large-fruited pumpkin varieties need plenty of growing room for sufficient sunlight penetration for successful fruiting, and to grow to their fruit size potential. Rules of thumb: Small fruited = 18 sq.ft./plant; Medium = 24 sq. ft.; Large = 30 sq. ft.; Giant = 48 sq. ft.

Winter Squash (pumpkin) “New England Pie”:  This classic favorite will be sure to tickle your fancy as miniature jack-o-lanterns that taste scrumptious in pies or soups.  The dry yet string-less flesh of this winter squash provides a perfect addition to your kitchen cuisine and a neat compliment to your high country garden.

  • Spacing: medium
  • Light: full sun
  • Tips:  Harvest before frost or after 1 or 2 light frosts. Clip stems close to the vine. Use care to avoid gouging or bruising. Store under cover with plenty of air.

Winter Squash (sweet dumpling) “Bush Delicata”:  Small, 4″ diameter, teacup-shaped fruits average 3/4-1 lb. It has the ivory color and dark green stripes of Delicata, but in a round, flat-topped shape and dainty, single-serving size. Very sweet, tender orange flesh.

  • Spacing: medium to small:  approx. 18″ apart
  • Light: full sun
  • Tips: to harvest cut stems about 1″ from the fruit before heavy frost, when stem is drying and skin is hardening. Handle fruits like eggs!

Summer Squash (patty pan) “Starship”:  You can eat the flowers… but be careful to not disturb the growing squash!

  • Spacing: medium
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest: The scalloped flying saucer shape makes them a bit of a novelty and a little difficult to figure out how to slice, but they cook and eat much like any other summer squash. Kids are sometimes more tempted to try them, because of their fun shape. You can begin to eat them when they are only a couple of inches in diameter, making them perfect for individual serving.

Summer Squash (zucchini) “Costata Romenesco”:  This distinctive gray-green Italian zucchini boasts pale green flecks and ribs.  Big, large-leafed bush with only about half the yield of hybrids, but much better tasting; clearly better textured, nutty, and delicious, raw or cooked. Also a good producer of heavy male blossom buds for cooking!

  • Spacing: medium to large
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest: (and harvest the flower):  Male blossoms have thin stems, females have thick stems and a bulbous base where fruit is developing. Harvest male/female blossoms at midday, when fully open, for use in salads or for stuffing. If squash crop is desired, harvest only male flowers, being certain to leave a few to pollinate female flowers. Clip flowers from vine 1-2″ below flower base with sharp scissors or pruners. Harvest fruits regularly, 2-3 times/week depending on age of plants and daylight.

Tomato “Taxi”:  This popular, early-fruiting, bright yellow tomato will be sure to add a zesty spark to any salad or salsa.  They hold up to slicing for an afternoon sandwich!

  • Spacing: 24-36″
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest: Once fruits have turned a bright yellow pluck off vine.  You may also harvest early and place in a brown paper bag to induce ripening.  (good idea if frost is in the forecast!)

Greek Oregano:

  • Spacing: 6-12″
  • Light: full sun
  • Harvest: Clip Oregano as soon as the first blossoms appear, usually in May. Cut the tops back several inches and keep them cut to stimulate more production. Only the newer leaves are tender and flavorful. If the plant goes to seed, the growth of new leaves stops. Use the leaves fresh, or dry the plants quickly over a window screen, strip the leaves from the stems and store the leaves in airtight containers.
  • Tips:This low-water garden addition will add flavor to your favorite italian dish and spice up any meditterian plate you have planned.  While a perrenial in warmer climates, Flagstaff may see this as an annual unless you mulch 6-8″ of straw overwinter.

Enjoy your starts this week!

Sources for blog this week:

Greens, Beans and magical flowers: May 23 Pickup


This week, you will be getting cauliflower, violets, spinach seeds and bean seeds.  Like last week, you may notice that some things are kind of small, but the root structures are really well-developed.  I have noticed the starts in local gardens have taken off!  YAY!

Below are more specific planting directions:

“Snow Crown” Cauliflower:  This variety boasts a mild and sweet flavor.  Later in the season, it may have delicate pink blush color if left unharvested.  Thought to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean, cauliflower moved through Italy and then on to England, where it was first recorded in the 16th century.

