Tag Archives: kelp

Introducing Cedar Keshet

IMG_4240Introducing Cedar Keshet, a FarmHome Organics Store employee, who will welcome you into the store by name, with a warm, friendly smile and a  sincere desire to help you find the best product for your application.   Her cornucopia of knowledge about organic and biodynamic gardening has been acquired through life-long study and personal experiences since the young age of four.

Cedar began learning the art of painting and African violet plant propagation, from an elderly neighbor, with whom she bonded as a preschooler in Ohio.   Throughout her childhood, her family encouraged Cedar to garden by giving her, her own garden spot where she honed her skills on hearty plants not-likely-to-fail like tomatoes, peppers, marigolds and other fool proof vegetation.  (Likewise, parents you can encourage your children to garden this way also.)

By high school her family had moved to El Paso, Texas  where Cedar pursued her passions of horticulture through FFA (Future Farmer’s of America) as well as art and equine science.

Her formal educational credentials include studying horticulture to become a plant pathologist at Texas A & M, followed  by acquisition of a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Elementary Education, and Master’s of Education in Computer Science.

Sprinkled into the formal education and professional teaching experience has been a passion for painting and other arts, Organic gardening, and years of self-study in bio-dynamic gardening under the tutelage of  local North Fork gardeners Pat Frazier and Caren vonGontard.

Her philosophy of successful plant growth can be summed up by the following statement:  “Customize the food for your plants based on the stage of the plant’s growth and its particular needs.”

For example:  Organic sources of phosphorus, which is essential for root development and

OrganicPhosphorusbloom production includes, Bat Guano, Bone Meal, Fish Bone Meal, and Seabird Guano.
Organic sources of Nitrogen include Chicken manure, bat

Guanao, Worm Castings, Alfalfa meal, Fish Meal or Fish emulsion, etc.  The Organics store is literally wall wall-papered with 8 1/2 X 11 posters of information on

Liquid Molasses

Liquid Molasses

Organic Gardening, uses for products in the store such has horticultural vinegar and molasses or Compost Tea.

Novice gardeners and experienced organic gardeners will all learn something pertaining to their own needs or circumstances that they didn’t already know about horticulture, organic gardening, and plant supplements by walking into the store reading the informative posters and visiting with Cedar.

bio-liveHer favorite all-around product, BioLive available in bulk or 50# bags, contains an evenly balanced assortment of microbes fungi, as well as a 5-4-2 blend of organic sources of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus which makes it the best all-purpose fertilizer promoting root development for enhanced nutrient uptake, increased crop yields and fruit quality.

From Cedar I have learned that OMRI stands for Organic Materials Review Institute, an omri-logoorganization who provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production.  She has explained to me the very rudimentary basics of horticultural application of Compost Tea, Kelp, Vinegar, Molasses, Bat Guano, Worm Castings and which organic supplements provide, Nitrogen, Potassium, and/or Phosphorus, how to promote and enhance soil microbes, naturally formulated bug repellants, and so much more.

Cedar#2When Cedar is not working at the Farm and Home Organics store she can be found producing fine art, cultivating numerous types of lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, both dry and string bean varieties, snap peas and other organic vegetables.

If Cedar does not already know you by name, be sure to introduce yourself next time you visit the store.

Top Tomato Growing Tips

Mature tomato plants are well- mulched

Mature tomato plants are well- mulched

Cultivating fruitful tomatoes, of course, is subject to weather and other environmental factors.   Experienced tomato growers know they need to nurture and cultivate their plants at least weekly using some of the following principles.  Here are some tips from experienced growers.

Tomatoes and basil are an ideal companion plants

Tomatoes and basil are an ideal companion plants

  1. Add lots of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil you will be planting them in.
  2.  Companion planting works wonderfully with tomatoes. Sow basil underneath the tomato plants, or nasturtiums which help to repel aphids and other pests.
  3. Use canes, cages and/ or stakes to support your plants and help them to be strong.
  4. Water the soil, not the plant – tomato leaves and stems hate getting wet.
  5.  Every week or so from when flowering starts, give your plant a feed of your favorite plant food for tomatoes.  Developing fruit loves potassium. Compost Tea mixed with kelp,  and/or mycorrhizae is like giving your tomato plants a boost of pro-biotics and key minerals.
  6.  Water little and often to encourage continuous growth.  This also helps to avoid split fruit.emerging sucker
  7. Pinch out any shoots that develop between stem and main branches – they take up valuable energy from the developing fruit.
  8. Cut off the top of plants when six trusses of fruit set – this helps to focus the plant’s energies.
  9. Bring any tomatoes that are still shy of ripeness at the end of the summer indoors and put a banana with them – the ethylene given off by the banana helps them ripen.
  10. If you are a novice,  you will probably pick a few  disappointingly poor tasting tomatoes. Tomatoes are notoriously sensitive to place and weather.  Did you know there are countless numbers of sugars, acids and volatile chemicals that mingle together to produce the unique tomato taste.  Some factors may be beyond your control.  There is always next year.

What tried and true tomato growing tips would you add to this list?