  • Spacing: 12-24″ apart and 18-36″ between rows
  • Light:  This variety is tolerant of full sun, however, if you live in a hotter microclimate in Flagstaff (perhaps around Mt.Elden), think about protecting your cauliflower from full blown sun exposure with some shade cloth.

For more information on this variety please click on this link:
For detailed information and tips concerning your cauliflower in the garden, frequently asked questions, and other transplant to harvest ideas please click on this link:

“Helen Mount” Violet or the “Johnny Jump-Up”:  Some of you may be lucky enough to get some already in bloom!  First come first serve!  These lovelies boast miniature yellow, black and deep eggplant colored blooms.  These edible beauties can liven up a salad, add color to an ice-cube or bask happily among your other annual edibles in the veggie bed.

  • Spacing: 12-36″
  • Light: full sun to part shade

A little poem for you:
“For play I’d choose the jonquils,
For swimming, poppy cups,

For jokes & tricks & tiny naps,
The Johnny-jump-ups!

-John Chipman Farrar

“Tyee” Spinach: considered a standard of savoyd spinach, this variety resists bolting during warmer periods of the growing season.

  • Spacing: see planting
  • Light:  Partial shade
  • Planting:  For bunching and full size: Sow 10 seeds/ft., 1/2″ deep, rows 12-18″ apart. Harvest spinach full size but before bolting, cutting just below root attachment for “rooted spinach”, or cut higher for “clipped spinach”. For baby leaf: Sow in a 2-4″ wide band, 3/4″ apart, about 40 seeds/ft.
  • Harvest: Clip small leaves in 3-5 weeks, depending on time of year and speed of growth. Triple-rinse leaves, sort out cut and broken leaves, and package. For a continuous supply, sow every 7 days.
  • Tips:  Spinach germinates best in cool soil. Begin sowing in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Summer sowing in soil over 85°F (30°C) risks low or erratic germination! Sow late in July into September for the fall crop. Spinach can also be planted from September until freeze-up for an early harvest the following spring; floating row covers offer effective winter protection.  You may find the most success sowing later in the season for this reason.  Spinach loves the cool Flagstaff fall!

“Royal Burgundy” Bean: while eye-popping purple on the vine, these magic beans turn green with some steam (or boiled water).  They can also be eaten raw for a lovely visual addition to a salad.

  • Spacing: After last frost date sow seeds about 2″ apart, 1″ deep, rows 20-36″ apart. This is a bush variety.
  • Light:  Full sun
  • Harvest: Harvest regularly to encourage more pods!
  • Tips:  For a continuous supply make successive sowings every 2-3 weeks through mid-summer. Dark-colored seeds germinate better in cool soil than white seeds.

We love to hear your comments, keep them coming!  If anyone has good recipe suggestions, please share 🙂

Sources for blog this week:

Wednesday pickup reminder

Just a little reminder that you can pick up your garden starts this coming Wednesday, May 23 from 3-6pm at Native Plant and Seed. If you are unable to make it at this time, please let me know as soon as possible so I can save your share for you to pick up later. Some of you have already contacted me. Thanks for that!

Tentatively, you will receive cauliflower starts, violet starts, burgundy bean seeds and spinach seeds (to replace lost spinach).

Pickup Day Clarification

Dear Members,

Up front, I want to apologize for any confusion or misunderstandings that have arisen concerning the pickup day policies.  We value your membership and participation in the CSA and want nothing more than for you to be happy and successful in your gardening experience.  There are several reasons why we ask that you understand the method behind our pickup policies.

First, it usually takes about three hours to physically cart the baby plants from the growing greenhouses over to Native Plant and Seed where you pick up the seedlings.  If you arrive an hour early everything will not be there and you will not be able to get your full share.  Sometimes if you arrive 15 minutes early, we can accommodate you, but, we cannot guarantee that.

Second, if you don’t pick up your share on Wednesday between 3 and 6, the grower alongside the volunteer(s) may or may not be there.  Therefore, any questions you may have will need to be sent via-e-mail.  While Native Plant and Seed graciously hosts the pickup every Wednesday, the employees working at that time may or may not be able to answer your questions.  Also, when 35 + people do not show up, as happened this week, there are five varieties of seedlings that take up space in a very small nursery.

Overall, the Flagstaff Garden Starts CSA folks want to see this as a community experience.  We want you to be happy and satisfied with your starts and feel connected to the informational community that thrives around growing organic food.  When you don’t show up during the Wednesday celebration, you miss out on the community experience.

So to finally clarify:  You can pick up your garden starts every Wednesday between 3 and 6 pm unless you have e-mailed, phoned or made prior verbal arrangements with Marie Snyder or Regan Emmons.  While we will hold onto your starts, they are subject to donation to local schools and CSA volunteers.   So if you come three days… or a week later… and your share has been donated… please understand 🙂

I hope this message finds you well and is meant to be informational.
Thank you for your membership and dedication!

Tomatoes and Thrips

After several weeks of monitoring the thrip/ tomato relationship that has developed in the greenhouese, I have decided that the thrips have gone too far!  Darn buggers!  While thrips pose an annual battle for many seedling starts, they seem to be winning in the case of the tomatoes.  Luckily, the tomatoes have healthy topical growth and oftetimes outgrow the thrip issue as they mature into adults.  As a precaution, I have decided to hand matters over to Captain Jack.  Captain Jack’s Deadbug, that is.  After much research and discussion with local experts,  I decided upon this source as the preferred organic biological control.

Follow this link to learn more:

The product uses Spinosad (a mixture of spinosyn A and spinosyn D) at 0.5%.  It is used for organic gardening and can be used on fruits, vegetables, berries, citrus, grapes, nuts and ornamental’s.  If you have any concerns about this method of control, please let me know.  I have only sprayed the tomatoes and peppers for thrips and have all edible leaf-based veggies in a separate greenhouse.

Two years ago Merideth Hartwell, 2010 CSA grower,  recommended a similar product- Ferti-l-ome, and now recommends Captain Jack’s Deadbug as well (same ingredients different label!)

I am sending you this information as a “heads up” and as a source of information for future thrip issues that may arise in your organic gardening experience.   You will see the speckled, moisture-sucked, inward-curved leaves of those suffering thrip-isms.  If you turn this said leaf over, and arrange your eyes inches from the leaf bottom, you may find the tiny sticker-sized culprit.  These tiny buggers have wings and an appetite for your seedling babies… so completely eliminating them becomes tricky if not impossible.  Oftentimes its best to let plants “outgrow” their thrip issue.  Making sure the soil surrounding the seedlings is loaded with nutrients.  A stronger plant baby will be a thrip resistant baby.

I enjoyed visiting with all of you who showed up for today’s pick up.  Thank you very much to those who could make it today!  I look forward to seeing you next week.

Signing off for the night.  Until next time, happy planting fellow plant lovers.


Marie  🙂

Greens, greens, and nasturtium seeds! (plus cilantro)


This week, you will be getting collards, kale, chard, red cabbage, Swiss chard, cilantro and nasturtium seeds. You may notice that some things are kind of small, but the root structures are really well-developed. They should do well in your garden this year, not to worry!

For all of the brassicas or mustards (chard, kale, collards, red cabbage), the companion planting is the same as for broccoli: plant close to  potatoes,celery, dill, chamomile, sage, peppermint, rosemary, beets, onions, but steer clear of planting nearby tomatoes, strawberries, and pole beans

Below are more specific planting directions:

Kale – this year, we grew a variety called Toscano, also referred to as Lacinato or “dinosaur” type. The mature leaf will be dark green, noncurled but heavily blistered (what is referred to as “savoyed”).

  • Spacing: 8-12″
  • Light:  This variety is tolerant of full sun, however, if you live in a hotter microclimate in Flagstaff (perhaps around Mt.Elden), think about protecting your kale from full blown sun exposure with some shade cloth. See Meredith’s comments below for more on where to plant your kale.

“Flash” Collards – This variety is really cold-hearty, expect to be able to harvest well into the fall, and even longer if you have a cold frame.

  • Spacing: 12-36″
  • Light: see kale entry above
  • Tips: Transplant your seedlings deeply, and so that a good part of the stem is buried in the soil.


Kale and Collards are two of the most hardy and delicious greens. They are high in iron and vitamins A and C. Their flavor is heightened by frost and they can even be har- vested in the snow, once they are well established.

Both are Brassicas, members of the cabbage family. They grow well in any season, though they tend not to prefer extreme heat. They prefer a rich, fertile soil which is high in organic matter, but they can thrive under more poor soil conditions.

You can start to harvest kale and collards within a month after transplanting. Start with the outer, more mature leaves, and allow the center of the plant to continue growing. Young kale leaves are delicious in a salad, while older kale leave and collard greens are fantastic steamed or mixed into stir-fry and soup. They are equally good cooked into a variety of dishes. Collards are a traditional dish in southern cooking, famed as a ‘soul-food’ meal with meats and black-eyed peas.

Kale and collards will tolerate some shade, but a sunny spot is preferable. If garden space is such that some crops have to be partially shaded, reserve the full-sun area for warm season crops. If you put your kale in a sunny location, it will droop a little during the day and then perk up at night when the temperatures are cooler.

-Meredith Hartwell, Flagstaff CSA Garden Starts Grower 2010

Swiss Chard:

  • Spacing: 10-12″
  • Light:  Full sun to partial shade
  • Harvest: Cut outer leaves first, full-sized leaves should be ready in about 4-5 weeks. Smaller, “baby” leaves can be harvested for salads.

Red Cabbage: this variety is suitable for close planting, and you can harvest “mini” cabbages.

  • Spacing: 12-18″
  • Light:  Full sun
  • Harvest: Harvest entire head at a time when cabbage head has grown to desired size

Cilantro:  This variety has NOT been hardend off yet.  It will do fine against a warm wall, inside your home in a south facing window, hoop house, cold frame or other weather-protected atmosphere.  Harden off for 2-3 days.  Then plant in your garden as you would your other seedlings 🙂  

  • Spacing: 2-4″
  • Light:  Full sun
  • Harvest: Pluck leaves as needed for flavoring for dishes.  Leave basal growth so you can continually harvest leaves throughout the growing season.  This variety may come back next year!


  • Spacing: Plant 6-12 inches apart, or thin to this distance
  • Depth: 1/2 to 1″ deep
  • Light:  Full sun to partial shade.
  • Harvest: Harvest the flowers when they are fully open, and the leaves at any time.
  • Companion planting: Plant near radishes, cabbage, squash, it will deter aphids, squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetle and it will improve growth and flavor.
  • Hint/ Suggestions:  After planting, cover this area (with cardboard, or something heavy), because the seeds need darkness to germinate.


Edible flowers are a great way to add festivity to summer cooking and entertaining. They liven and beautify your dishes as edible garnishes, and add creativity, color and new flavors to your palette. Here are a few ideas from and our own experiences on how best to use edible flowers in your entrees.

• Sprinkle edible flowers, such as nasturtiums, calendula, Johnny jump-ups (also called Violas), bachelors buttons, or the edible varieties of marigolds (called ‘Gem’) in your green salads for a splash of color and taste.

• Freeze whole small flowers into ice rings or cubes for a pretty addition to punches and other beverages.

• Use in flavored oils, butters, vinaigrettes, jellies and marinades.

• One of the most popular uses is candied or crystallized flowers used to decorate cakes and fine candies.

• Asthmatics or others who suffer allergic reactions to composite-type flowers (calendula, chicory, chrysanthemum, daisy, English daisy, and marigold) should be on alert for a possible allergic reaction.

• Never use non-edible flowers as a garnish. You must assume that if guests find a flower on a plate of food, they will think it is edible.

• Use flowers sparingly in your recipes, particularly if you are not accustomed to eating them. Too much of a pretty thing can lead to digestive problems.

• Edible flowers should ideally be harvested in the cool, morning hours. If you are not going to be using the flowers immediately, store them in damp paper towels, in the refrigerator.

Enjoy your starts this week!

Sources for blog this week:

  • “The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields”   by:  John Jeavons and Carol Cox
  • Johnny’s seeds
  • Meredith Hartwell’s The Seedling Chronicle